Saturday, 25 July 2009


MITSUBISHI SAYs: Stuttgart/Kawasaki – Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has sold more than 500 units of the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid truck model in Japan to date. Some 250 of the trucks were sold in 2008 alone, a 64% increase from the figure recorded for the prior year. This dynamic development is being fueled in particular by growing demand for environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient commercial vehicles.

The trucks have been used mostly in urban settings since their market launch in 2006. This is because the hybrid truck’s fuel efficiency benefits really take effect in stop-and-go traffic and delivery operations for parcel services and wholesalers, for example. With the Canter Eco Hybrid’s diesel-electric system, driving is both environmentally friendly and economical.

Hybrid vehicle fleet test in Europe

The Canter Eco Hybrid has been participating in Europe’s biggest fleet test for hybrid trucks since August 2008, when a total of ten hybrid models were handed over to eight customers in London for use in normal business operations. The three-year test is designed not only to provide new insights into the use of the 7.5-ton hybrid trucks by customers, but also to demonstrate the diesel-electric hybrid drive’s high level of efficiency.

The vehicles being used in the test series have been adapted to European requirements. Their hybrid drive systems consist of an electric motor and the powertrain from the 7.5-ton Fuso Canter series production truck, which meets the Euro 4 emission requirement. The trucks are also equipped with a new measuring system for collecting the necessary test data. All vehicle maintenance is handled by two specialized Mercedes-Benz service centers located in the London metropolitan area.

“Shaping Future Transportation”

Daimler’s extensive hybrid activities represent an important milestone of the Group’s “Shaping Future Transportation” initiative, which was launched in November 2007 with the aim of using clean, efficient drive systems and alternative fuels to make emission-free commercial vehicles a reality in the future.

Daimler is the global market leader for commercial vehicles with hybrid drives. More than 1 700 Orion hybrid buses have already been delivered to customers in the US and Canada, and a further 1 100 are on order. In addition, more than 200 Freightliner hybrid trucks have gone into operation, and another 200 such models will be delivered to UPS beginning in 2009. Altogether, Freightliner will put more than 1 500 medium-duty hybrid trucks on the road over the next three years. Meanwhile, MFTBC also offers the Fuso Aero Star Eco Hybrid bus, and 25 of these vehicles are already being used by customers.


It’s time for the Women on Wheels (WOW) Women’s Car of the Year Awards again. The awards are published in the Associated Magazines annual motoring supplement WOW which is included in the magazines Cosmopolitan, House and Leisure, Marie Claire and O.

“Times are tight, cars are costly and the market is under more pressure than ever before,” Justine Joseph, editor of WOW told “So, in this year's handy, cubby-hole sized magazine, we've focused on showing women how to extend the relationship they have with their current car - or how to get the best deal if they're shopping for a new one. It also highlights the ten finalists in the eight categories of the third annual WOW Women's Car of the Year Awards.”

The finalists will be chosen by four female motoring journalists as well as the readers of the various publications. These finalists fall under the following eight categories:

· The Wheel Deals (under R150 000)

· Movers and Shakers (R150 000 to R250 000)

· The Top Gears (R250 000 and up)

· The Dream Machines (beyond price)

· The Four X Fabs (4x4s)

· The Crowd Carriers (people movers)

· The Space Stations (station wagons)

· All-In-One Wonders (MPVs and SUVs)


RENAULT SAYS: The Valued Citizens Initiative (VCI) was founded in April 2000 by French national, Podetti Ngono, in response to South Africa’s looming educational crisis. Its core focus is the development of responsible citizenship in public schools with educators and principals trained by the programme, teaching South Africa’s youth about the country’s constitution, their rights and the responsibilities that these rights entail.

Renault South Africa was a founding partner of the initiative and is now a platinum sponsor of the programme. From an ambitious pilot project in 2000, VCI has evolved into a large organisation that has reached more than 1 500 public schools and trained more than 3 500 educators throughout the Free State, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

Carole Podetti Ngono, Founder and Managing Director of VCI, has been awarded the French National Order of Merit by Denis Pietton, the French Ambassador to South Africa. Dating back to the 18th century, the award recognizes exceptional merit over an extended period of time.

“Thanks to her leadership and ability to draw South African and French companies and government into partnership, VCI has made a significant contribution in developing citizenship and leadership programmes relevant to the needs of South African society and today’s world,” said Denis Pietton.
”The Valued Citizens Initiative feeds the fire that burns in me to develop our youth to become Valued Citizens - reliable, resourceful and talented people with values aligned with South Africa’s constitution as well as our corporate culture,” responded Podetti Ngono in her acceptance speech.

“This prestigious award clearly validates the good work that the VCI team is doing in our public schools and we are proud to be a platinum sponsor and active supporter of this worthy educational initiative,” concluded Xavier Gobille, Managing Director of Renault South Africa.

*picture: The French Ambassador Honouring Mrs. Podetti Ngono

Thursday, 23 July 2009

FUTURE M3 COULD BE A DIESEL! says that BMW could consider a diesel-powered M car. Such a possibility, if realised, would put a large endorsement stamp on the grease since it would signal that diesel has finally arrived. BMW M Division only makes the purest cars powered by the highest revving engines in the company, and running on the highest possible octane.

But in these times of fuel-saving and eco-friendliness even M has to be pragmatic. According to a report by, M Division Chief of Development Albert Biermann told Autocar that a diesel M is possible for the future.

"With cars like the X5 and X6 M,” he said, “the torque characteristics of diesel engines would make them the ideal choice, were it not for their unsporting character.”

Wait, it gets worse. Biermann said that even a hybrid solution is possible for the M Division, but one that is not in the same vein as current hybrids.

But the sharpest spear was saved for last as he went on to confirm the ongoing rumours about the demise of the Z4 M. He said the Z4 is just too heavy (no thanks to the new solid roof) to get proper M treatment and even if it did it would come too close to the M3 Convertible in terms of positioning.

There is however, a slight hint of hope because the next-generation 1 Series is going to come with a two-seater roadster that might be called a Z2. An M version is being looked at for that car and if it happens we are looking at upwards of 260kW.


It is the French and the English who are best known for chips, but recently the Germans have got in on the act and started a company called Mcchip. Not to be confused with the company that makes hamburgers and chips, Mcchip is a tuner. Their newest creation is based on the Audi TT RS.

In stock form the TT RS produces 250kW (340hp) and top torque of 450Nm. Mcchip has boosted this by reworking the ECU. Suddenly we are faced with a thunderous 279kW (380hp) and a stomping 550Nm of torque. Performance details are not available at this stage, suffice to say top speed is now 300km/h.

Standard rubber is 255/30 R20 Continental and it’s wrapped around black Cargraphic GTR 9x20 rims.

Mcchip is already working on a 294kW (400hp) version but it warns that this is only for those who know exactly what they are doing behind the wheel of a car.