Friday, 12 March 2010


VW SAYS: David Powels, Managing Director, Volkswagen of South Africa, has announced significant developments impacting on the Company’s global export programme, new jobs and a new Parts & Accessories Distribution Centre in Centurion.

The Company commenced the export of the all New Polo to Right Hand Drive countries around the world in 2009.  By year end, 19 000 New Polo’s had been exported to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus and Malta.  At the same time, the Company announced a 2010 export plan for the New Polo of 55 000 units to these key Right Hand Drive (RHD) markets.

“We are pleased to announce that the Polo export business has been extended to include LHD deliveries to Europe.  We now anticipate exporting approximately 71 500 New Polo’s to key RHD markets around the world as well as  LHD units to Europe,” said Powels.


BURCHMORES SAYS: Bafana Bafana shirts are not the only commodities flying off the shelves… people transporters are the hottest item in the used vehicle market as companies and individuals alike fleet up ahead of the FIFA World Cup. And, just like Adidas, which has revealed that it cannot produce football jerseys fast enough, Burchmore’s is also battling to meet demand.

The impact on both the new and used vehicle market is considerable, with businesses and entrepreneurs eyeing the opportunity to turn a fast profit. According to Darryl Jacobson, managing director of Burchmore’s, the company is receiving daily enquiries at its three branches (in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg) for people transporters. “I have personally received 10 enquiries in the last fortnight,” he notes. “And, at each of our branches, we are fielding daily enquiries. It’s definitely a case of football fever has come to town!”

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Check out this new styling kit for the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 from Swiss tuner BF Performance. The result is called the GT600.

It consists mostly of carbon fibre side skirts, rear wing and a rear diffuser, as well as wing doors. BF won’t say what exactly has been done but they insist the engine has also been tampered with. But we can certainly speculate from the name that whatever happened in the engine bay made 600hp (441kW).

To stop things from getting out of control are carbon ceramic brakes. BF Performance claims their GT600 is even 43kg lighter than the car on which it’s based.

Instead of the AWD system used in the standard car, a RWD configuration can be ordered by customers with enough balls to make that chutney lady very jealous.


RENAULT SAYS: Renault South Africa has donated a Sandero 1.4 to the McCarthy Automotive Artisan Academy in Midrand.

An industry training centre and a division of McCarthy Limited and Bidvest, the Academy is the largest NQF automotive training provider in South Africa. Providing training for 900 learnerships annually according to Steve Collins, Group Service Manager at McCarthy Limited, 12 000 man training days are completed each year.

Admission to the academy requires a minimum C average Matric qualification with both mathematics and science compulsory. The selection criteria, however, goes beyond academic skills and learners must undergo an engineering evaluation to ascertain whether they are mechanically minded. With today’s automotive artisans increasingly required to communicate with car owners, learners must also undergo an interpersonal skills evaluation to ensure their ability to interface efficiently and effectively with customers.

Keeping abreast of the latest technological developments in the automotive industry is very costly says Collins “so the learners passing through the academy are going to derive enormous benefit from their exposure to training on the Sandero. The Renault Sandero will be used in a number of our training programs ranging from caring for customers’ property, correct servicing and maintenance procedures and practical diagnostics.

“On behalf of the McCarthy Automotive Artisan Academy, I would like express our sincere thanks to Renault for providing us with this vehicle. This gesture reflects positively on their commitment and contribution to addressing the skills shortage in South Africa and the development of future artisans. Renault is at the leading edge of technology and the fact that the Sandero is manufactured locally, makes this generous donation all the more appropriate.”

“We are proud of our longstanding association with the McCarthy group and the fact that it now has four dealerships representing the Renault brand,” says Xavier Gobille, Managing Director of Renault South Africa.

“To be able to assist the McCarthy Automotive Artisan Academy in this small way and help ensure the future of today’s young automotive artisans is a privilege for Renault.”


Volkswagen South Africa has finally replaced the CitiGolf, almost 26 years after it came into existence. And the replacement is all too familiar with us. It’s actually the previous-generation Polo range, now rebadged the Polo Vivo and manufactured in Mzansi with 70% of parts provided by local suppliers.

Just as VW SA did all those years ago when the Golf 2 came into the scene and became too expensive to be an entry-level car for the masses, the company has now retained its popular old Polo as the entry-model.

Unlike its Citi “parent”, the Polo Vivo seems to be packed with lots of lovely standard features and will give its rivals a run for their money. Competitors of course include the Renault Sandero - incidentally the only other rival produced in Mzansi.

Three body types are available for sale. A 2-door hatch, a 5-door hatch and a 4-door sedan. Engines start from a 1.4-litre with 55kW at 5000rpm and 132Nm at 3600rpm, then another 1.4-litre with 63kW at 5000rpm and 132Nm at 3600rpm. A larger 1.6-litre delivers 77kW at 5250rpm and 155Nm at 3500rpm. VW says the 1.4 will average 6.3 litres per 100km of fuel and the 1.6 6.6 litres per 100km.

Whereas the engines aren’t much to sing home about, the standard features and options are a marvel. At entry in the interior we get things like a three-spoke steering wheel, cup holders, a soft-touch dashboard, power steering, adjustable steering wheel, tinted windows, two front airbags and an immobilizer among others. Options include USB connectivity, Bluetooth, air conditioning and a CD player.

Standard wheels are 5 J x 14 inch steel wheels with 175/65 R14 tyres and centre cap wheel covers in the 2-door while the 1.6 has 14 inch ‘Portland ’ Alloy Wheels and 185/60 R 14 tyres.

There are six colours available (not just red, yellow and blue) including things like Candy White, Silver Leaf, Sunrise Red and Sea Blue.

The Volkswagen Polo Vivo comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 6 year Anti Corrosion warranty.

A 5 year/ 60 000km Volkswagen Automotion Maintenance Plan as well as a 5 year/ 60 000 km Service Plan are available as options.

Pricing is quite key in the entry-level market and that the public can still buy its beloved old Polo, albeit refreshed, as new will be a welcome development. While the top-of-the-range Polo Vivo hatch costs the same at the entry-level New Polo hatch, buyers should be able to decide on engine size and features which exactly suits their image and pockets.

Volkswagen Polo Vivo Pricing
1.4 55kW 2-Door (R101 500)
1.4 55kW (R109 900)
1.4 63kW Trendline (R119 900)
1.6 77kW (R136 900)
1.6 77kW Trendline (R144 900)
1.4 55kW (R115 800)
1.4 63kW Trendline (R125 800)
1.6 77kW (R142 800)
1.6 77kW Trendline (R150 800)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Optimal Energy unveiled the Joule at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. We’ve known about this South African all-electric car since lat last year and have been waiting for it to come to life at Geneva. It’s just unfortunate that it debuted in Europe rather than its home country. Worse still is that with the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) off this year, it probably won’t happen anytime soon. Unless it hits the mall “auto show” market…

Anyways, a bit about the Joule. The car was conceptualised in South Africa as an all-electric-powered city car for the future. The assembly point is Port Elizabeth where it’s built by hand.

A 36 kWh traction battery provides the required power. The traction battery supplied by South Korea's Energy Innovation Group consists of a number of modules, each module containing lithium-ion cells. It comes with a transversely-mounted synchronous electric motor making 75kW and 280Nm of torque. They say it will go from 0 – 100km/h in less than 15 seconds, which is very slow indeed. But the range is said to be between 230km and 300km on a full charge. It can be recharged using a normal home plug system.

Optimal Energy says it will start manufacturing the Joule in 2012 for sale in 2013.


As previously revealed by IN4RIDE, Mercedes-Benz is getting rid of its 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 in favour of a new 5.5-litre twin turbo engine. It will first appear in the S 63 AMG but will obviously be used for other models like the facelift E 63 AMG (2012), the upcoming CLS AMG and the S-Class Coupe AMG. Just off the blocks, I’m not sure if it really is a twin turbo (as in the turbos are exactly the same size) or if it is a biturbo, meaning one small and one bigger turbine. Nevertheless it’s more powerful than the engine it replaces.

The engine, codenamed M 157, displaces 5461cc, weighs 204kg when dry and is built according to AMG’s "one man, one engine" philosophy. That means one engineer puts it all together and tops it off with his signature.

Maximum power is 400kW developed at 5500rpm while peak torque is rated at 800Nm between 2000rpm and 4500rpm. An AMG Performance Package (please bring it home Mercedes-Benz SA!) will boost power to 420kW at 5500rpm and torque shoots to a stupendous 900Nm between 2500rpm and 3750rpm. Mated to it is a 7-speed MCT gearbox.

The S 63 AMG is claimed to sprint from 0 – 100km/h in 4.5 seconds without the Performance Package and 4.4 seconds with it. Average fuel consumption is said to be 10.5 litres per 100km but I can personally assure you you won’t achieve this in real-world driving. I reckon you’d be more assured of something close to 20.5L/100km.

Now we wait for details on the smaller twin-turbo AMG engine which according to our sources, displaces 4.0-litres and is also a V8. Expect about 350kW from it and it will be put into cars like the C AMG and the C Coupe AMG.


Rapper Jub Jub could spend the rest of his life in prison after getting arrested in Soweto yesterday afternoon on various charges. Molemo Maarohanye, who grew up first as a TV presenter and later made his mark on the music industry, most notably with the megahit “Ndikhokhele”, was allegedly speeding in a MINI Cooper S around Protea Glen, south of Soweto. He and another person, also behind the wheel of a Cooper S, were apparently dicing (racing) when they lost control of their cars. They veered off the busy street and hit four teenagers who were coming from school, killing them at the scene. Two others are in critical condition in hospital.

One of the MINIs, a blue one with white stripes, has been completely written off while the other could still be savaged for parts. According to Soweto police, several charges will be brought on Jub Jub and his “track” rival. These could include culpable homicide, drunken driving and drug abuse. The two were found to have been using these substances before the crash.


Monday, 8 March 2010


The all-new Volkswagen Touareg was premiered at the Geneva International Motor Show. VW is very keen to make this car as successful as its predecessor by making sure it has ticked all the right boxes.

Styling-wise this car is basically the same as the new Porsche Cayenne (the two share the same family genes anyway). It has the new VW family face and is a little more muscular in appearance. The company says it’s the most technically advanced VW ever produced, which should say quite a lot. We’ll reveal a bit more on those advances, like how they managed to save 208kg on the previous car, when it’s launched in South Africa in October this year.

Some engines fitted into the new Touareg include a V6 TDI producing 176kW and a stomping 550Nm of torque. The old V10 TDI has been replaced by a 4.2 TDI kicking out 250kW and a stupendous 800Nm. A new Hybrid version is also being produced but I doubt we’ll see that one in Mzansi. With new C02 emissions legislation coming into the fore this September, I may well be wrong.

Other things you can find are a Side Assist Warning system, Adaptive Cruise Control, something called Area View which looks basically all around the car and bi-xenon headlights.