Saturday, 8 August 2009


MCCARTHY SAYS: McCarthy Limited has announced the opening of a new McCarthy Suzuki dealership in Bloemfontein. The Group already has five Suzuki dealerships in Parow, East London, Pretoria Central, Strand and Umhlanga.

“The Suzuki brand is renowned for its exciting and dynamic automotive products. As Suzuki Auto South Africa’s leading dealership partner, we believe the brand has a lot to offer motoring customers,” said Brand Pretorius, CEO of McCarthy Limited. “Looking at the brand’s performance over the past year, we have great confidence in the future of the Suzuki brand in South Africa.”

According to Kazuyuki Yamashita, managing director of Suzuki Auto South Africa, “the central South African region is particularly important to the company strategically, both from a vehicle sales point of view, as well as to support for our existing customers in the area. McCarthy’s has been one of the top performing dealer groups since the launch of Suzuki Auto South Africa in 2008, and we are delighted that they will be handling the new Bloemfontein dealership,” said Yamashita.

The Suzuki line-up consists of a range of passenger and sports utility vehicles, including the Swift compact hatch, the SX4 hatchback, the Grand Vitara SUV and the Jimmy compact 4x4.

The new 1200m² McCarthy Suzuki Bloemfontein dealership is situated at a prime location in the motor retail area of the city, and will offer sales, parts and service to customers. According to dealer principal, Francois Pulzone, the public are very excited about the opening of the Suzuki dealership in Bloemfontein, and he and his team of 15 have already been inundated with calls.

Friday, 7 August 2009


HONDA SAYS: The Honda Accord has come out tops in a UK reliability survey conducted by the British Which? magazine.

The survey, which studied some 84 000 cars, found that Accord owners hardly experienced any problems. An impressive 98.5% of owners reported that their vehicle had required no attention whatsoever in the last year.

The reliability survey was based on whether vehicles had broken down, had been taken back to the dealer, or whether any niggles had been experienced during the previous 12 months.

While the Accord top-scored in the survey, three more Hondas finished in the top 10.

The new-generation Honda Jazz placed second with a score of 98.2 percent, while the previous Honda Jazz occupied sixth place with a 95.9 percent rating. The Honda Civic Hybrid was a close seventh, on 95.7 percent.

Seven of the top 10 most reliable cars in the survey were from Japanese marques.

Honda also has a proud reliability and customer satisfaction record in South Africa, where the marque regularly scores highly in the JD Power Initial Quality Survey (IQS) and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI).

The Honda brand took the top spot in JD Power’s Initial Quality Survey in 2006 and the Customer Satisfaction Index survey in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, four Hondas won their categories in the JD Power CSI survey, with the Honda Jazz taking the honours in the lower small car category.

“These accolades underline the excellence of Honda products in general,” says Graham Eagle, director of sales and marketing at Honda South Africa.

“The Accord, in particular, provides a compelling executive motoring proposition – especially in a market where retail price and cost of ownership are key elements of the overall ownership experience.”

Pictures: hsa@honda-media


As if to mimic Caesars from the Roman times, Italy’s Fiat SpA appears to be gobbling up every little company involved in the manufacturing of automobiles. First it was Chrysler LLC, then rumours said it was interested in GM’s Opel unit. Now the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Carrozzeria Bertone has been swallowed up too.

According to the WSJ, Fiat won the Bertone bid over two other parties which included founder Giuseppe “Nuccio” Bertone’s widow Lilli. Bertone is an Italian brand with a long heritage in the motor industry. Its best-known contribution was the design of the legendary Countach for Lamborghini.

Bertone had been going ok since Giuseppe took it over from his father after World War 2 and started coach-building. It suffered large financial difficulties when he passed away in 2007.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


In the 1960s through to the 1980s Lee Iacocca was as iconic to the motor industry as men like Chris Bangle, Carlos Ghosn and Wendelin Wiedeking. When he worked at Ford in 1964 he worked on a number of successful cars, most famous of which is the Mustang. So today, despite the fact that Henry Ford II fired him from the company and pushed him to Chrysler where he virtually saved what was a sinking automaker, he has been honoured with a special edition steed, the Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition Ford Mustang.

Changes made from other versions include an upgraded suspension system, firmer springs for better handling, 20-inch forged aluminium wheels, sunken headlights, a lower stance and a slanted front grille.

Power is sorted by a 4.6-litre V8 pushing out 239kW (324hp). A supercharged version is also available and that one does 298kW (405hp). Mated to both cars is a 5-speed manual gearbox (gosh, do they still make 5-speed sports cars in 2009?!).

Only 45 of these sweet things will go on sale.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Mercedes-Benz is wasting no precious time in following up on the new E-Class sedan and Coupe. Pictures of the Estate (wagon) version have now been unveiled and I must say, I for one think it is a pretty slick looking car.

As you can see it’s quite a spacious car that can carry plenty of family loads and more. But the best feature for me is the third row of smaller seats in the boot that face backwards. Kids will love that but be careful that the rear tailgate door is closed properly.

Most of the engines will be the same as that of the sedan. I’m not sure if a 386kW AMG version will be made though.

South Africans aren’t too keen on station wagons/ estate cars. Fact is, in 2008 less than a total of 20 such cars were sold in the segment in which the E-Class Estate competes (Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring). Even the super exclusive Lamborghini Johannesburg shifted more metal than that! Nevertheless I don't think MBSA has quite given up on the segment yet.