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Pushing the Limits Yank Tank Alternative Fuels Keeping Inflation at Bay The Perfect Storm Partinform Comes of Age
The Automotive Industry Roller Coaster Pushing the Limits The Best of Times …… Peter’s Soap Box Yank Tank Trivia Motoring Quiz Nissan Diesel Cautiously Optimistic A Double Bonus Is There a Doctor in the House? From Private Jets to Hybrid Cars Mickey Mouse Shows Less Interest A Sporting Heart Still Beats Alternative Fuels Grand Vitara 2,4 Manual The National Department of Unresolved Problems Getting a Grip on Tools Crème Buell Q & A with Henri Meistre The Anti-Freeze Debate Hots Up The Purple Patch Continues Published by: Trilogy Publishing Advertising Sales: Johannesburg Office: Marlene Erasmus 082 837 2668 Durban Office: Peter Mather 082 456 8479
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Publishing Editor Graham Erasmus 083 709 8184 Commercial Vehicle Editor Alwyn Viljoen 082 4589332
What’s the Buzz Cover Story Auto Topical Lux Lite Frankly Speaking AIDC Quiz Commercial Vehicle Comment Engine Remanufacturing Bottom Line Basics Informed Comment Tony’s Take Burford on Brands The Tipping Point Vehicle Evaluation Weighty Issues AutoZone Update Bike News Personal Profile Diamond Dialogues Capricorn Insights
Intelli-Driving Editor Eugene Herbert 082 941 3785 Correspondents Beeton, Frank Borlz, Baron Claude Burford, Adrian Ford, Adam Haw, Marcus Keeg, Howard Malan. Daniel Mather, Peter McCleery, Roger Twine, Tony Wilde, Fingal
Winner of the December 2008 F1 watch competition
46 48 50 52 54 74 58 60 62 64 66 68 Autoglass Clarification Current Affairs Tyre Safety Top Class Topics
Ian Flint, Protectall Tyre Bands National Sales Manager
Keeping Inflation at Bay Know the Difference Tyres Contribution to Safety in Motoring The FTE Dictionary of Experts’ Tricks Caring for the Environment A New Era for Africa? It’s Not the Aircon! The Perfect Storm Watch This Space Q & A with Manny de Canha The Spider and the Fly Partinform Comes of Age What’s in a Brand? Frequently Asked Questions It’s More Than Just Business Treading a Conscientious Path Whither Formula 1? Mazda’s Best Kept Secret
Environmentally Speaking Wilde Things Filter Facts Industry Comment Euroquip News Personal Profile Internet Strategies Partinform
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Corporate Conscience Fast Wheels A Word on cars The Last Writes
The publisher and contributors have done their best to ensure the accuracy of the articles and cannot accept responsibility for any loss or inconvenience sustained by any reader as a result of information or advice in Automotive Business Review. The information provided and opinions expressed in this publication are provided in good faith and do not necessaraly represent the opinion of the publisher. No article may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission from the publisher, except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
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The Automotive Industry Roller Coaster
Having been involved in the automotive aftermarket since 1975, may I have the presumption to reveal as I enter my 35th year of participation in and observation of the ups and downs of this addictive industry, my belief that I am eminently qualified to comment on the current economic scenario, and to impart some sage advice to those who say that all is gloom and doom, and that we’re done for. There is light at the end of the tunnel; all you need is a torch to see it from where you’re standing, and if you do not have a bright enough torch, I can arrange for an Australian cricket spectator to lend you a laser pointer.
ranted, as we enter 2009, things are not good. Just read Brand Pretorius’ prognosis on page 60 to understand the depth of the problem and to understand that from a new vehicle sales perspective we are in a perfect storm. Despite this, even from his straightened position, Brand sees us starting to come out of the gale force winds in six to nine months, and he is even more upbeat, albeit nervously, about 2010 and beyond. His observations are given credibility by the simple fact that he has, like us weathered veterans, seen it all before and has observed the cyclical swings of an exhilarating and maddening industry that has had its fair share of highs and lows. It is from this premise that I wish, as editor of South Africa’s most prestigious and most influential aftermarket publication, to comment on the automotive aftermarket specifically. Before I make my stunning observations, a little history if I may. In 1976, I was employed at the P&A Division of a leading original equipment manufacturer, when new vehicle sales took a nosedive, primarily as a result of the Soweto riots. Red ink and retrenchments were the order of the day, but what I remember most vividly was that the marines arrived in the form of parts and workshop sales that kept the manufacturer and the bulk of the dealerships from seeing their nether regions without the aid of a mirror. Similarly, in 1985/86, it was the aftermarket that was the shock absorber when new car sales took the hit after P.W. Botha’s Rubicon speech, and the resultant interest rate hike into the stratosphere. The scenario that I have just painted is the introduction to my first point; that the automotive aftermarket may be less glamorous than its bigger brother, but it is the more stable sibling, handling ups and downs far more phlegmatically. My second point is that the aftermarket always tends to lag new car sales by four to five years, which means that from an aftermarket perspective, the healthy new vehicle sales from 2004 to 2007 bodes well for sales, and that we are just about to enter an upward phase in 2009, which should intensify and peak round about 2011 to 2012. Those who have not been around as long as us greybeards may be sceptical, but I am prepared to put on the block my sub-
stantial neck, and other bits of my anatomy, unfortunately not so substantial, that those in the aftermarket who do not prepare and plan for this upswing, will be left behind. You can take poison on this prediction. So get out there and start marketing aggressively. Let’s discuss this again in 2012.
Shades of Dorian Grey
Being a modest fellow, I am coming under increasing pressure from some of my more involved readers to disclose what I look like. They are not satisfied with the phoenix representation, which relates to the origins of the magazine. Their intense desire is to see the features of the pearls of wisdom spouter. The problem, as I see it, is the narcissistic nature of the publishing industry. Not just our little niche of automotive vanity is affected, you merely have to peruse any publication, and the odds are very short that your reading space will be taken over by a touched-up mug shot of some aging prima donna. On this basis, I have been tempted to ease my svelte figure into a flame retardant racing suit, and to pose provocatively, draping my gorgeous and glistening form across the testosterone inducing lines of the latest throbbing V8 thunderbolt, sending our readers into apoplexies of lust and ecstasy. Alas, medical advice is that I simply cannot take the risk of an avalanche of lawssuit resulting from all the coronary episodes, so I have had to plump for (Freudian slip?) a basic head and shoulders shot. Just this once, folks, I do not want to spoil it for the others. And I have to defer to the serious nature of this magazine. Next month, we’ll revert to the phoenix, and leave the primping and posing to the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie lookalikes.
ABR’s webpage – www.automotivebusinessreview.co.za
18-21 2009. The worldwide KPMG survey has been conducted annually since 1999, with KPMG South Africa having arranged presentations locally since 2002. The survey results will undoubtedly be the most important to date as the world automotive industry faces the biggest challenges to its survival in history. In fact, the current situation in the automotive industry is so serious that the CEO of the Fiat Group, Sergio Marchionne, has gone so far as to say, in an article in Automotive News, that it is possible there will be only six global volume manufacturers - those producing at least 5,5-million vehicles a year – within the next two years.
GAUTRAINS ARE COMING HOME
The first shipment of two completed rail cars arrived in Durban on 1 December 2008, and they are going to keep on coming. Each rail car measures 21 metres in length and weighs 46 tonnes, and they will be transported as an abnormal load by road from Durban Harbour to Gautrain’s train depot in Midrand. The Gautrain rail fleet will total 96 Electrostar cars which will be operated as four-car train sets. Fifteen of the rail cars including all 10 airport rail cars are being manufactured and completed in Derby, England. In Midrand, each rail car will undergo extensive quality and safety testing, including 3 000km of test running in the standard four-car train set configuration on the Gautrain test track. During December 2008, ABR was privileged to see the transportation in action at van Reenen’s Pass.
Metro Police gets up AA’s Nose
The AA has noted that the Johannesburg Metro Police is yet again sensationalising speeding offences on the M71 near Leeuwkop Prison in Kyalami, a section of road whose speed limits are inexplicably low, thus making offenders out of drivers who may be proceeding in perfect safety. The M71 has recently been re-constructed into a wide, two-lane road, with excellent visibility. The speed limit of 60 on this entire road is not commensurate with the nature of the roadway. It also does not compare with other, similar roadways which have higher speed limits, such as the 80km/h William Nicol Drive going through Johannesburg’s Northern Suburbs, in itself a far more congested and dangerous road than the M71. In particular, the adjacent R55, a mere two kilometres away, is posted as 80km/h despite being a considerably inferior road. The AA’s opinion is that the Metro’s selective enforcement of the M71’s speed limit is cynical and serves little other purpose than to generate revenue and publicity for the department. The AA calls on the authorities to desist from the current inequitable speed trapping practices on the M71, and adjust the posted speed limits to reflect the nature of the road and the status quo on other similar roads.
Restored Manchester-Built Model A Ford Reflects Company Heritage
Launched in America during December 1927, on the back of one of the biggest advertising campaigns the world had ever seen, the Ford Model A was an outstanding automotive success, with more than five million built by the time production ceased. Even today, it is regarded as one of the most popular collector cars in the world, some half a million thought to have been restored, customised and preserved in the States, although comparatively rare in the rest of the world. The newly-restored Model A owned by John Falder, MD of Manchester England paint manufacturer HMG Paints, holds a special place in the history of the company and the city itself. Dating back to September 1930, it is amongst the last Model As to have been built at Ford’s Trafford Park, Manchester plant, before production was transferred to Dagenham, and it first took to the road during the very same year that HMG was founded by Harold Marcel Guest and John’s grandfather, Herbert Falder. It also featured a unique contemporary ‘hatchback’ design, with a rear opening door to facilitate its use as a commercial traveller’s car.
Hyundai Genesis named 2009 North American Car of the Year
After months of expert test-drives, critical acclaim and independent awards, the Hyundai Genesis took top honours in the most exclusive award in North America when it was named 2009 North American Car of the Year. A jury of 50 independent automotive journalists evaluated all the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2009 Hyundai Genesis as the best new model. The award was announced at a news conference at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
KPMG GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE SURVEY WILL BE A HIGHLIGHT AT AUTOMECHANIKA SA TRADE FAIR
The presentation of KPMG’s 2009 global survey of automotive executives will be one of several important events that will take place during the staging of the first ever Automechanika South Africa aftermarket Gavin Maile of KPMG trade fair at Expo Centre, Nasrec, on March
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Chrysler ENVI – Plugged into the World
With its rapidly growing portfolio of ENVI-powered electric vehicles, Chrysler LLC is inspiring a personal mobility revolution, creating a new generation of responsible, no-compromise Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehicles for consumers who care about the planet’s future and want to take care of it. Chrysler recently introduced three advanced electric-vehicle prototypes, while expressing its intention to broaden its all-electric and Rangeextended Electric Vehicle portfolio across its vehicle line-up. At the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Company unveiled updated versions of those vehicles – along with two new electric vehicles – reinforcing a commitment to developing and bringing to market a broad array of advanced electric vehicles for their brands. Chrysler will produce at least one of these vehicles for North American markets in 2010 (and European markets after 2010); with at least three more models to follow by 2013. Between its ENVI electric-drive vehicles and GEM neighbourhood electric vehicles, Chrysler expects to have 500 000 electric vehicles on the road by 2013.
TOYOTA BROADENS SCOPE OF ADVANCED ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES WITH FT-EV CONCEPT AT THE DETROIT AUTO SHOW
Toyota has displayed the Toyota FT-EV concept at the North American International Auto Show, and has confirmed its plan to launch an urban commuter battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2012. The FT-EV concept, as well as the compressed natural gas powered Camry Hybrid concept display at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, signal Toyota’s intention to broaden the scope of its advanced alternative-fuel vehicle development. The concept shares its platform with the revolutionary-new iQ urban commuter vehicle. Already a huge hit in Japan, the iQ is lightweight and seats four passengers in comfort and security, while delivering exceptional mileage, sporty performance, unique refinements and a fun, youthful image.
President Obama Christens New Car at Jan. 20 Inaugural Parade
As Americans celebrated the inauguration of a new president of the United States, another new Cadillac graced Pennsylvania Avenue, leading the proceedings. President Barack Obama rode in an all-new Cadillac Presidential Limousine, continuing a long tradition of Cadillac limousines that have served many U.S. presidents. “Cadillac is honoured to again provide a new Presidential Limousine,” said Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. “This is a great American tradition that we’re delighted to renew with an all-new car featuring the best of Cadillac’s dramatic design and technology.”
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 launched at McLaren Technology Centre
he Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team launched the car it will campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship on 16 January 2009 at its headquarters in Woking, England. Unveiled by world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the new MP4-24 bears little resemblance to its world championship-winning predecessor due to the introduction of a raft of new rules that have radically reshaped Formula 1 ahead of the 2009 season. Now featuring heavily revised bodywork, re-sculpted front and rear wings, slick tyres and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the MP4-24 has been in development since September 2007 in order to successfully accommodate the huge changes to the technical regulations.
Seat ofBelt Insanity – OnlyCommitteeof ten vehicle occupants wear their two organisations have released new data four out seatbelts, according to the Automobile Association South Africa and the Bridgestone-backed for Active Road Safety (CARS). The
obtained from the AA’s quarterly seatbelt survey. The research, which was carried out early in December 2008, confirmed findings from the previous survey and gathered new data. A total of 3831 vehicles, containing 6987 occupants in all seating positions, were surveyed at six locations across South Africa. “As with our previous survey in September 2008, the occupant most likely to wear a belt in South Africa is the driver,” said AASA Head of Public Affairs, Rob Handfield – Jones. “The wearing rate for drivers has dropped from 64% to 56%. Rear occupant wearing rates remain dire, with left and right rear occupants recording wearing rates of just 8% and 10% respectively.”
Pure excitement and driving pleasure
Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are adding the crowning glory to the model family of their highly successful SLR super sports car with a new, uncompromisingly spectacular car. There is neither a roof nor a windscreen to separate the driver and passenger from the outside world; they enjoy unadulterated high-speed excitement with all the attributes of a speedster. The new SLR Stirling Moss is also characterised by the most sophisticated technology and a breathtaking design which reinterprets the SLR legend. With 478 kW/650 hp the SLR Stirling Moss accelerates its V8 supercharged engine from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 350 km/h – no other series-production car is at the same time so open and so fast.
Franz Fehrenbach honoured by ADAC as “Personality of the Year 2009”
The German Automobile Association (ADAC) has awarded Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management, its Yellow Angel prize as “Personality of the Year 2009.” In doing so, the executive committee of Europe’s largest automobile club honoured Fehrenbach for “the global corporation’s ecologically oriented innovative strength, for which he has been responsible.” Fehrenbach had, they said, single-mindedly driven Bosch’s transformation from automotive supplier to an environmental technology corporation.
solution on p27
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Pushing the Limits
Control Instruments Automotive, after a period of intense and frenetic acquisition, followed by a well considered and controlled restructuring and consolidation, is on a mission. From an outsider’s perspective, it may have been difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff as CI Auto went about the business of cementing the building blocks in place, which is a prerequisite for the next phase of its expansion. These building blocks will enable CI Auto to go forward with confidence and to put it in a position to gain leverage from its inherent strengths, to allow a renewed, refreshed and dynamic management team to begin to push the limits.
BR’s cover photograph says it all. Three Pitts Specials, representing the Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team, provide a great metaphor for where CI Auto finds itself. To attain the perfection of synchronised flight, and to perform daring aerobatic feats, requires the right mix. Firstly, tried and tested aeroplanes; secondly, meticulous planning and preparation; thirdly a talented team totally in sync with each other; and finally a support structure that inspires total confidence. The cherry on this cake is the marriage of skill, science and art, which is an alchemic blend of knowing what needs to be done, with a dash of gut feel and flair, making it all very exciting. The end result is a choreographed masterpiece. Mimicking this set-up, CI Auto has been preparing itself these past 18 months, to emulate the Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team, this time in a real life scenario which is firmly rooted to the ground in reality. The consolidation of various manufacturing units, distribution hubs, administrative and technical offices, and various other bits and pieces into one centralised location and one cohesive whole in City Deep, Johannesburg, has similarly required meticulous planning and preparation, to establish a support structure that
inspires confidence, and to allow a talented team to feed off each other as they begin to push the limits. The hiccups that CI Auto customers experienced during this transitional phase was unfortunately part of the process. Not that it was planned, but as Robbie Burns was wont to say, “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley”. One only needs to look at the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal Five to fully appreciate this long revered quotation and to comprehend the trials and tribulations that goes into the selection and establishment of a talented team that is going to take you to the stars. The management team that has been tasked with taking CI Auto to new heights comprises seven dedicated and motivated people. Each one hand picked and each one fully aware of the responsibility resting on their shoulders. The aim of becoming the leading supplier of premium branded product to the automotive aftermarket and selected original equipment manufacturers on the African continent is both simple and complex. The simplicity is in the brief, the complexity in the execution. Either way, these men and women are up to it. The fulcrum for all these activities resides at marketing and sales levels.
Grant Fraser – marketing director, CI Auto
he mantle of success or failure lies both heavily and lightly on Grant Fraser’s shoulders. He is very conscious and very excited about where CI Auto currently stands and the potential for growth that he envisages for the next 18 to 24 months. He sees aggressive marketing and smart product development as the keys to success. The cornerstone brands that will underpin this envisaged growth will be Gabriel, AutoExcel, Echlin, Autocom, Warn, VDO, Shurlok and Touratech. Growing these brands to cater for the needs of the latest car parc will be a priority, with the emphasis on range expansion and the updating of catalogues to assist CI Auto’s customers to stay abreast of market trends and needs. However, new brands and new products will also be a priority and Grant shall for the rest of 2009 be travelling the globe looking for products that will enhance the CI Auto stable and they will also need to be integral to the next generation car parc. The current car parc of 8,1 million vehicles, of which 5,2 million (64%) is passenger vehicles, is already a veritable goldmine. Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal are the big three provinces, with 71% of the vehicles concentrated in these areas. In addition, the continent of Africa has plenty to offer for a company that is looking to maintain growth momentum. Grant puts it succinctly, “Exports of automotive products from South Africa have shown rapid growth over the past decade and it is important to maintain the growth momentum.” The South African automotive aftermarket is a wide and diverse group of product and service providers (see box). Grant adds that “growth will increasingly be measured in units, rather than turnover as end users switch to more affordable products during tough economic times. The commercial markets remain the strongest growing segment, and the primary consideration in the current market is to access the impending mar-
ket growth, and ensuring that the operation and brands are positioned to capitalise on this is imperative.” CI Auto estimates the market potential for its product portfolio at R7,7 billion, of which R3,6 billion is in the lucrative aftermarket channel (5-15 year age bracket). This aftermarket channel’s strongest component areas are engine, electrical, service, drive line, suspension & steering, body, wheel & brake and cooling. CI Auto is well placed in most of these areas and is looking to fill the gaps. It is Grant’s belief that the market will be receptive to CI Auto’s laser like focus on customer service, and his parting shot is a confident prognosis, “Overall, the mix is exciting. We live in an age of growth, change, and business revolution. E-commerce offers us opportunities, but our first priority is to rapidly grow our basket of products to expand our potential customer base.”
• • • • • • • • • • • 4400 garages and fuel stations (most with service workshops) 1800 specialised repairers 1350 new car dealerships 1580 used vehicle outlets 300 component manufacturers 150 “other” manufacturers 1700 tyre specialists and retreaders 480 engine reconditioners 170 body builders 2770 parts dealers 180 farm vehicle and equipment suppliers
oy Hollins, the recently appointed sales director of CI Auto, has recognised the need to “drill down” into the market. He understands that he shares the custodian duties with marketing director Grant Fraser on some very special brands. Top of the pops is CI Auto’s flagship brand, Gabriel, South Africa’s leading aftermarket shock absorber. To acknowledge this fact, CI Auto has created a Ride Control Business Unit, which looks after the technologically advanced Gabriel product range, which is engineered for South African conditions. A significant nod to the importance of this technological edge, has been the appointment of Sean Staley, a qualified engineer, as Gabriel’s national sales manager. Supporting Sean is a team of regional sales managers, nurturing and looking after the needs of five warehouse distributors and with a radically new approach. The focus is to cover the entire channel, drilling down to spares shops, independents, fitment centres, and touching everyone who touches a Gabriel shock, from counter hand to fitter. This personal contact and cognitive interaction ensures that no longer will a counter hand say, “a shock is a shock is a shock”! This new approach requires a rejuvenated sales team. This is being achieved via incentives, training and a motivational programme dubbed the “Gabriel Sales Warrior” programme. Many benefits are to accrue from this approach, not least being a promotional frenzy at grass roots level, buttressed by market intelligence, technical feedback, product ideas, and more. In addition, a very important benefit will be a refreshingly novel rapport between manufacturing and sales personnel.
Roy Hollins – sales director, CI Auto
Over and above the efforts behind the Gabriel brand, CI Auto’s other products are also receiving attention. The silo approach is out, with the traditional business units being replaced with relevant component groups, all looked after by dedicated and reinvigorated product/sales teams, sharing product knowledge and sales passion which translates into happier customers. These product groups comprise Ride Control, Drive Train, Ancillaries, Instrumentation and Leisure. Interacting with all these business units, a dedicated and all encompassing support team provides logistical and administrative support, taking away the day to day hassles from the front line soldiers and easing the sales process. Ci Auto has also initiated a new focus on exports into the African market, covering the entire automotive channel for OEM, P&A through to the independent workshops with the entire basket of product from the CI Auto stable. The mantra for all CI Auto sales personnel shall be customer service in all its forms – availability, support, assistance, with a razor sharp desire to help.
Visitors to CI Auto’s head office in Johannesburg are left under no illusion as to what CI Auto sells
story Marcel Mbuyu – operations director, Gabriel
Gerhard de Clerk – financial director, CI Auto
“ The key focus is to become cost effective in the running of the business. A lean and mean organisation is one that can cope with new demands without impacting service. Other imperatives are the protection of cash resources, embracing technology as a key driver, the development of staff, and a customer orientation from everyone, from the sales force to the back office.”
“The Gabriel plant in Cape Town has close to 50 years experience in manufacturing shockabsorbers for Southern Africa, rest of Africa and exports to five continents. The expertise gained over the years is enabling Gabriel to cope very well with the huge proliferation of car models and platforms through a rapid expansion of SKUs in the Gabriel catalogue. The challenges of globalisation and cost pressures faced by Gabriel have led the Gabriel operations team to accelerate the rate of change required in production, the sourcing of quality components from competitive sources around the world and the deployment of Lean Manufacturing Principles (fiercely eliminating waste across the entire supply chain), an area in which Gabriel is a leader in implementation since the early 90s. The Team is centered on Quality and Process Improvement, Manufacturing and Supply Chain management. All senior managers have several years of experience in manufacturing shockabsorbers.”
Martha Koekemoer – financial executive, Gabriel
“The automotive industry is experiencing a combination of pricing pressures on two fronts. From the input side raw material costs increased significantly during 2008, and from the sales side consumers are becoming more price conscious. This puts an onus on us to become very diligent in procurement practices and to be extremely efficient in production planning, as we strive to satisfy these needs and wants.”
Richard Machanick operations director, CI Auto
“The reorganisation of the factory and warehouse has been a huge challenge, but also a richly rewarding experience. Productivity and service levels are improving and we foresee further improvements in 2009. We have developed a strong supply chain management team and in operations we have redirected and energised the workforce, with productivity and enthusiasm at levels one would have deemed impossible six months ago. Another enhancement has been the creation of a an “A” team that troubleshoots and resolves problems. We now have a multi-skilled, flexible and motivated workforce, created by a move from conservative to progressive management. We recognise the need and obligation to support the marketing and sales divisions by continually imroving our customer service levels.”
Anca Priscu – new business development executive, Gabriel
“New Business Development was recently created by joining the commercial and product engineering skills available in the Gabriel division. The main objectives are to increase shock absorbers business levels in all markets in which we operate by enriching our product propositions and gaining new accounts, particularly outside the South-African borders. Thorough vehicle sales analysis and product research allow us to develop products that our customers really need, in all automotive segments. For 2009 the focus remains on uncompromising product quality and reduced time to market lead-time, topped by customer care. Despite the world wide turmoil in the automotive industry, Gabriel will play an increasing role in the sub-Saharan replacement parts market. We are confident that our ability to read trends and adapt fast to different market conditions will bring positive results.”
One of CI Auto’s big strengths is its world class brands
In 1900, Claude Foster, a pioneer in the automotive parts industry, founded a company in Cleveland, Ohio, that was named after its first product, Gabriel horns for horse-driven carriages. Foster later developed the first shock absorbing device, the “Snubber,” for which he was granted the first U.S. patent for a direct acting shock absorber in 1907. The rest is history. Gabriel found its way to South Africa in 1935 and in 2006 Gabriel SA was acquired by Control Instruments from ArvinMeritor, the USA parent. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the Gabriel name became synonymous with technology-advanced products such as Hijackers and Striders. In 1978, Gabriel introduced the first gas charged shock absorber developed and produced in the U.S. Gabriel has consistently been in the forefront of shock absorber innovation. Founded in 1948 by Arthur Warn, Warn Industries began producing locking hubs for surplus World War II Jeeps, converting thousands into useful, on-road vehicles. Originally based in Seattle, Washington, Warn Industries' innovation revolutionised the hub industry. The WARN® winch, developed in 1959, was the first recreational winch. With pioneering features such as a rugged drive train, the WARN winch quickly became the leading brand for off-road racers, avid four wheelers, weekend adventurers and hard working ranchers. Continuing to diversify its product line the company also added fender flares and off-road accessory products. WARN introduced the industry's first ATV winch and was issued a patent in 1988. WARN entered the South African market in 1977. Jack and Earl Echlin founded Echlin and Echlin in San Francisco in 1924. They made pistons, piston pins, and similar parts at first but then turned to manufacturing replacement parts such as ignitor gears and oil pump gears. Eventually, they bought the ignition business of another company and went on to become one of the leading U.S. ignition manufacturers. Echlin entered the South African market in 1952, and CI Auto acquired the rights to the name when it purchased Dana South Africa, thus gaining a highly prized brand, well known as “the professional’s choice.” The Autocom Echlin brand of original quality steering and suspension components has been assembled and part manufactured since 1978 under technical agreement with major OEM European, Japanese and American steering and suspension manufacturers. The components are made from the highest quality material and are consistently machined to the originally defined tolerances, making it one of the great suspension brands in South Africa. The AutoExcel range of auto electrical components guarantees consistent performance and long life. Some of this range is manufactured in-house while the rest is imported from Europe, the Americas and the Far East. Over many years AcsaMag had become a strong and well-known brand in the automotive aftermarket. With the business growth in CI Automotive, however, the need arose to rebrand Acsa-Mag products under a new name: AutoExcel. The name was chosen to reflect the industry which the brand serves, the quality customers have come to expect, and the customer service for which it is renowned. VDO (Verenigte Deuta Ota) is an iconic German instrumentation brand. VDO South Africa was acquired by Control Instruments in 1987, a company which has been supplying transport control systems to companies in South Africa since 1948, including the world renowned Kienzle Tachograph. CI Auto is now custodian of this prestigious brand.
Other significant CI Auto Brands
“CI Auto’s brands will be our priority, in range expansion and superb cataloguing”
“Customer service in the support of our brands will be our mantra”
by Tony Twine
The best of times and the worst of times…
collapse in the Gold price and a 90% devaluation of the Rand/Dollar exchange rate during 1985 had surely set the scene for a collapse of confidence in the economy. The fifth worst growth rate, -15%, in 1998 was driven once again by a sharply weakening Rand, and the prime overdraft rate from 18.25% on 10th June to 25.5% by 31st August that year, as the Reserve Bank tried to slug it out with foreign currency traders, ending up with the SARB accumulating a foreign debt of $25bn in the space of a few months, the infamous “nett open forward position”, which took until 2001 to pay back. Amongst the best performing years, the highest growth rates occurred in contiguous years after the scare of 1961 was over, but 1963’s 35.7% and 1964’s 30.2% must be viewed against the low volume base which existed in the early 1960’s (1961 saw just over 75 000 new cars sold). Those two high growth years were driven by the recovery and confidence after the economy had survived “Republic-hood”, in an ongoing GDP growth environment of close to 6%pa. 1980’s 29.9% growth was on the back of the gold price boom, which saw the metal well on the way to an eventual turning point at $850. 1973 was a curious year to deliver a high car sales growth performance, but was also helped by the gold price which rode upwards strongly on the back of inflation threats from an oil price which moved from $2.50 to $8.50 in a matter of weeks during the first OPEC-inspired oil crisis. The fifth best growth rate of 25.5% during 2005 came on the back of falling interest rates, rising consumer and business confidence levels, almost non-existent vehicle price inflation and economic growth at levels well above the 5%pa mark – the proximity of 2005 to 2008 is a healthy reminder of how the boom-bust scenarios for the local motor industry evolved in rapid succession. One point is more than worth making – the preliminary NAAMSA sales figures for 2008 reflect 294 989 passenger cars sold, excluding the over 34 000 from the AMH stable and a few more from completely impenetrable importers. Before 2005, this would have been the best car sales year ever, with earlier record years spaced as far apart as 1981 and 2004, with NAAMSA car sales of 301 000 units each. But nobody will remember the car market of 2008 with any fondness, which just goes to show that Einstein was right – everything is relative.
2008 proved once again that the local motor industry, which is by no means unique in global terms in this respect, is certainly no place for the faint hearted to try to earn a living or build a career. It is probably also the most treacherous industry for anybody who is trying to make predictions upon which to base business strategies – when you are wrong you can be very, very wrong, and when you are right you are just plain lucky!!
hese statements may be very visibly confirmed by viewing the behavior of the curve running through the accompanying graph, which traces the annual rates of growth of reported NAAMSA passenger car unit sales from one year to the next between 1961 and 2008. Harrowing as last year certainly was for participants in the new vehicle markets, the decline in NAAMSA car unit sales of 23.3% during the year turned out not to be the worst annual growth rate experienced since the beginning of the 1960’s, which dubious distinction belongs to 1985, which was equally unforgettable to those who were around at the time and who have survived to witness the close run race for the most negative growth performance during 2008. The small tables in the graphic spell out the five best growth years and the five worst growth years for these car sales since 1961. It is interesting to reflect on the drivers of the worst and best performances respectively, because they certainly are diverse. The wooden spoon champion growth for 1985 was driven by sharp increases in interest rates after the 1983/4 mini-boom, the Rubicon speech, and a dramatic collapse in the exchange rate of the Rand, which saw car prices escalate by 23% on average during the year. In worst-but-one spot, 2008 saw the continuation of a two-year economic slow down in SA, rising interest rates and, eventually, the worst economic crisis in world terms since the 1930’s. Third worst spot was way back in the 1960’s with 1961 delivering -22.9% growth on the back of the repercussions of the Sharpeville massacre and other township unrest during 1960, as well as a dramatic slow-down in economic and fixed investment spending growth upon the news that SA would become an independent republic on the 31st of May 1961. Those concerns were largely mirrored in 1976, with the June 16th Soweto uprising, which spilled out over other urban Townships, but a sharp
PETER’S SOAP BOX
by Peter Mather
Peter Mather has worked in the field of human capital development in the motor industry for the last twelve years and has enjoyed great success in facilitating sales and leadership programmes within the industry.
i everyone, trust you had a great break and feel refreshed and invigorated, ready for the challenges 2009 will bring us all. After spending time at the end of 2008 chatting to people within the automotive industry I was reminded of one of Paul Meyers greatest quotes taken from one of his most successful programmes. Change Growth and Progress are the order of the day. In looking at the beginning of a new year I couldn’t think of anything more apt to describe the way the industry must go in 2009. However in order for an industry to move towards this it is vital that people in your organisation embrace this themselves in their own personal life. There is no doubt that to succeed in 2009 we need to understand what is required. Firstly if you are experiencing poor results don’t keep on doing the same thing this year. Change to have any lasting impression must come from within. Change yourself. Start by ridding yourself of negative perceptions and replace them with positive affirmations for success. Then start to
dream a little. Ask yourself what do I want to achieve this year. Then build a workable plan of action and share that with all your team members and above all exude confidence so that they become inspired by your leadership. Having completed this step the next one is to build commitment from all your team members. This can sometimes be difficult and you are welcome to contact me for any advice I can help you with. Once you have commitment you need to set up an effective visual measuring process of results within your business and have each team member measure their own performance versus your expectations. By focusing on what can be done rather that what cant be done we steadily build belief and confidence within the business. Finally reward success through powerful recognition and only recognise achievements positively, avoid negative recognition at all times. Through following these simple steps you are able to insulate yourself from all the overall negative media hype going on around you at present. Yes we are in challenging times
but let’s all take inspiration from the way our cricket team played in Australia. The greater the challenge the greater the player and above all the greater the rewards at the end of the day. We can all recognise that incredible thing called human spirit. Unleash the potential of that collectively within your organisation and the rest will follow. I look forward to interacting with all of you this year and welcome any e mails regarding your teams successes and please if you are experiencing difficulties mail me, I maybe able to help. I have a full team of associates nationally and if you would like someone to visit you to discuss ways of improving any facet of your business please contact me. Looking forward to a great year and who knows meeting some of you face to face in 2009. Above all have fun and live your life to its fullest. Visit www.s2p.co.za or contact peter @s2p.co.za to register for my monthly newsletters or telephone 082 456 8479 for more details.
Just before South Africa shut down for the annual year-end holidays, we witnessed the amazing events unfolding around the severely troubled by Frank Beeton American motor industry. The most amazing of these were the efforts being made by General Motors and Chrysler to obtain emergency government funding to rescue their corporate cash flows, before they were predicted to disappear completely around year-end. It seems that the Ford Motor Company was in a slightly more favourable position, viewing any forthcoming government hand-out as a “nice to have”, rather than a life-or-death necessity.
ndustry analysts and commentators were prolific in their efforts to dig out the reasons why this iconic and long-established industry had got itself into such a potentially terminal mess. The usual theories about inappropriate products, excessive brand proliferation, slow reaction times, ineffective and profligate management, inflexible and overpaid labour, and progressively more stringent legislative demands on emissions and fuel economy were advanced and dissected. The real villain was, of course, the financial and economic crises which hit America, and the rest of the world during 2008, dramatically shrinking the market for new vehicles. The final volume of just more than 13 million cars and trucks finally sold in the US during 2008 was nearly three million down on the equivalent 2007 volume, and substantially less than the all-time record of 17,4 million units set in Year 2000. The one thing that an industry in transition does not need is to have its principal market unexpectedly evaporate. Even if some of the accusations leveled against the US industry were accurate, vast businesses like the “Detroit Three” (recently demoted from “Big Three” by some American scribes) need time to make profound adjustments. To be fair, all three of these manufacturers already had substantial return-to-profit strategies in place long before the “Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis” hit, and were busy with detailed action plans. Whether these plans were appropriate has now become largely an academic question, because they would have been made against the expectation of a “normal” market, and that, alas, no longer exists. Taking one step backwards, it seems that the American motor industry’s major opportunity is also its biggest problem. The US light vehicle market has been historically the world’s largest, and, even in its emaciated 2008 state, is likely to have retained that status over a rapidly closing second placed China. A market of that magnitude has the potential to place enormous demands on its suppliers, because the rewards of success in the market are very considerable in volume terms. This is the reason why foreign manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan, Daimler, BMW and Honda have established a substantial North American manufacturing presence to further their quests for increased business critical mass, and world market share. In order to do this, they have also created special models to pander to the preferences of American buyers. Unfortunately, these special models present as a two-pronged threat to the indigenous American “Detroit Three”. Firstly, they have eroded GM, Ford and Chrysler’s individual and collective shares of their domestic market (in 2008, this trio accounted for just less than half of US light vehicle sales), and, secondly, they have reinforced the perception that North America needs “special” products, and cannot be satisfied with the models developed for the rest of the world. In order to defend their positions, therefore, the US manufacturers have spent more time and effort developing specific models for their home market, most of which have negligible appeal beyond the shores of North America. While this strategy may work fine when the North American market is running, come the downturn and………..immediate
stock build-up! Excess inventory is, of course, the mortal enemy of positive cash flow. With the US market quite happy to go on buying its unique domestic models, American manufacturers saw little need to internationalise their products, or to reorientate buyers through aggressive marketing action. This is not to say that there has been no interplay at all between US plants and their offshore subsidiaries, but most of what has transpired up to now has been very distinctly “off the radar”, hidden in vehicle platforms and components that are not seen by the average buyer. Even when foreign models are sold in the US, they are usually heavily “Americanised”, and emerge materially different to equivalents sold overseas. The result of all this is that the American-owned industry has become increasingly isolated, living or dying according to the whims of its own domestic market. The other problems put forward by the analyst community, if accurate, just exacerbate the problem. It is amazing to think that Henry Ford once supplied 90% of all the motor vehicles on Planet Earth, while to-day vehicles of US origin are only bit players on four of the five continents. This will surely change, however, if General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the chance, and the market, to see their revival strategies through. GM and Ford have declared the intent to use far more global product integration going forward, and Chrysler is actively pursuing offshore partnerships, with both Renault/Nissan and Chinese manufacturers. The changes which have taken place in the US heavy truck building industry form an interesting backdrop to this discussion. Once totally unique, with numerous independent indigenous chassis manufacturers offering a highly rationalised catalogue of Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar, Allison, Fuller, Spicer, Rockwell, and Hendrickson driveline components behind their individual nameplates, we now have Freightliner, Western Star, and Mack foreign-owned, and increasingly moving towards specification profiles made up of components supplied by their European parents, Daimler and Volvo. Even locally-owned PACCAR (Peterbilt/Freightliner) and Navistar International are increasingly favouring “in-house” engine options, sourced from affiliated DAF and MAN respectively. The success of GM’s, Ford’s and Chrysler’s turnaround plans will depend heavily on what happens to the US economy, and, by inference, its automotive market. Optimists believe that some recovery may be possible later in 2009, and that would be good news indeed for the beleaguered motor industry. In the meantime, expensive steps to develop new products (including a wave of electric vehicles), close under-utilised plants, adjust manpower levels, cancel unpromising products and projects and stimulate sales, go on. Already the US government has provided the industry with loans of $US 25 billion for plant upgrades, and $US 17,4 billion in emergency funding. If things don’t improve soon, they’ll be back for more!
by Roger McCleery
See how much you know about motoring.
1. What does the name of the former East German car, Trabant, mean? 2. What South African made sports car made its racing debut 50 years ago at Killarney, Cape Town? 3. Who invented the diesel engine? 4. Name two South Africans to have won their home Grands Prix. 5. In what towns or cities did they live? 6. What Italian tractor manufacturer started to manufacture cars in 1963? 7. In what year did Japanese luxury manufacturer Lexus first sell a car? 8. Name the bomber airfield used for the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the modern era in 1950? 9. What make of scooter sold more than 60 million? 10. One of every 15 cars sold in the world today is a what? 11. The letters of the car ‘MG’ stand for? 12. The letters ‘AC’ in the name AC Spark Plug formerly owned by General Motors stand for what? 13. Name the American founder of Nascar Stock Car Racing series in the USA. 14. Name the driver to give Williams its first Formula 1 Grand Prix win. 15. Who invented vulcanised rubber for tyres? 16. Who designed and built the Cobra sports car? 17. How many times did a 40-inch high car win Le Mans? 18. Name the car. 19. Who wrote the book “Unsafe At Any Speed” which eventually made seat belts compulsory in the States? 20. What were the first names of the Studebaker brothers?
Answers on p23
Nissan Diesel Cautiously Optimistic about 2009
Nissan Diesel South Africa’s press briefing on 20th June 2009 was a breath of fresh air for a media contingent expecting the worst, with a reasonably upbeat prognosis for the truck market in 2009, providing a welcome counterbalance to all the doom and gloom going around the industry. Johan Richards, chief operating officer, put it succinctly, “We refuse to be sucked into the maelstrom of negative thoughts and negative opinions. This type of thought process eventually becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.”
issan Diesel South Africa (NDSA) forecasts heavy duty sales of 30 000 units in 2009 – Medium Commercial Vehicles 7 900, Heavy Commercial Vehicles 6 350, Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicles 13 940, and Buses 1 810; with NDSA’s share expected to be 4 053 units (13,5%). Whilst this prediction is some 13,5% below 2008 sales, NDSA expects the market to gain some traction during the second half of 2009. This prognosis is based on the expectation of interest rates coming down to 12,5% during the course of the year, inflation averaging out at 6,7% and an increase in the business confidence index.
Masato Takizawa, chief executive of Nissan Diesel SA: “UD stands for Ultimate Dependability”
Johan Richards, chief operating office, “We’ve seen this movie before – Nissan Diesel remains very positive”
Raymond Schulz, manager: marketing and retail services, “A 10% increase in the price of a vehicle only translates into a 2,1% increase in the lifetime operating costs of a vehicle”.
Rory Schulz, general manager: corporate planning and marketing, “Things will ease up during the second half of 2009”
Despite a stressful fourth quarter affected particularly by price increases, a global financial meltdown, a rapidly depreciating exchange rate and a plummeting all share index, NDSA can still look back at 2008 with some satisfaction. From a profit perspective, 2008 was the best year ever for NDSA, and in the process it managed to maintain its third position in market share rankings behind Mercedes-Benz and Toyota by make. On the global front, NDSA retained its number one position as Nissan Diesel’s top market outside of Japan. “Nissan Diesel South Africa remains a dedicated truck company that aims to provide profitable transport solutions to its customers”, said Masato Takizawa, chief executive of Nissan Diesel SA. Rory Schulz, general manager: corporate planning and marketing, concedes that a lot hinges on how the exchange rate behaves in 2009, “The strength of the yen is creating cost pressures and our margins will continue to come under pressure as long as this persists.” Raymond Schulz, manager: marketing and retail services, adds that price increases do not necessarily translate into a huge burden for transporters, “A 10% increase in the price of a vehicle only translates into a 2,1% increase in the lifetime operating costs of a vehicle”.
A Double Bonus
In these days of environmental awareness, recycling and remanufacturing are two activities that get five stars from the Al Gore brigade. The automotive industry, in particular, has taken a lot of flak recently about the role it plays in carbon emissions and global warming. There are, however, some good news stories. Remtec is one of these.
emanufacturing of engines is not new. In actual fact, in the 1970’s there were quite a few remanufacturers focusing purely on the remanufacture of VW Beetle engines. The problem was, and still is, remanufacturing is not easy, particularly if you want to do the job properly. Therefore, there are today less remanufacturers than some three decades ago. And, astonishingly, there is only one OE engine remanufacturer in South Africa, and that manufacturer is Remtec. Before we go into this success story, let us define what remanufacturing is. R. Lund, an acknowledged guru, defines it as “… an industrial process in which worn-out products are restored to like-new condition. Through a series of industrial processes in a factory environment, a discarded product is completely disassembled. Useable parts are cleaned, refurbished, and put into inventory. Then the product is reassembled from the old parts (and where necessary, new parts) to produce a unit fully equivalent and sometimes superior in performance and expected lifetime to the original new product.” In the broader sense, remanufacturing encompasses the three key components in the modern waste management hierarchy; “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Essentially, remanufacturing goes further than these three imperatives, in that it is a complete
South Africa and Nissan South Africa. Remtec gives its customers peace of mind with a well equipped workshop, an adherence to the highest quality standards, a dedicated team, good availability, competitive pricing and a 12 month / 100 000 km warranty. Add to this full after sales service and you get a pretty impressive package. Remtec also does not let the grass grow from under its feet when it comes to delivery, striving to achieve delivery of orders within 24 – 48 hours, thus reducing downtime significantly. There are other reconditioners that may offer better prices, but this option does not represent a cost effective long term solution. Refurbished engines have only been repaired and brought back to running condition whereas Remtec Remanufactured engines have been completely restored to OEM specifications, with all the parts being sourced from OEM approved suppliers. Peace of mind comes from the fact that Remtec Remanufactured engines have the equivalent of a new product warranty, as stringent standards have resulted in the Remtec product being comparable to a new product.
process, and when done properly, it matches and even exceeds what customers’ expect from a new product. Remtec falls proudly into this category. The only OE engine remanufacturer in South Africa, with over 43 years experience in the industry, Remtec operates from a 6 000 m² facility in Port Elizabeth, employing over 80 people. Remtec is an approved remanufacturer for General Motors South Africa (Opel and Isuzu); Volkswagen of South Africa; Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (Ford and Mazda); Land Rover
So there you have it. Remtec gives you a double bonus – OEM quality and environmentally acceptable! Visit www.remtec.co.za for more information.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Servant Dart Rudolph Diesel Jody Scheckter and Buller Meyer East London Lamborghini 1989
8. Silverstone 9. Honda Cub 10. Chevrolet 11. Morris Garages 12. Arthur Champion – maker of Champion Spark Plugs 13. Bill France Snr. 14. Clay Ragazzoni 15. Charles Goodyear 16. Carroll Shelby 17. 4 Times 18. Ford GT40 19. Ralph Nader 20. Henry and Clement
It’s been said a million times before that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This cliché takes on a new resonance when describing the truck industry. Times may be tough, but trucks are tougher, and truckers are the toughest. This industry is literally the wheels of the economy, so thank goodness that when the going gets tough, the toughest get going. A critical element in this dynamic is the ability to keep costs down, and to ensure that operating costs are kept under tight control. The first port of call in this endeavour is to protect against theft and misuse. ABR has commissioned Séan Jackson of TRUCKTEK to give our readers a series of tips on Bottom Line Basics.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
Séan Jackson does not mince his words. He describes the current situation in South Africa as “an illness in the market”. He is referring to the large scale theft of fuel, in various forms, from practically every fleet in the country. This theft is endemic, and is impacting severely on the operating costs of fleets and is eroding profits to a significant degree. It does not take a rocket scientist to realise the greater impact on the economy as a whole.
onsidering that up to 40% of the operating costs of a fleet is in the consumption of fuel, and factoring in the conservative estimate that 30% of this fuel is being lost to “fuel evaporation”, this translates into over 10% of fleet operating costs going up in smoke, or more accurately, contributing to a burgeoning black market in commodity trading. Any economist who cares to do the sums will come to a staggeringly high figure, which means that here is an area where action can and must be taken. If not, crime does appear to pay. The industry is fully aware of the situation, tackling the scourge with various measures of increasing sophistication. Electronic fuel management systems have been introduced, and monitoring techniques have got so smart that many fleet control centres can tell when a truck has stopped, where it has stopped, and for how long it has stopped. The guys in the control centre can monitor the driver’s efficiency, and even how much fuel is being consumed at a given point in time. Individual tyre pressures can even be monitored and fed back to the driver! All good and well, and all sound measures to improve overall efficiency, but the brutal fact is that fuel theft is being committed on a large and consistent scale, and this is being perpetrated by syndicates which remove fuel regularly from many trucks, and in quantities that may create some head scratching at head office, but not so much that alarm bells are sounded. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and the mouse is winning. Even when the odd alarm bell does go off, it is usually after the fact, so very little can be done, as how does one
apportion blame? It is extremely difficult to gauge fuel losses, because of all the variances – load, road conditions, driving skills, vehicle condition, etc. The driver is always the suspect, but how do you know? There are three realities in this the situation: Firstly, diesel has become a commodity, so there is no way you can stop people trading in it. Secondly, the syndicates that are removing diesel from tanks and trucks throughout the country cannot be tracked, as they are doing it consistently, regularly, and over extended periods, at a place and time of their choice. Thirdly; and this is the critical issue, and the essence of the problem; this is not an opportunistic crime. It is not the guy punching holes in the tank, or removing a drain plug or sender unit; it is a sophisticated network of diesel “procurement specialists”. The bottom line is that a fuel tank has to be accessed physically to put fuel in, and a fuel tank has to be accessed physically to get the fuel out. Two plus two equals four, i.e. the best preventative measure is to prevent the physical removal of fuel from the tank. How does one do this? There are many contraptions on the market, some effective and many less effective, to address this. There are many considerations when fitting such a device, which shall be discussed in the next issue of ABR, but the key consideration when choosing a product is that it must not only deter, it must also enhance, and do the job properly.
“Electronic fuel management systems have been introduced, and monitoring techniques have got so smart that many fleet control centres can tell when a truck has stopped, where it has stopped, and for how long it has stopped.”
Séan Jackson will be back with his tough love next issue.
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. There are over 123,000 professionals working in over 140 countries worldwide.
From Private Jets to Hybrid Cars – is this enough to secure a bailout for US automakers?
About the author: Daniel Malan is the KPMG Special Advisor on Ethics and Governance and Head of the Unit for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. The views and opinions of the author do not necessary reflect those of KPMG or the University of Stellenbosch Business School. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
High costs and weak sales are threatening the survival of the three major US automakers. General Motors, Chrysler and Ford have made it clear that they cannot survive without assistance from government. And with the recent $700 billion bailout of financial institutions it might seem like a reasonable thing to do. The CEOs of the three corporations have asked Capitol Hill for billions of dollars in loans to prevent them from filing for bankruptcy. But many voices of protest have gone up, and The Economist has stated categorically that a bailout will be a mistake. After an initial request for $25 billion, the US Congress sent all three corporations back to do some homework, and revised plans were submitted on December 2nd.
here were many things to consider with the development of such new plans, not least of all the need to get rid of the arrogance and big spender mentality that probably contributed to the difficult position these corporations are in at the moment. A couple of months ago, all three CEOs travelled to Washington in private jets (estimated cost: $20 000 per round trip per CEO) to request tax payers’ money to bail them out. Next time round the CEO’s of both Ford and General Motors travelled to Washington in their respective companies’ hybrid cars to submit their revised plans. This is a far cry from Bob Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, who shared a few pearls of wisdom with journalists during a lunch earlier last year. According to him, hybrid cars like those manufactured by Toyota does not make economic sense, global warming is a “crock of s**t” and finally his view then was that the best car dealers will thrive even in a sluggish economy. “They’ve got to isolate themselves from the economic forecasts,” Lutz said, “and say, ‘I make my own prosperity.’ ”The message that is now coming from the big three corporations is that they need the bailout to help them to innovate and thrive in future. This has not convinced three times winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, Thomas Friedman, who wrote in the New York Times: “We have to subsidise Detroit so that it will innovate? What
business were you people in other than innovation? If we give you another $25 billion, will you also do accounting?” What caused the problems in the industry? Friedman blames an un-innovative business culture, visionless management and overly generous labour contracts. But perhaps the real issue at stake here is the unethical, greedy and unsustainable business practices that still characterise large parts of many multinational corporations. That rings a bell, doesn’t it? When we think back to the collapse of Enron and its aftermath we are reminded that more regulation is not the solution. Many people argue that the SarbanesOxley Act distracted companies from getting back to basic, sound business practices in a post-Enron world. This problem is demonstrated clearly by the following “frequently asked question” from the SEC web site: “An issuer is filing a Form 10-K report after August 29, 2002, the date Rules 13a-14, 13a-15, 15d-14 and 15d-15 became effective, for a period ending prior to the effective date. Section V of Release No. 33-8124 provides that the certification required to be included with the report need contain only the statements set forth in paragraphs (b)(1), (2) and (3) of Exchange Act Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14. However, the instructions to Forms 10-Q, 10-QSB, 10-K, 10-KSB, 20-F and 40-F indicate that the required certification must be in
the exact form set forth in the report. Must a certification filed during the transition period for a period ended before August 29th include the statements set forth in paragraphs (b)(4), (5) and (6) of Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14?” So, if regulation is not the solution, what about a bailout? A bailout also cannot provide a long term solution. In 1979 Chrysler was given a $1.2 billion loan by the US Congress when they were struggling to survive in the midst of the oil crisis. The fact that the company repaid these loans and survived until today is used by some to argue in favour of another bailout. But others disagree – in an upcoming book entitled “Bailout Nation”, Barry Ritholtz, owner of a New York based equity research firm argues that the bailout actually helped cause the decline of the auto industry. A refusal to bail out Chrysler in the 1970’s would have caused introspection at all the major automakers, he argues, and helped them to focus on smaller, fuel-efficient cars and manufacturing quality. Of course, the other problem with a bailout strategy is not unlike the problems associated with paying ransom (or paying bribes, for that matter). If you assist the automakers themselves, why not their first-tier suppliers, who are most certainly also suffering at the moment. And what about the retail industry that will have to survive until consumers can afford to spend again?
A special case can still be made out for financial institutions, because they are so integrated with the entire socio-economic system and the good institutions were just as threatened as the bad ones when people started to lose faith in the system. But if an automaker or a retailer fails as a business, there will always be investors waiting in the wings who will see an opportunity. The choice is not an easy one. According to Prof. Ollie Williams, business ethics professor at Notre Dame University, the ripple effect of the current crisis on millions of Americans is something that the country cannot afford at the moment: “There is no question that the industry itself has been poorly managed, and we can expect major changes in management in the short term. In many ways this is a “teachable moment”, a wake-up call for US business. We must change our ways! But we must also do the bail-out”. Although the details of the revised plans are still a bit sketchy and will only be debated in the US congress later this week, the basic plans seem to be in order – the CEOs have agreed to reduce their salaries to $1 a year, workers will accept lower wages as well, there will be redundancies and reductions in brands, and a very strong emphasis on innovation and fuel efficiency. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, has made it clear that bankruptcy is not an option because it will take too long and everybody will be disadvantaged by such a process. At a news conference on December 2nd, she indicated her support for some form of a rescue package as long as the emphasis is on long term viability of the industry, accountability to tax payers and innovation. From a South African perspective, it is important to note that the local manufacturers of these three companies seem to be well managed and profitable, and therefore not in need of a bailout. They are therefore likely to continue even if their parent shareholder should change in future. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Anglo American recently suggested that mining companies should use the global slowdown to pause and plan carefully in order to be ready when the economy picks up again. Perhaps automakers should do the same. And whether it will be through bankruptcy or conditions attached to a bailout, we are likely to see a few less gas guzzlers on the road in future.
puzzle on p11
Mickey Mouse shows less Interest
by Tony Twine, Senior Economist, Director – Econometrix (Pty) Ltd
The South African Reserve Bank faces considerable challenges in steering the ship of monetary policy through deeply troubled international financial waters, not to mention a very noisy domestic surf line during 2009. The pressures pushing and pulling the policy makers against any given policy scenario regarding interest rates currently both look compelling and only time will tell how a host of corroborating factors influencing the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decisions will stack up to drive the scenario in one of two particular directions.
he one thing that does appear reasonably certain, is that money market interest rates will be lower at the end of 2009 than they were immediately before the first cut in rates which came through in December 2008, ending a 30 month upswing in rates which began back in June 2006. Where opinions begin to diverge amongst analysts and economists is about how rapid the rate of decline might be and what the lowest point for the year might be for key lending rates, such as prime overdraft rate which drives a host of linked lending rates. Having sniffed blood in the water at the time of the December rate cut, there are many players in the credit market who either believe, or at least want the rest of us to believe that interest rates will tumble during the first half of 2009, alongside rapidly retreating levels of consumer price index inflation. Falling petrol prices, food price increases that are shedding momentum, and the new weightings for the consumer price index basket to be introduced in January 2009, all point to a sudden sharp decrease in the inflation rate, and add grist to the mill of the inflation doves who are anticipating a steep tumble in rates during the first half of the year. A fall in the targeted inflation aggregate would certainly be a necessary, but perhaps not a sufficient condition for a dramatic relaxation of monetary policy early in 2009. Another argument in favour of a tumble in rates is that the performance of the real sector of the domestic economy is under severe downward pressure, and could only be helped by lower lending rates. While the latter argument is true, SARB Governors dating back to Bob de Jongh in the 1970’s have been at pains to point out that their mandates do not include any responsibility for the per-
formance of the real side of the economy, only price stability. It must be remembered that interest rates are a rather blunt instrument in the hands of monetary policy makers, rather than laser sharp scalpels. Two decades of Mickey Mouse monetary policy management from 1970 onwards, simply led to stop-start, boom-bust 18 month from trough to peak cycles around a steadily declining real economic growth rate. The Mboweni governance team at the SARB has, so far, been at pains to avoid repeating this process and is unlikely to be spooked into rash action at this particular stage. Mickey Mouse monetary regulation policies helped get the developed economies of the world into the problems which now confront them, and that same rodent is now being asked to lead those economies Pied-Piper-like out of the ruins of their respective financial sectors. The alternative scenario is that interest rates could decline at a slower pace during the course of 2009, driven by the necessity to maintain the high yield status of the SA economy and to offset the lack of willingness of foreigners to hold Rand-based assets in International payments environment which was already parlous a year ago and has only deteriorated. If foreign economies do not buy our exports because of their own cyclical problems, we are going to have to borrow from them to continue the imports necessary for the politically desirable infrastructural investment boom to which SA is already committed. Otherwise the exchange rate of the Rand could take the full force of increasing local demand and imports later in the year, combined with diminishing international capital influence. How the MPC of the SARB will weigh the opportunities and threats during the course of the year remains to be seen. The quick cut scenario could bring prime down to 12% by mid-year, and perhaps as low as 10% by year-end. The moderate cut scenario could reduce the level of improvement in the price of credit to 13.5% by mid-2009, and around 12% by year-end. But the quick-cut scenario brings with it a heightened risk of rekindling inflation because of higher exchange rate risks. The most susceptible would be imported durable goods like household white goods and motor vehicles and the things that go into them like food and fuel. The price of credit, the interest rate, may be the beginning of the story, but it is certainly not the end.
A sporting heart still beats
by Adrian Burford
It’s hard to believe that once upon a time South Africa was Alfa Romeo’s biggest market outside Italy, with their own plant, nearly 60 dealers, and a reputation for being genuinely sporty with an expansive range that appealed to enthusiasts of all ages across a reasonably broad income spectrum. In 1975, for example, they were selling about 2 250 Alfasuds a year in SA and in 1982 they sold nearly 7 500 Giuliettas. In addition, they had the giant-killing six cylinder GTVs and the Alfa 6, which was pitched right into BMW 5-series territory. Even by the end of 1984, with the parent company in serious financial trouble and incorporation into Fiat looming on the horizon, they had sold 2 344 Alfa 33s locally. Ironically, Alfa Romeo was also manufacturing the Daihatsu Charade at their Brits plant, pumping nearly 4 500 into the market in both 1983 and 1984.
t the moment, they’re lucky to get into double figures – which means the 20-odd dealers (according to their website) can’t be happy. Ironically, an intro on the site proclaims that Beauty is Not Enough and that is oh-so true...the current Alfa Romeo line-up is arguably as eye-catching as it is ever been; from the sleek 159 to the striking Brera and GT. Even the 147, despite getting on more than a bit, is still easy on the eye and not a bad drive. Yet they’re not selling.
concentrated on military hardware previously. A year later the company was renamed Alfa Romeo. By 1931 the company was bankrupt and was rescued by the Italian government, a change which saw increasingly lavish machines being built. This all changed in the austere post-war years, when the focus moved to more affordable cars. The first two years of the Formula One world championship, 1950 and 1951, were won by Alfa Romeo Alfettas (Guiseppe Farina and then Juan Manuel Fangio), but the brand has never won again. In fact, the brand’s international motorsport successes more or less ended more than half a century ago, yet Alfa Romeo is still arguably the most overtly sporty mass market brand in the world. Through the 50s with the original Guiletta, the 60s with the Guilia Sprint and the 70s with the GTVs (most powered by the brand’s legendary twin cam powerplant) they continued to make some of the best-looking road cars, with the handling characteristics and driver involvement to match. And while pricing was unashamedly premium, it was all deemed to be worth it. That’s what keen drivers are hoping they’ll find in the MiTo, due for local introduction early this year, probably somewhere near the R200 000 mark for the entry model. Punted as “a distillate of pure Alfa Romeo values”, this next small Alfa (at four metres from bumper to bumper it represents something of a return to the classics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s) is “made up of sensual style, agility and technical excellence – all with the ultimate goal of driving satisfaction.” Only time will tell if there’s truth behind the hype and whether the MiTo is ultimately capable of rekindling South Africa’s love affair with Alfa Romeo. To quote the company’s spin doctors once again: “The MiTo is a form of baptism into the Alfa religion for a new generation of Alfisti...”
They’re all overweight and overpriced but the main problem is that the local market is tougher than ever and consumers have got so much to choose from. Habits have also changed and it is debatable whether the buyers of the 70s and the early 80s – well-informed, enthusiasts who were genuinely ‘into’ cars – still exist. Now the flavours are Minis, Fiat 500s and Beetles, and they’re not necessarily being bought by people who care very much about cars: they’re buying fashion statements. And with Alfa having disappeared from the price lists for about a decade - 1985 until early 1996 (despite the efforts of a private importer a couple of years prior) – there were a number of missing links in the chain by the time Alfa imports started again thanks to the efforts of Nissan’s holding company, Automakers. In the middle of 1998 Fiat Auto South Africa, into which Alfa Romeo falls, was formed to handle importation and distribution of the two brands as well as overseeing the manufacture of various Fiat products at Nissan’s Rosslyn plant. The birth of Alfa Romeo goes something like this: a group of Italian investors and a Frenchman – Alexandre Darracq – set up Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 but one of the Italians – Ugo Stella – started Alfa (also an acronym) in 1909. By 1915 a Neapolitan businessman, Nicola Romeo, had taken over the company and started making cars again in 1919, having
The Tipping Point – a series of articles based on a paper presented to the SA Auto Strategies Conference in August 2008, presented by Klaus G. Langer of the Munich Advisory Group, and subsequent interviews with Klaus, who can be defined as a “Cultural Creative”
A l t e r n a t i v e
Klaus Langer, Partner at the Munich Advisors Group
F u e l s
In previous issues of ABR, Klaus Langer reflected on the automobile of the future, and the dynamics around the mobility needs of the consumer and its influence on design and development. In this issue, we ponder the situation around alternative fuels and its impact on the tipping point, which is being increasingly defined and driven by the “cultural creatives”.
he cultural creatives’ voice is increasingly being heard, and it looks like once again it is America’s turn to take the lead. Eight years of conservative leadership, which remained steadfastly behind the status quo, has meant that America has been behind the eight ball in the search for, and more importantly, the implementation of alternative fuel technologies, despite a crying need for this, and despite the strenuous efforts of progressive state governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.
These three gentlemen will play a major role in the next four years in beginning to implement the desires of the cultural creatives, and in establishing the new energy frontier
done. We know that the oil and coal industries will invest a lot to protect the status quo. They’ll lobby. They’ll advertise. They’ll scaremonger. The RePower America vision for clean energy, a prosperous economy, and a safe climate must be heard in Washington and across the nation.” Hear, hear Cathy, but let us rather make that “across the nation and across the world”, for this is not just an American problem, it is everyone on this planet’s problem. Okay, so we have identified the problem, and the new President of the leading nation has identified the problem. This is a good start, but the challenge remains immense. A century of easy and inexpensive access to fossil fuels, and a century of infrastructural development and support for the dispersal and use of this fossil fuel, together with a century of wasteful and thoughtless behaviour, has to reversed and reconstituted. It is, as Klaus puts it, as if we have to go ahead and fight a war on three fronts. The first front is the mindset front. Secondly, we have to tackle the enormous need for electricity and power generation, which still relies heavily on coal and diesel. We have to move from the conventional to the unconventional, focusing more on wind, solar, hydro, tide, even on nuclear (electrical) power generation, and we need to store this energy in a new generation of batteries. Thirdly, we need to find alternatives to the internal combustion engine, to allow for greater and cleaner mobility for the consumers of the future. We shall focus on this third front in the next Tipping Point article.
However, with the election of Barack Obama to the world’s most influential position, the playing fields have not only been levelled, they have been turned on their head! Suddenly, Al Gore is back in vogue, and his global warming warnings are being taken seriously by the guy at the top. Early in December 2008, Al Gore in his capacity as chairman of the WE Campaign, met with President-elect Obama to talk about solving the climate crisis, and the impact of the meeting was evident in Obama’s remarks after the meeting, “…we have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country, in all 50 states, to repower America, to redesign how we use energy, to think about how we are increasing efficiency, to make our economy stronger, make us more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and make us competitive for decades to come, even as we’re saving the planet.” As Cathy Zoi, CEO of RepowerAmerica.org and an ardent supporter of the WE Campaign, puts it in an e-mail to Klaus Langer, “This is fantastic progress. Our agenda is front-of-mind for the new leadership, but much remains to be
Grand Vitara 2.4 Manual
by Howard Keeg
In September 2008, I was privileged to attend the launch of Suzuki’s Grand Vitara and Jimny vehicles (see ABR October 2008), and thus when I received Suzuki’s press release early January 2009 celebrating their growing market share in 2008, I was not surprised.
he Japanese small car specialist, which entered the local market in June last year with a 20-strong dealer network and a R140-million investment in infrastructure and parts supply, currently commands a two percent share of the passenger car market, with just four model ranges (the Swift B-segment hatchback, the SX4 C-segment lifestyle hatchback, the Grand Vitara 4x4 SUV and the Jimny compact 4x4). Not unexpectedly, the most popular models were the Swift and the SX4, as these are mainly city vehicles, whereas the Grand Vitara and Jimny are more niche products. Kazuyuki Yamashita, managing director of Suzuki Auto SA, is appreciative of the performance, “Despite the overwhelmingly negative vehicle sales trend currently experienced in SA and globally, we are gratified by the performance of our Suzuki models locally”. He continues, “Suzuki is already well placed to take advantage of the growing demand for smaller, more efficient and more affordable vehicles. We will also be introducing the all-new Alto subcompact, which will bring the Suzuki motoring experience to an even wider audience.” Yamashita expects Suzuki’s growth to continue during 2009, bolstered by an increasingly prevalent buying-down trend, and the introduction of additional, exciting new Suzuki models. Suzuki’s successful formula is its ability to build solid vehicles with quality finishes at aggressive pricing. This was apparent in the week that I evaluated the Grand Vitara 2.4
Manual. Based on its launch price of R269 900, this “thoroughly modern, highly competent and technically advanced all-terrain” vehicle, with a 2,4 litre power plant utilising twin overhead camshafts and VVT variable valve timing (122kW @ 6 000rpm; 225Nm @ 4 000rpm), is indeed very good value for money. With me being the consummate city slicker, I did not have the opportunity to put this willing steed through its 4x4 paces, but I did not need to, as during the launch in September, we experienced the Grand Vitara’s terrific off-road skills. With the car in my hands for a week, I now had the time to leisurely savour its urban and highway skills. It handled its urban duties with aplomb, and with the condition of some of Gauteng’s roads, even its off-road pedigree came into play during this assignment, which it passed with flying colours. It is comfortable, roomy, easy to drive, surprisingly manoeuvrable and reasonably speced, with all the mod-cons one expects today. I did miss the cruise control though, which is standard on its bigger 3,2 litre brother. And it is definitely not thirsty. During a short run to Rustenburg, I managed to achieve 8,1 litres per 100km in relatively light traffic and at the legal speed limit, which for such a relatively heavy vehicle, is good going indeed. I could go on and on, but for those who want to know the finer details, this can be found at www.suzukiauto.co.za
THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF UNRESOLVED PROBLEMS
by Frank Beeton The 2007/08 annual report of South Africa’s National Department of Transport is an imposing document, made up of 219 pages. It contains more than its fair share of typical political inexactitudes, but, lurking in the section titled “Strategic Objectives” are a number of clauses which suggest that this is, indeed, the government department that holds the ultimate responsibility for strategy and regulation relating to all forms of transportation in South Africa. While it is obvious that much of the day-to-day management of air, rail, maritime and road transport is executed by other structures, such as the Provinces, Transnet and Local Authorities, it seems that the DoT has the mandate to ensure that transportation in South Africa works to the benefit of the country and its citizens.
f this position is accepted, then Houston, we have some problems. Looking at the situation from the perspective of the manin-the-street, rather than the rarified air of lofty political idealism, there are a number of key areas in which national transportation policy is clearly not working, and demanding the Department’s serious attention. Consider these:
More than ten years ago, amid much fanfare, this Department initiated the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme. To-day, we still have daily evidence that significant elements of the taxi industry are out of control, and a danger to themselves, and the community they are supposed to serve. The handing out of vast sums of “recapitalization” funds has achieved little more than the appearance of some new taxis, many of which are Chinese, and not the type of vehicle originally envisaged in the TRP at all. The reason is simple: Too much emphasis has been placed on writing screeds of constantly changing vehicle specifications, many of which were rejected outright by the taxi community on justifiable grounds of cost, while not enough effort was expended on getting taxi owners and drivers committed to a road-legal and safe service. After years of “coaxing”, elements in the taxi community still regularly take on central and local government structures, and argue vehemently against the need for important public transport initiatives such as Bus Rapid Transit systems. The Department needs to sit down immediately with the Taxi industry leadership, and get their unconditional buy-in to legal operation, and intermodal co-operation, so that they can provide a real service to the country. The reports, in December, 2008, that the Department of Transport was reneging on its contractural obligation to pay bus operators the subsidies to which they were legally entitled, because of inadequate government funding, added yet another item to the long list of obstacles with which have continuously confronted this public transport mode since 1994. These include the interminable to-and-fro negotiations delaying the final implementation of the “tender-for-routes” system, continuous delays in providing operators with anything other than extremely short-term authority to operate, and the systematic removal of vital skills from the industry in the name of Black Economic Empowerment. The result has been an extremely difficult business environment in which operators could not adequately plan their businesses, or justify financing fleet acquisitions. Of course, the taxi community was more than happy to fill any gaps left by disadvantaged bus operators! The Department needs to recognize the important role that buses must play in the provision of public transport, adopt a more positive attitude to bus operators, whatever their background, and ensure that the few skilled people still remaining in the industry stay put. Despite the regular publishing of strategic documents promising the imminent return of rail transport as a significant contributor to the national freight transport task, the reality is that more and more of this burden has been taken on by private sector road carriers. Transnet Freight Rail has experienced enough difficulty in
satisfying its clients on the single-purpose Richards Bay coal export line, so the chances of it providing an efficient, reliable and cost-effective service on a highly diverse, and extremely busy corridor such as Durban-Johannesburg is open to question. The resulting pressure has caused the national road infrastructure, once a source of pride to the country, to deteriorate at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the most important trunk routes have been protected by privately-operated tollroad concessions, but there are a number of important national arteries that have become extremely hazardous. This has been a contributory factor to an unacceptably high national incidence of serious and very expensive accidents involving heavy-duty goods and passenger vehicles, exacerbated by excessively long driving hours, substance/alcohol abuse and rank bad driving. The Department needs to urgently finalise long-overdue legislation limiting driving hours, and ensure that enforcement cracks down on driver malpractice, and discontinues the much-reported bribery option. It must also promote public-private partnerships which can endow Transnet with the management skills necessary to become a real force in line-haul freight transportation. There will be very little argument against multi-modalism from the private sector if the policy brings concomitant benefits of cost-efficiency and reduced pressure on the national road network. • We have heard much about the reduction in road accident fatalities recorded over the 2008 Festive Season. To its credit, the Department of Transport has resisted the temptation to celebrate the death of “only” 885 people too loudly, but to rather point out that much still remains to be done. The problem is that this year-on-year reduction of 42% may have reflected reduced traffic levels, but was certainly achieved by increased enforcement and police intervention, and not by a long-term transformation of driver attitudes. SA motorists’ favourite game of “spot the cop” will therefore resume as soon as the men in uniform take their delayed vacations. The Department needs to develop a comprehensive programme of media-based information, with support from community icons, to encourage good driving practice. This should avoid sensationalist “shock-horror” material, but rather educate through building the public’s understanding of speed, vehicle roadworthiness, seat belt usage, road signs, etc. They should also get the traffic police out from behind their speed traps and bushes, to interact positively and educationally with the driving public.
The failure, on non-existence, of effective legislation to deal with these, and other problems suggests that the Department of Transport may be spending too much time walking the corridors of power, and not enough out on the streets. Setting lofty-sounding strategic direction is all very well, but it can take a very long time before this translates into meaningful action, and it sometimes seems to just evaporate without trace. These problems are not new, but worsening daily, and demand some urgent and meaningful action from the current minister, if he, too, is not to be relegated to the same historic scrapheap as a number of his ineffective predecessors.
Getting a Grip on Tools
Still wondering what to do with that silver fondue set you inherited from your grandparents? And what about those flying ducks that your mother has promised you? Don’t fret, just go with the flow, but make sure that you do not repeat these heritable aberrations, and that your heirs inherit something of value, and that they remember your wake with fond feelings. What better than a set of quality hand tools with a lifetime warranty, which shall ensure that future generations shall also benefit.
Aslam Mia wants you to tool up for a lifetime of usability – here he stands in front of a tool set developed specifically for the SA market
The AmPro stand at the AAPEX Show in Las Vegas in November 2008, signifying AmPro’s global presence
he problem is that top of the range tools can cost an arm and a leg, and to collect a full set could require a second mortgage. Fortunately, help is at hand, in the form of AmPro, a comprehensive range of value for money hand tools for both the professional and D.I.Y. handyman. Core categories include socket sets and accessories, spanners, screwdrivers, pliers, pneumatic tools & specialty tools (e.g. coil spring compressors, pry bars, compression testers, and much more), as well as tool chests. This is a world class quality range of tools, and the big plus is that it carries a lifetime warranty.
international brands” says Aslam Mia, AutoZone’s National Buyer of AmPro. Aslam explained to ABR that whilst AmPro has been in the South African market for over ten years, “it took time to gain traction, which was only gained in 2003 when AutoZone decided to place a high priority on tool sets, and to expand the range significantly.” These steps bore fruit, and AmPro now has a strong market presence, offering value for money, quality, and a lifetime guarantee on each individual part. This confidence in the product, which is extremely rare in the industry, has really put AmPro on the map. With this momentum, market share is growing, and Aslam Mia promises even bigger things in the future, driven by an ever improving range, catering for the smallest tool to heavy duty mining sets. If there is a demand, AutoZone will source the product. Aslam confirms that specialty tools for specific models are being developed. “Watch this space” is his watchword, when referring to range improvements and special deals. Even though the “killer deals” offered in AutoZone’s Christmas 2008 promotion (e.g. 69 piece three tier cantilever tool kit for an insane R1399.95) have expired, Aslam says that these types of deals will always happen, via monthly and seasonal specials. Go to www.autozone.co.za to sign up for promotion notification, or watch out for the AutoZone leaflets in your local knock ‘n drop newspapers.
AutoZone is the South African distributor of AmPro, and AutoZone’s extensive footprint in the country means that these world class tools are readily available for the diverse spectrum of tool users in South Africa. The secret behind Ampro’s success is its dynamic founder, Scott Wang, who has his finger on the pulse of global tool trends, and he is continually travelling, looking for pockets of excellence and sourcing globally. The good news is that even though his biggest market is America, he is not too big to develop tool kits for the South African market; specified by AutoZone, and made up specifically for the domestic market. This ability to think globally, and act locally, has made AmPro a highly respected brand and a world leader in tools, with a reputation for a comprehensive range of innovative products. “This product stands back for nothing and measures up to the top
Are you a non-conformist? Do you spend a lot of time on the road? Do you understand technology and appreciate technological design? Most importantly, do you know who you are and have absolutely nothing to prove? If you answered yes to these questions, then you owe it to yourself to test ride the crème de la crème of sport motorcycles, the Buell. Borrowing from Buell’s marketing blurb, their bikes look like nothing ever built before, and feel like nothing ever ridden before, but you wouldn’t be a true biker if you simply took their word for it. They say that you have to experience the difference for yourself and to book a test ride all you have to do is to contact Peter Scott at email@example.com or 082 829 5457, and he will take care of the rest. If you’re based in Gauteng, why not pop in at Eagle Wind Harley-Davidson at 167 Rivonia Road, Sandton, and Peter will be delighted to personally show you what you’ve been missing.
eter Scott is a motorcycle enthusiast who loves a riding, and he appreciates anything on two wheels that gets his adrenaline flowing. Peter has been riding bikes every day for as long as he can remember, but admits that for the past four to five years it has normally been a Buell, simply because it is “as much fun as you can have with your leathers on” and as they say at Buell’s headquarters in East Troy, Wisconsin, “Once you’re into a Buell, you’ll never go back”. As Buell fans are usually fanatics, don’t take their word for it. Find out for yourself, or ask Harley-Davidson. The hogmaker also agrees, having bought 49% of the company in 1993, and going the full hog ten years later and taking 100% of the shares in 2003. The rationale from Harley’s point of view was to attract a younger demographic, as opposed to the Harley greybeards, but there is more to it than that. Peter says that Erik Buell, the 58 year old founder and chairman of Buell Motorcycles, is one of today’s foremost bike designers, if not the foremost designer. The reason is simple – Buell puts the rider first, and this is the focal point in design; the bike must be fun to ride, and work functionally. Ask any Buell aficionado and they will tell you that the secret is in the Trilogy of Technology: 1. Mass centralisation – the heavy components are centralised in the core of the bike, creating incredible stability. Examples: the fuel is in the frame, the exhaust is underneath the bike. 2. Low unsprung mass – the mantra at Buell is to keep the weight down and every gram counts. “I want every part to do at least two jobs” says Erik Buell. Innovations such as aluminium pulleys and belt drive contribute to this weight reduction, creating a bike that can handle bumpy roads, which makes it relatively unique in the high performance genre. 3. Chassis rigidity – A uniplanar system (rubber mounted system which moves the engine in one plane) allows for a rigid chassis and no flex in the corners, leading to Buell’s proprietary slogan, “Own the corners”. Peter Scott with the Buell XB12X Ulysses.
Buell’s trilogy of technology innovations are now being copied by super bike designers; the highest compliment it can receive. More on Crème Bûéll in future issues of ABR.
Q & A With Henri Meistre
INTERVIEW WITH HENRI MEISTRE, MD OF GREAT WALL MOTORS IN SOUTH AFRICA
by Roger McCleery
South Africa is full of good motor men and GWM (Great Wall Motors) could not have made a better choice than appointing the experienced all-rounder, Henri Meistre (43) as the MD of the company at a time when the Chinese Motor Manufacturers are starting to get a foothold in South Africa, and in fact around the world. Roger McCleery spoke to the man in question, Henri Meistre.
1. What school did you go to? Northcliff High School. 2. What sports did you play at school? Swimming (his favourite), athletics and rugby. 3. What did you want to do at school? Be involved with cars and motoring. 4. What were your favourite cars at the time? The cars that were all the rage at the time, thanks to group 1 motor racing at Kyalami were: Alfa Romeo GT5 2.5 & 3.0 V6s and Ford XR6 5. What did you do after school? Studied for Psychology B.Com in Industrial even went national championship rallying (one of Billy’s loves) and racing to give a Korean Car, Hyundai, wins over Honda who were unbeatable class winners at the time. It was a 7 days a week job. We even serviced customer cars on Saturday and Sunday. I learned the wholesale and retail motor industry from Rautenbach and Hyundai. Also met Teresita van Gaalen, who was doing the PR for Billy and saw how to get lots of publicity. 11. What else did you do at Hyundai? Went to Botswana and ran the retail operation there for 6 months. 12. When was your next move? In 1994 I opened and ran the successful Randburg branch of Hyundai (opposite M-Net). We had 21 sales people. We used to sell 200 cars on average per month and averaged 185 p.m. for the year. 13. And then? Was made the marketing manager for Hyundai for South Africa and also ran the motor sport. It was an exciting time. 14. Another change of employer? Yes – I began my own retail company, Auto Capital Investments, with franchises locally represented by those two other dyed-in-the-wool motor men, Manny da Canha and Ray Levine, who were the main movers. They specialised in retail motor dealers. We had all the brands in the lineup. Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Daihatsu, Daewoo and Citroen. 15. Did you ever think of going overseas It crossed my mind. I had an offer from a motor group in Dubai with the Honda, Volvo and Chrysler franchises. But South Africa is where I want to stay. 16. 2005 – Change of life once again? Tony Pinfold, chairman of GWM in South Africa, approached me to get in on the ground floor and assist him with his new company as MD. As the biggest manufacturer of Chinese tough one-tonners, it looked the way to go, particularly as their quality was good and they were making big inroads into export markets around the
world. They have big plans and it all presents a great challenge. 17. Has it been successful? Very. We are also feeling the effects of the world depression on the auto industry, but are well placed with our prices, improved quality and increasing range that is soon to include cars as well. 18. Married? To Adele for 11 years. Have two sons – Trent and Remy. 19. Do you have time to spend with them? Yes – we like to go off-roading on motorcycles. I have a Honda CRF 250 and the boys each have a Honda 80. 20. Still want to achieve what? To continue to get GWM expanding with great customer service and even better value for money. 21. You are still young but what would you like to do when you retire? I could never retire completely. I would like to travel more. Adele is another one of the Springbok shopping captains who likes the south of Italy and France. 22. Greatest influence in your life? My dad – the world’s greatest gentleman. Billy Rautenbach was a visionary and big thinker in the motor industry with lots of energy. All recipes for success.
6. After getting your degree? Went overseas to a ski resort in Austria, as resort manager and learned to talk German. 7. Did you meet interesting people at the ski resort? Yes. Neville Nightingale, the MD of Wesbank and his general manager at the time, Ronnie Watson. We also spoke about cars and financing of the same. Neville’s wife had a personnel agency and she spoke me into coming back to RSA to work for Wesbank. 8. First real job? Senior business development officer at Wesbank city branch. Worked there for a year and picked up lots of experience but could see I wanted to work in the motor industry itself. 9. ‘91 changed the direction of your life? Yes. I was made an offer to start selling used cars at Mercurius Motors in Boksburg. The dealership was bought out by Imperial Motors. 10. What did you do next? I was approached by Billy Rautenbach who brought Hyundai into South Africa. This was one of the best times of my life. Billy and Hyundai were on fire. We grew the number of dealerships and sales and
Diamond Editorial Partnership
In this series of articles ABR discusses with Giel Steyn of Grandmark International the four significant factors that should be taken into account when purchasing automotive parts - Technology, Quality, Safety and Value for Money. These four characteristics are inter-related, and each cannot stand on their own, and together they become a motorist's best friend. Similarly, diamonds are also judged on four characteristics, known as the “four c's” - carat, clarity, colour and cut; and of course, diamonds are a girl's best friend. Grandmark International, as a distributor of automotive parts, is keenly aware of the need to source only the best in Technology, Quality, Safety and Value for Money, and therefore it is appropriate that this series of articles is titled Diamond Dialogues.
The Anti-Freeze Debate Heats Up
The longstanding confusion around the use of anti-freeze in vehicles’ coolant systems in South Africa continues to confound Giel Steyn. Despite extensive education campaigns from various sources, and an overwhelming body of knowledge available from training institutions, the internet and other channels, the misconceptions around the properties and uses of anti-freeze has Giel shaking his head, and if he was a more demonstrative person, we would not be surprised to see his blood boiling.
he genesis of Giel’s passion around this subject hinges on the four dynamics of the diamond dialogues – technology, quality, safety and value for money. Anti-freeze is a relatively inexpensive “commodity” which can be found on the front-of-store shelves of all automotive parts retailers, and even on the shelves of general merchandise stores, and yet it plays an important and integral part in the protection and good maintenance of a vehicle’s cooling system, and taking this logic a little further and taking the bigger picture into account, its role expands to being a protector of engine components. The implications of not using this additive properly are huge, and Giel attributes the confusion around the properties and uses of this unheralded preservative to the use of the word “anti-freeze”. The mere mention of the term anti-freeze evokes the wrong perception, as thoughts of Iceland and Alaska immediately come to mind, whereas antifreeze is far more than a protection against the water in your radiator freezing up. To be more semantically correct, in hot and dry conditions such as South Africa, the term should rather be “anti-boil”, or the rather more descriptive, but oxymoronic at the same time, “anti-freeze and anti-boil”, because a good quality coolant has both anti-freeze and anti-boil properties. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, Giel believes that a better all-encompassing term would be “anti-seize” as in the long run this additive both lubricates and prevents corrosion of cooling systems, and what is the primary purpose of a cooling system other than to prevent the overheating of the engine and its components? Neglect this function and you have seizure of said engine! Whatever, we are saddled with anti-freeze, which has stubbornly resisted change, and we will have to live with this terminology until hell freezes over. For the purposes of this article, the best we can do is to reemphasise the all-round nature of the prod-
uct and its versatility when considering the four elements of the diamond dialogues:
The modern internal combustion engine runs at far higher temperatures than its predecessors, with a variety of metals and materials exposed to this intense heat. Iron, steel, aluminium, brass, plastics, rubber, etc. are also vulnerable to corrosion, so they need all the help they can get. Thus it is imperative that the vehicle’s cooling system not only plays a cooling role, but also an anti-corrosion role, and this is where the anti-freeze additive fulfils its important function. The vital element in anti-freeze is mono-ethylene glycol, and a good coolant will always have at least a 30% glycol content, and not more than 50%. This can be easily measured by a hydrometer, which any self-respecting workshop will have readily available. Read more on this on many sites on the internet – just google it!
ing concept. It does not relate to just accident prevention. It also relates significantly to the fact that when a car breaks down, the driver and passengers are in mortal danger of being attacked by their fellow citizens. An unfortunate situation, but it cannot just be wished away. Therefore it is incumbent on the car’s owner to ensure that the car is fully roadworthy, and that the engine will not grind to a halt on some lonely stretch of road simply because of the use of some cheap and nasty anti-freeze. Life is far more precious than a saving of a few Rands.
Value for Money
This brings us to the fourth element of the diamond dialogues – value for money. Value can only be appreciated when a product does its job, and true value can only be appreciated when a product truly does its job. This is as true for anti-freeze as it is for brake pads as it is for radiators. This is a huge philosophical and existential debate, and we simply do not have the space to even touch base on the basic arguments, so we’ll leave it there, suffice to repeat “What is the value of your life, compared to the saving of a few Rands?” Goedkoop can turn out to be very duurkoop, just because you bought some coloured water instead of the genuine article. We end this article with an acknowledgement to Grandmark International. They have gone out of their way to provide their customers with technologically sound, quality product that meets and exceeds the safety requirements, whilst also providing genuine value for money. Plexus radiators are a case in point. If you fit Grandmark sourced Plexus radiators, don’t go and spoil the diamond dynamics by buying below par anti-freeze. Take the trouble to procure the best, to go with the best.
Confusion also abounds when trying to evaluate the quality of anti-freeze. The colour of anti-freeze is irrelevant, and yet many “pundits” will base their quality evaluation on the colour. Colour does indicate certain properties, such as the addition of fluorescent colours to assist in leak detection, and red could indicate the presence of phosphate, which may be helpful, as phosphates and mono-ethylene glycol are incompatible. But these are just maybes, and cannot be used as a quality gauge – leave the evaluation to the tried and tested hydrometer, or to the obvious guide of price. If the price is too good to be true, then it is too good to be true anti-freeze.
It needs repeating. In crime ridden South Africa, automotive safety is an all-encompass-
Capricorn’s Purple Patch Continues
The Capricorn Society’s Annual Bash continues its unabated growth. The Durban bash on 22nd November 2008 attracted 350 guests, and on 29th November 2008 the Gauteng function moved from the upper halls at Emperors Palace and Convention Centre, down to the more cavernous Centre Court, with over 560 guests partying the night away after the customary annual update, which once again indicates that the society continues its stellar growth, even in the challenging times that 2008 had brought to the automotive industry. The way things are going; don’t be surprised that in a few years time there will be an annual migration to a large resort such as Sun City, to accommodate the vast numbers which are surely going to come.
The ancillary trade show attracted a lot of interest, with a diverse mix of exhibitors. Federal-Mogul Aftermarket, as the key sponsor of the event, was well represented in personnel. By sponsoring the wine, Midas ensured that the conversation flowed.
Eight suppliers joined the Million Rand Club: BASF Pretoria; Barloworld City Jhb; Gearmax; Hatfield Auto; Menlyn Auto; N1 4x4; Shell SA; Unnic Auto Parts. Some of the winners are seen with Capricorn’s big hitters: David Fraser, Group Sales and Marketing Manager; Trent Bartlett, CEO; Russell Green, Chairman; Rob Mildenhall, Development Manager, RSA.
BR attended the Gauteng function, and judging by the eclectic mix of stands at the conjoined trade show it is clear that Capricorn has indeed found the right balance of co-operative endeavours, with OEMs, franchise dealers, aftermarket manufacturers and purveyors cheek by jowl and happily interacting with the assembled throng. This indicates a new trend in South Africa and it is clear that the Capricorn Society model truly embodies the co-operative spirit. The success of this formula comes through in the figures, with growth now the expected norm, and who would have thought back in 1974 when 12 wise men founded the organisation in Perth, Western Australia, that in June 2008 the membership would have grown to 12 107 from Auckland to Cape Town. In 2008, laatlammetjie South Africa predictably led the growth curve, with 25% growth in turnover, closely followed by New Zealand with 22% growth, and Australia still managing 15% growth 34 years after the establishment of the society. South Africa is reeling in its southern neighbours slowly but surely, but it still has a long way to go before it can take the championship trophy. One of the challenges facing South Africa is sustainability. In Trent Bartlett’s keynote address, he alluded to the problem of fiscal discipline, particularly with regard to the timeous payment of accounts. A sustainable business model for a co-operative depends on at least 95% of the members paying on time, and this is being achieved by both Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, South Africa is not emulating its cricketing heroes, and thus the Society has been forced to tighten up its criteA purple fantasia at the tables ria for membership, a move that has been welcomed by the South has become something of a African founder members, who wish to see the errant members step up tradition. Capricorn once again to the plate in this regard.
did not disappoint.
To join Capricorn Society Limited call Rob Mildenhall on 083 654 2094 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website on www.capricorn.com.au 44
Keeping Inflation at Bay
2008 was a particularly tough year for South African consumers. Inflation touched 10%, the petrol price went over R13 a litre, food prices soared, credit was difficult to get, and when you got it, the interest rate made you wish that you hadn’t got it. Add to this the other frustrations; electricity supply was intermittent, water quality scares abounded, political uncertainty kept the investors away, the list goes on and on. The good news is that we survived, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, but we survived. More good news is that we enter the new year with a petrol price that is 40% below its 2008 peak, and the expectation that food prices are going to come down, and inflation, if not tamed, will come back to the targeted three to six percent range by the end of 2009. The interest rate cycle has entered a downward phase, so all in all, it’s looking far better than a mere three months ago, so let’s hold thumbs. To avoid putting the mockers on all this, we won’t mention Eskom.
companies, amongst others. ABR has done hat can we, as consumers, learn some research on this, and unlike other safefrom these experiences? Firstly, ty critical items such as brake pads, it appears that excess breeds wastefulness, that there is good control on windscreens and and that what goes round that very little “bad” product is getting into comes round. Secondly, that if we tighten our the country. Excuse the pun, but it does seem belts during the bad times, then what is stopthat the industry is transparent and clear, ping us continuing this good habit during the with no cracks or chips in its facade. Credit good times. If we do this, then we won’t have for this must go to the regulatory authorities the big ups and downs that we have recently and the industry itself. experienced. Thirdly, if we keep looking for value for money, it is good for the consumer A shining example of quality, conformity and and good for the country in the long term, value for money is Commercial Auto Glass since this will keep inflation at bay. Take (CAG), which opened the doors of its first motoring costs, for example. One needs only to Gilo da Silva branch in Selby, Johannesburg in 1999, and look at the AA mileage rates to realise how Managing Director, Commercial which has since expanded to a further 10 much it costs to keep a vehicle on the road, well Auto Glass branches in southern Africa. CAG is now maintained and in roadworthy condition. It is recognised as a reliable and preferred supplier an extremely expensive exercise, so it makes of automotive glass to the transport industry, and it also provides sense to always compare prices whenever you need a car part, to a service to the insurance market, which allows for versatility in ensure that you’re not being ripped off twice. The big dilemma, maintaining continuity within the glass industry, with the supply of course, is always “Am I not being sold a pig in the poke?” when of a specific range of products that meet with OEM standards confronted with a very good deal. The other problem is that and criteria laid down by the Motor Manufacturers and when comparing prices, one can never be sure from a product Insurance Committee. In addition, glass supplied by CAG meets perspective whether you’re comparing apples with apples. A good with the internationally recognised ISO9001, ISO9002, rule of thumb is to always ensure that you’re buying a well known ISO9003 and QSV9000 standards, and carry the “E” mark brand that has been around for quite some time; then to compare (European Specification) and the “DOT” mark (American prices on equivalent brands makes it pretty safe. Specification). Domestically, CAG has gone the extra mile, with The question is, does buying a low priced automotive part tame the assurance that all glass supplied is shatterproof, laminated, inflation? Considering the aforesaid, highly unlikely. The recent and high resistant as certified by the SABS. In addition, CAG influx of cheap imported product has placed a stain on anything also offers safe and secure SABS approved fitment centres with coming in from the Far East, and in many cases this reputation comfortable waiting rooms for the customers’ convenience. As an is well deserved, which is unfortunate, as you do get good qualiadded bonus, if you are not in a position to visit these fitment ty product coming in from the East, and at good prices. The centres, CAG will come to you! secret is to know what is good and what is bad. With some prodNow for the best part. CAG has extremely competitive prices, uct, it is practically impossible for the consumer to know, as he which begs the question why locally sourced glass is so much or she does not possess the equipment or knowledge to evaluate more expensive. This is a classic example of global trade been the product. But there are products where you can feel very very, very good. Who says that you can’t lick inflation? More secure in your purchase. Automotive glass is a very good exampower to CAG’s elbow, and may we see many other examples of ple. Being a safety critical item, and a highly visible product, high quality product at realistic prices in the future. imported windscreens and side glass are subjected to intense scrutiny by various bodies – the SABS, the NRCS, and insurance
A Perfectly Frank View
Francesco (Frank) Rovelli senior has been involved with Delco-Remy in one way or another for 59 years, from Saudi Arabia to South Africa, and from the mining industry to the automotive industry. His Delco-Remy roots has meant a close association with General Motors, representing them in Delco-Remy product over these past six decades. Frank emigrated to South Africa in 1956, and founded Probe Corporation SA in 1963. Probe opened its doors in 22 Jeppe Street, Johannesburg, handling GM’s electrical warranty and technical back-up for Southern Africa, and now some 46 years later, it offers the complete power package from its corporate headquarters in Meadowdale, Germiston (go to www.probegroup.co.za for more information). Now executive Chairman of Probe Corporation, Frank remains active in the business, but is spending more and more time in passing on his vast practical knowledge of all things electrical. ABR is privileged to be part of this imparting of knowledge, with a series of articles gleaned from interviews with Frank Rovelli, appropriately under the title “A Perfectly Frank View on Current Affairs”
Article One: Battery Charging Equipment - Know the Consequences
t would not be an overstatement to say that batteries power the economy and ensure that the wheels of the nation keep turning. From mining, to industrial, to transport, to anything that moves or needs to be moved, batteries are integral to the process. The world goes about its business hardly noticing these unsung workhorses, but when these batteries fail, or underperform, great inconvenience and unnecessary downtime costs are almost always experienced, as the consequences of lack of or inadequate battery power can be quite serious. The quality of the battery is very important, but even more importantly; it is the quality of recharging that everyone should keep in mind, to ensure optimum performance of the battery and the associated electrical system over the long term. Frank Rovelli senior says that the charging process is the most important function to ensure maximum life expectancy and optimum battery performance, and that this should be the focus of everyone, from the manager to workshop personnel to the individual motorist. The charging process has evolved over the years from simple D.C. generators to the modern advanced alternator to stationary battery chargers, but the guiding principle stays the same – a quality battery is only as good as the quality and reliability of the charger, be it an alternator on a vehicle or a stationary unit in a workshop/garage or industrial/mining installation. This essential technical requirement governs many things; the efficiency of the battery, the life expectancy of the battery, the performance of the battery itself and consequently that of whatever equipment the battery is powering is driving, and ultimately, it has a significant effect across a wide spectrum of the economy, from the profitability aspect of any business to unnecessary down time and inefficiency of operating equipment/vehicle to the inconvenience for and personal safety of the lone motorist. It is from this perspective that Frank Rovelli laments the fact that there are so many poor quality cheap chargers available on the South African market, which are generally ineffective, inadequate for the purpose and not suitable for the effective charging of modern high quality and high performance batteries.
Frank Rovelli, Chairman of Probe Corporation This is what a real charger looks like.
In the current economic crisis, people and companies are under financial pressure and they’re looking for cost savings in every nook and cranny. Therefore it is no wonder that they are attracted to advertisements offering battery chargers from R299. These ads promise many undefined benefits and features, such as “light weight” to “multi-function” and “micro processors”, and to the uninformed and uninitiated, this must sound like financial heaven. “How
can I go wrong?” or “What a deal!!!”must be the thoughts going though their minds, particularly when they compare this price to that many times higher for a top of the range heavy duty equivalent, which can last for many years under continuous onerous operation. As Frank puts it, they can go very, very wrong. Frank says that it is difficult to explain to the general public in a short article the technicalities involved in battery charging, but for starters he will just ask you to ponder the difference between a charger weighing half a kilogram and a charger weighing 50 kg, with a corresponding price variance. It is akin to comparing a scooter with a Harley-Davidson! And forget about the weight comparison or the price comparison, what should really be exercising your mind is the consequences to your business or to the efficient performance of your vehicles and/or equipment. We shall explore these aspects further in the follow up article of “Know the Consequences” February 2009
by Marcus Haw
Tyres and Their Contribution to Safety in Motoring
Road safety is an extremely important subject, to me, and to Bridgestone, who take it so seriously they have tasked me to make people aware of the safety side of the tyres we drive on. Unfortunately, road safety is not taken seriously by enough road users, or the authorities. And tyre safety is apparently barely even considered by most people. Company cars constitute a large percentage of the family vehicles on our roads over the festive and other holiday seasons. Their drivers are part of the road users mentioned above. While they must take responsibility for the vehicles they are entrusted with, experience has shown that few ever do. Since these are company assets, it is often the unfortunate lot of the fleet controller who has the fleet care within his/her portfolio, to keep the drivers aware of their responsibilities. So to keep our focus, we are going to explain what should be done with the tyres on your fleet’s cars after long holiday trips, so you can keep your staff ‘tyre safety’ aware.
et’s start by giving you an example of what happened to me during the holiday period. Not liking crowds, we had taken leave in November so stayed in Gauteng over December and on the 16th, we decided to do a day trip. Leaving early due to the distance, we encountered about seven different weather patterns on the way. During one section, there was heavy rain and with the wet roads, potholes became indiscernible. Only travelling at about 70 km/h due to the poor visibility, I hit a BIG pothole square on with my left front wheel. At the following service station I stopped and checked the wheel and tyre for damage. None was visible so we carried on staying aware that damage may still have occurred, and could show up at a later stage.
The point of the story is that ”stuff ” happens on the roads no matter how careful one is. “Stuff ” happens to tyres, and the results don’t always show immediately. Company car drivers don’t always report ‘stuff ’ immediately either. Especially, something as ‘trivial’ in their minds as hitting a pothole and thus they need to be made aware of the potential consequences of such a “trivial occurrence”. What happens to them on the roads at best can lead to simple roadside breakdowns and the accompanying irritation. But what happens to them on the roads can also lead to serious damage, resulting in later breakages and possible tragedy. It is highly advisable for fleet controllers to set up procedures which their vehicle drivers need to follow, and report on. Although procedures can be ignored they do have two positive aspects: one being they make drivers aware of factors not thought of before, and two they cover the company for any eventualities. You can’t make the horse drink, but one should take the responsibility of providing the water. Drivers should be made aware of making notes of possible damage, such as hitting potholes, and keep checking the tyres for indications of damage and/or possible failure. If the cause of their concern is severe, they should move the tyre involved to a safer position. In my case, because I am familiar with what indications to look for, and carried out the inspection myself, I am content to keep the tyre in service (and it is a tough Bridgestone D694….). If I was uncertain, it would be on my spare by now although I will still keep an eye on it. And this is what any driver of company cars, as well as private ones, should do. Keep an eye on them. If unsure, they should consult professionals. But even then, they should watch them as damage can manifest six months or more after being inflicted. On the very odd occasion, the manifestation can come about as sudden failure. So one’s biggest danger is complacency. Remember what we have said before about tyres being multi-component products.
I have since taken the wheel off, stripped the tyre and checked it inside and out. I found no damage, but I have moved the tyre and rim to the left rear, and check it weekly. Why do this? And how does hitting a pothole affect the safety of all of you out there?
After a road hazard, no matter how apparently trivial, potentially fatal damage can take place between any of these components, and these too can be terminally damaged. And, as explained, this may only show up much later when least expected. Tyre safety cannot be taken seriously enough, and long holiday trips in company cars are most often the times when the tyres are least thought of, and mistreated. Safety should always be the number one aspect, prioritised above all else. However, from a fleet owner/manager’s perspective, there is another extremely important factor to consider; tyre costs. If 2008 taught us nothing else, it certainly taught us that global economies can hit bad roads and have their own “blowouts”. While not wanting to sound like one of the many “doomsday prophets”, a positive attitude should be taken by ‘fighting back’, and for fleet controller/manager/owner, tyres are one of the most manageable ways of fighting back. Tyres constitute one of the three highest costs in the running of a fleet. While they are far from overpriced for the technology involved, and the service they provide, they represent a significant annual outlay for any fleet.
This has in the past brought about the situation where company buyers have resorted to buying cheap and unsuitable products, effectively in some cases endangering staff, and certainly taking an extremely short term view on cost saving. It is possible to achieve huge savings in tyre costs purely by educating the company drivers on tyre maintenance and care, but in most cases, it is necessary to put procedures in place which must include inspections and report backs. This also assists in creating histories about which tyres have worked well in the fleet, and have been most cost efficient on which vehicles. This is the first step to being in control of a fleet’s tyres, and therefore also the tyre costs. And safety will be significantly improved as well, again improving overall cost as well. In future issues, we will provide more cost cutting hints in fleet tyre use. We look forward to talking to you in the next issue.
Top Class Topics
Top Class Automotive, situated at 5 Skietlood Street, Isando Ext.3, Kempton Park, is a stone’s throw away from the Rhodesfield train station, and even closer to where the Gautrain starts to wend its final few hundred metres into its docking position at OR Tambo International Airport, having completed its journey from Sandton Station in well under 20 minutes. The passengers disembarking from the Gautrain will be unaware of the vital role that bearings have played in them getting so speedily and safely to the airport, but Richard Pinard, the CEO of Top Class Automotive, known as Mr. Bearing to the aficionados of the automotive aftermarket, will be watching from his office, fully aware of the importance of bearings, and happy in the knowledge that in all likelihood those bearings have been supplied by him. The symbolism of being so close to the Gautrain will not be lost on Richard, as he knows that the world runs on bearings, and that a large proportion of the vehicles on South Africa’s roads are running on bearings supplied by Top Class Automotive, a leading supplier of top quality automotive brands to the automotive aftermarket. Top Class brands include Timken (automotive); NOS (nitrous oxide systems); SNR (automotive, industrial, aerospace bearings); FTE (hydraulic brake and clutch systems, ABS solutions); Permatex (adhesive and sealing solutions) and DieselGuard (diesel theft protection). In this series of articles, Top Class Automotive gives ABR readers advice and technical tips on the product that it supplies to the industry. First up is the FTE Dictionary of Experts’ Tricks:
What do you do when the seals have swollen?
The seals have swollen due to contamination. The seal ring exceeds the outer diameter of the piston causing higher friction and pedal effort. The functionality is impaired and the fluid return valve is not working properly.
THE FTE DICTIONARY OF EXPERTS’ TRICKS
The fluid filling container hose has been sprayed with oil or lubricant The container used for air bleeding was contaminated with mineral oil
Contamination of brake fluid systems with mineral oil or other mediums which cause rubber parts to swell.
The clutch and brake system is only allowed to be filled with brake fluid that meets specs for SAE-J1703 or DOT 3, DOT 4, DOT 4LV or DOT 5.1. Contaminated rubber, plastic parts
The fluid filling container has been cleaned using brake caliper cleaner or petrol
and hoses must be replaced. Dentured alcohol must only be used to clean the metal parts of the system residue free. Never use petrol or diesel. Concentric slave cylinders, plastic cylinders and master cylinders which cannot be disassembled must be replaced completely. If the clutch hydraulic system is filled or supplied from the same reservoir as the brake system, which is common, then the entire brake system has to be treated accordingly.
Caring for the Environment
First National Battery’s sign off line is “Through Caring We Lead”. An easily understandable motto, but for those with a fascination and passion for words, like ABR whose slogan is “Words in Action”, “through caring we lead” can take on a new dimension when considering the environment. First National Battery cares and FNB recycles lead – get it? ABR salutes this commitment to the environment, and in this article we borrow from FNB’s pamphlet on lead recycling.
ecycling has become an extremely important consideration in modern business not only from the recovery aspect of valuable materials but also from an ecological and environmental protection aspect. Trends overseas are moving towards motor companies developing recyclable motor vehicles. In Michigan USA a laboratory known as the Vehicle Recycling Development Centre aims to teach automotive companies how to better design cars for easier dismantling by allowing easier access to key parts for future removal. The new trend is to “design for disassembly”. The goal is to close the production loop to conceive, develop and build a product with a long-term view of how its components can be refurbished and reused or disposed of safely. This situation gives use to the need and concept of recycling.
FNB says that some of the major benefits of having their own smelter include: • • • • • • Active contribution to positive ecological benefits More control over quality Continuity of supply Relatively high recovery rate of lead from scrap Able to reprocess dross and filtered materials Conservation of natural resources
The local battery industry has understood this for many years, and as such are environmentally responsible, ensuring that socalled scrap batteries are recycled, and thus displaying a social investment in the future of sound ecological management. The procedure is for all scrap batteries to be retrieved on a one on one basis at the point of sale, and for these scrap batteries to be returned to First National Battery. The batteries are then recycled at the First National Battery factory, in their advanced Smelter Division, whereby the materials are recycled for use in the manufacturing of new batteries. Scrap batteries are processed to the point where the polypropylene components are returned for cleaning, granulating and eventual reprocessing. The scrap lead plates, terminals are stockpiled for refining. All electrolyte, which by the time the battery is scrapped has a low relative density, is collected and neutralised before being processed in First National Battery’s effluent plant. The precipitate is disposed of into a licensed municipal waste system.
All these factors are well and good but the lead industry more than any other has been subject to adverse publicity regarding environmental problems and legislative pressures to solve them. Anti-pollution controls have been implemented sometimes at very high cost. Several sets of legislation are in force including the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Water Act. Further, as the manufacture of batteries involves lead companies such as FNB are required to be registered in terms of the manufacturing process and have to hold all the necessary permits. First National Battery’s investment in a smelter has therefore blended well with their commitment to the recycling of batteries. This is only a part of their long-term capital expansion programme which, to date, has seen an improvement in production control product quality and increased production capabilities. Further investments are planned for the next few years which will enable FNB to position itself to take advantage of the current downturn in the South African economy. So there you have it. When it comes to battery recycling, South Africa takes a back seat to no one. A “pluimpie” to First National Battery. Al Gore would be proud of you.
A New Era for Africa?
by Fingal Wilde
Here is an interesting titbit. My spell check on my steam driven personal computer does not accept the word “Obama”. It suggests that I use “Osama”. Intriguing. What does this mean? Before the conspiracy brigade gets up a full head of steam, mimicking my pc, let me head them off at the pass with my take on this word imbroglio. Firstly, it means that my software is rather dated. When the Microsoft office suite (2003 version) was unleashed on its monopolistic created servants, Barack Hussein Obama may have progressed from a twinkle in his father’s Kenyan eye to something a little more substantial in Michigan, but from a world perspective he was definitely not on anyone’s radar. In 2003, it was that bearded fellow with a fixation on tall buildings, hiding in the hills of Afghanistan, who was dominating the American psyche, and so it was no surprise that he had made it onto Mr. Gates’ binary inspired bounty. Secondly, and the irony is enormous; a new man with an unknown but suggestive name has come out of nowhere, and is promising to revolutionise America and the world. Those prescient guys from the Cape of Good Hope got it right in the mid nineteenth century when they prophesised with great joy, “Daar Kom Die Ali Bama”.
hat are the bigger implications? The world is abuzz about this mixed race wunderkind, a most unlikely revolutionary. A genetic coupling of Africa and America, an environmental product of Hawaii and Indonesia, a solitary son of a single mother and an absentee father, nurtured by doting grandparents, has beaten the odds, turning both nature and nurture on their respective heads. Intriguing, fascinating, phenomenal are adjectives that do not do justice to this phenomenon. A true audacity of hope. Many books, articles, theses, keynote addresses, and much parlour talk and water cooler banter are to be generated by this one man band. I am also in the loop, but with a slight difference. My question is, WATBI? The answer is mouth watering. From an American perspective, the implications are enormous. A new era has begun. Ideology and realpolitik are being swept under the carpet and the potential is big for dramatic shifts and the parsing of partisan politics. I do not intend to spend much time on this, as many commentators are going to feast on this tantalising morsel, ad nauseam. From a global perspective, the implications are even bigger. They go from enormous to gezoodlich (I invented this word because there is nothing in the English language that comes close to describing what could unfold in the next few years). Think about it. East vs. West, cold war vs. hot war, developed world vs. developing world, first world vs. third world, Middle East politics, the axis of evil, and “bad” states like Cuba, Iran, China, Russia, North Korea will all be painted in a new techno colour twilight zone Matisse canvas; not in a weird sense, but rather in a dramatic shift sort of way. This will also suffice, as if and when these new scenarios develop and blossom, a gezoodlich number of commentators will feast on this carcass.
has feet of clay. This shallow excuse for a leader will have to look into the mirror, and will see an accusatory reflection. Why can he not behave like his brother? A brother who preaches true democracy. A brother who preaches fiscal conservatism. A brother who preaches a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and a “can do” attitude. A brother who cares for his people. A brother who condemns pork barrel politics. A brother who eschews blue light cavalcades. A brother who is educated, erudite, hard working, the very antithesis of the standard African leader. A brother who would be appalled at the antics of the vast majority of African leaders. Closer to home, I am delighting in the images of what must be going through the mind of demagogues like Mugabe and Zuma, as they observe someone who inspires rather than incites, someone who is suave and elegant rather than unpolished and crude , and who preaches hope rather than hate. What is this man doing? How can we measure ourselves against someone who does not have a whiff of corruption tainting his slender frame, someone who preaches accountability, and someone who seems to be quite happy in his monogamous life? What is this man doing? Does he have no respect for the African culture? Does he not have a Malaysian bank account? A man who oozes integrity, humility, style and class. How un African can you get? Even worse, a man who assembles a world class support team, a man who picks people cut from a similar cloth, people who will get things done, people who will not feather their own nests. Why could he not just pick a few self serving sycophants like Matonga, Malema, van Schalkwyk, Niehaus, Duarte, et al, who are happy to ride our gravy stained coattails? Who pushed the shithouse into the river? Oh why oh why can’t we get Bush back? Now for my fervent wish. I do have a dream. Africa is ripe and ready, and panting feverishly for change. My wish is for a new generation of Obama like African leaders. Change that we can believe in. We are entitled to have the audacity of hope. Yes, we can. Yes, the African voter can do it; the African voter can bring hope. Yes, the African voter can fulfil my dream. Yes, they can. In the words of Eddie Grant, “Give us hope, Obama, and give us coping mechanisms, Obama”
My focus, and what I would like to spend a little time on, is WATBI for Africa? Suddenly, the big white bogeyman of the west is half African. Finger pointing will no longer suffice. Uncle Tom has moved from the outhouse to the White House. Suddenly, the dictator, the one party man, the liberator, the election rigger, the youth leader, the slogan spouting nonentity, the rabble rousing womaniser, the 4x4 revolutionary of the people, will find that he
It’s Not the Aircon!
I drive a 2006 sedan that is a very good car. I am extremely happy with this vehicle, but there is one small matter that is actually a big matter, and it is driving me crazy, and I have a fight with the dealership every time I visit for a service. It is the poor performance of the air conditioner. And yet, there is nothing wrong with the air conditioner! Huh, you may ask?
he culprit for poor air conditioner performance is in many cases a dirty Pollen Filter (Cabin Air). Now a standard fitment in most vehicles above the R150 000 mark, the Pollen Filter is an integral part of the system that cools and cleans the interior of a car, and yet it gets scant attention when a car is serviced. Most vehicle maintenance plans only allow for the Pollen Filter to be replaced every 45 000km (and I doubt whether even this is happening), whereas in South African conditions, even 15 000km is too long a period, as the performance of the aircon starts dropping 10 000 km after replacement. For the comfort and safety of the driver and passengers, you should insist that the Pollen Filter is replaced at every service interval. I have filched the following piece from the technical section of G.U.D.’s webpage (www.gud.co.za), which clearly enunciates the reasons for Pollen Filters and the technical aspects: “Increasing car populations and congested roads guarantee we spend longer in our vehicles, in areas with high exhaust gas outputs. Exhaust gases contain vast quantities of "soot" and other gases, including some toxic nitrogen oxides, generally referred to as NOx. Everyone is aware of the decreasing air quality brought about by industrial pollution, pollen and much other atmospheric dust. All of these are visibly noticeable and end up as a dirty layer on the exterior of the vehicle. More importantly, it is also on the interior of the vehicle, unless a Pollen Filter is fitted. Pollen Filters are becoming ever more popular due to the above. They filter all incoming air and the air being circulated by the air-conditioning system. Most of them are oblong and look similar to a Pocket or Panel Air engine filter and typically use pleated media for the extra surface area it gives.
The media is often white and is generally fully synthetic. There are two main filter types. The one filters only particles such as pollen, dust and soot; the other more costly option actually absorbs some of the noxious gases and odours through the addition of an activated carbon layer. The latter tends to be heavier and the black activated carbon is visible. G.U.D. has a licence agreement with Filterwerk Mann+Hummel of Germany, who are one of the largest filter companies in the world. They are internationally recognised for their quality and pioneering R&D work into new automotive filtration, especially Cabin Air Filters. Good Pollen Filters start removing particles down to 0,1 micron and reach close to 100% efficiency as particles get to 3 micron and above in diameter. As can be seen from the chart, an average human hair is 50 micron in diameter or seven times larger than the absolute efficiency of most Pollen Filters. One drawback with these filters is associated with their relatively short life in areas of high dust concentration. Engine air filters begin to restrict airflow into an engine at about 500mm of water (50 mbar). The poor power of the fans ventilating the interior of the vehicle means that Pollen Filters begin to be restrictive at ± 40mm of water (4 mbar). Field tests suggest filters at that point have between 10 and 30 grams of contamination on them. Indications that the filter is beginning to block is clearly evident by:1. The air-conditioner appears to be becoming less effective. 2. One requires a higher fan speed to feel air ﬂow movement from the vents. 3. The interior of the windows can "fog up" easier. 4. Odour detection (if you have used an activated carbon ﬁlter). This is either due to no more life or a build-up of odour producing bacteria on the ﬁlter. If any of the above happens, it means it is time to change the Pollen Filter element and so retain the high air quality in the vehicle. Should you choose a 'particle' filter only, or the more expensive one with the added activated carbon layer? The latter is definitely appropriate for dense traffic conditions and perhaps if your partner is a smoker and you are not! Fitment is not that difficult once you have actually located the darn thing! Pollen Filters are very often "hidden" under the dashboard. Once you have been shown and have done it once, it becomes fairly easy and tools are often not required. All G.U.D. Pollen Filters come with an insert detailing the location of the Pollen Filter in the different vehicle types. The G.U.D. catalogue contains a growing range of Pollen Filters under the designation 'AC'. To "Great Engine Protection" we can now add "Great People Protection"!”
The Perfect Storm
The Intercontinental Hotel at O.R. Tambo International Hotel was an appropriate venue for Brand Pretorius’ annual State of the Nation address on 9th July 2009. Appropriate in that the South African automotive industry’s fate is massively dependant on an international economic recovery, across all the continents. With American having a fit of sneezing, the rest of the world is feeling the gusts, and the crux of the matter is that the quicker America recovers, the quicker everyone else recovers. Hence, an appropriate theme song for this presentation could be “Give Us Hope Obama”
rand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Limited, whilst relatively sombre in his assessment of the situation, is actually on the positive side when predicting a new vehicle market of 483 000 unit in 2009. To describe a prediction of a 9,4% drop in sales against 2008, a calamitous year by most yardsticks, as optimistic may be construed as hyperbolic, but as Brand puts it, he is “almost a lone voice” in his forecasts, as the general consensus is more towards a decline of 15% and more.
a partial recovery during the second half of 2009, and even more hopefully, for a more sustained recovery in 2010. These positive factors include: • • • • • • • • • The inflation and interest rate cycle has turned, with expectations of 7% and 12,5% respectively by year end The reduction in the fuel price, which will boost disposable income by anything from R3 billion to R4 billion per month Salary and wage increases in excess of inflation, specifically in the public sector Significantly higher government expenditure on infrastructural projects Positive influences from the Confederation Cup and the Lions Tour in 2009 The World Cup in 2010 Aggressive marketing by the OEMs The recovery of the used vehicle market An increase in car rental demand
What has brought us to this pass? The villain of the peace is 2008, the last six months of which Brand Pretorius describes as “the perfect storm, both worldwide and local, and as we enter 2009, we are still in the eye of this storm”. An economic and financial crisis, similar in magnitude to 1929; a crude oil price peaking at US$147 to the barrel; and unprecedented turmoil and velocity characterises the international stage in 2008. The local “lowlights” added to the gloom: • • • • • • • • • Rolling electricity blackouts in early 2008 Xenophobic attacks breaking out in May 2008 Messy political environment Inflation peaking at 13,5% Prime lending rate at an eye watering 15% Rapid currency depreciation in the last quarter of 2008 A 26% drop in the JSE All Share Index A precipitous drop in business and consumer confidence GDP growth at a virtual standstill in the second half of 2008
Negatives still abound, but let us not dwell on these. Rather look at the key challenges facing the local industry: • • • • • • • • Planning for an uncertain future Viability of the parent companies A changing regulatory environment Protecting export volumes New vehicle affordability Capacity utilisation Demanding labour unions Customer expectations
No wonder the propensity to buy cars has dropped through the floor! Whilst 2008, in terms of unit sales is still significantly above the unit sales at the beginning of this century, the problem lies in the industry’s significant investment for the expected bull run of sales, in fixed investment, training, etc. This is a big ship that just cannot be turned around in a couple of months, so the industry is living in the real world of reducing sales and reducing margins, and having to urgently reassess their business models, and taking some hard decisions, which unfortunately includes retrenchments – just like the previous dips in 84/85 (a Rubicon induced 24,0%), 75/76 (Soweto riots bringing down sales by 19,2%), and 60/61 (Sharpeville creating a sharp drop of 22,9%). 07/08’s 24,3% is a record decline, so the decisions are just a little bit harder. As Brand puts it so evocatively, “Every day I have to deal with the real world consequences, many tragic. McCarthy is a family, and we strive to protect the livelihoods of our people, so the decisions we take are not taken lightly, nor without deep reflection and humility.” These sombre moments were lightened somewhat by the positive factors that Brand highlighted and which could pave the way for
The consequences of these challenges is that the industry is now in the most competitive environment ever, it faces viability pressure and with business models now under intense scrutiny, consolidation and rationalisation cannot be far away.
Watch This Space
Prakash Bhagwan, director of Euroquip
The South African automotive aftermarket, despite many reports to the contrary, is alive and well, and is being driven by an increasing number of niche operators, specialising in their areas of expertise, and playing an invaluable and integral part in a supply chain which plays an indispensable role in South Africa’s economy. One of these forward looking individuals is Prakash Bhagwan, director of Euroquip, whose motto in business is “Watch This Space”
and the Flatblades vertebrae are not painted and do not undergo any chemical surface treatment. Silencio X.TRM offers the following technical features: • • • • • High wipe quality through constant pressure along the blade. Anti-lift spoiler system integrated into the rubber profile. Innovative design style and differentiation in line with vehicle aesthetics. No metal super-structure. Reduced number of components: around 9 reusable components compared to 24 for a traditional wiper blade. High speed performance >200 km/h. Reduced aerodynamic noise -3db compared to a standard blade (at 150 km/h). Weight reduction. Improved winter resistance. Minimal obstruction of the driver's field of vision. Simple and fast to change with a single lock/unlock click.
uroquip currently specialises in Hella, Valeo and OCAP product, playing a significant importing, distribution and wholesaling role for the automotive aftermarket, and even supplying product and expertise to the military, in the form of electronics, specialised lights and switches. Prakash is constantly looking for new products to add to his portfolio, and one of his recent successes has been the introduction of automotive cable, which is literally flying off his shelves. Situated at 174 Panorama Road, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion, Euroquip is making its mark as a supplier of quality product and quality service. Sourcing globally, Euroquip guarantees its product quality, with a promise of right product, delivered to the right place, on time and at the right price. As Prakash puts it, “it’s part of Euroquip’s culture, nothing more, nothing less.” OCAP, a growing company on the world stage, and Hella and Valeo, two global giants who need no introduction, could not have chosen a more passionate partner, as Euroquip illuminates the South African automotive scene with its commitment to its customers, and by default this enthusiasm translates into higher sales for the manufacturers.
Silencio X.TRM offers the following benefits: • • • • • •
An example of the innovative product sourced by Euroquip is the range of Valeo Silencio X·TRM Aftermarket wiper blades. With flatblades the new standard at OE, Valeo have introduced a solution for popular vehicles fitted with conventional wiper blades. Silencio X·TRM is a new generation of more efficient, highly reliable wipers that offer unsurpassed aerodynamic and acoustic properties. The absence of a metal superstructure avoids freeze, reduces potential noise and vibrations, gliding over the windshield so as not to generate the turbulence found in standard wiper blades. In addition, the industrial technology used in the manufacture of Valeo’s Silencio X·TRM Flatblades recognises environmental protection guidelines – the main materials in the wiper blades can be recycled: plastic, stainless steel and rubber;
In addition, each Silencio X.TRM Aftermarket FlatBlade is equipped with a wear indicator allowing easy identification of when the blade needs replacing. The Silencio X.TRM Aftermarket range is available to upgrade conventional wiper blades on a number of popular vehicle applications including the Ford Focus, Audi A4, Peugeot 307, Opel Astra Mk 4, VW Golf Mk 3 & 4, and VW Polo Mk 4. For more information on Euroquip, visit www.euroquip-sa.co.za and stand a chance to win a Valeo Automatic Lighting system, valued at R1 000.00.
Loctite® and Porsche Motorsport: Winning together
As high-tech and innovative brands, both Loctite® and Porsche enjoy a fine reputation and are synonymous with reliability and high achievement. Together, they have set themselves the goal of expanding the application of cutting-edge technology in auto racing, developing innovative and sustainable solutions. The Loctite® brand will be present at each Porsche Supercup race as an Official Partner during the 2009 season, both in and out of the limelight. The Loctite® logo will be displayed on all vehicles from the first race in Bahrain through to the closing race in Monza. Loctite® adhesive and sealant products and solutions are put to use in production and servicing in the run-up to the races and play an extremely important part. At the end of the day, success depends not only on driving skills and superlative teamwork, but also on technology. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup really puts drivers and vehicles through their paces. High-quality products from Loctite® have to show they can deal with the toughest of challenges, e.g. Threadlockers, especially the new and upgraded anaerobic products Loctite® 278, Loctite® 243 and Loctite® 270. At the same time, the high-tech Loctite® Gasketing and Sealing products with their excellent oil and temperature resistance also contribute to the performance of the Porsche 911 GT3. With its 420 hp and a top speed of 310 km/h, this race car is a real power pack.
by Roger McCleery
Q & A With Manny de Canha
INTERVIEW WITH MANNY DE CANHA, CEO OF ASSOCIATED MOTOR HOLDINGS
If you drive a fully imported car in this country that wasn’t brought in by a resident motor manufacturer, chances are that 58-year-old Manny de Canha, CEO of Associated Motor Holdings, (part of the Imperial Group) and one of the most hands-on people in the South African motor industry, had something to do with bringing it to you. Roger McCleery spoke to Manny about his successful career in the motor industry over the last 36 years. BORN WHERE? Johannesburg WENT TO SCHOOL? Sir John Adamson in the South SPORTS AT SCHOOL? Rugby WHAT SPORTS DO YOU FOLLOW TODAY? Rugby and cricket OTHER SPORTING ACTIVITIES? Like to walk a lot. WHAT CAREER WERE YOU WANTING TO FOLLOW AT SCHOOL? Had no idea. With a strict Portuguese family upbringing, my parents wanted me to be a banker at the Bank of Lisbon or a priest. WHAT CAREER DID YOU FOLLOW? The motor industry - by total chance. After finishing my National Service in 1972 I was at a loose end and I met somebody who said “If you are not doing anything, why don’t you come and sell cars for us at a dealer called Imperial in Rosettenville?” So I did. WHAT WAS THE FIRST CAR YOU OWNED? I never owned a car in my life, but have driven most of them. WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE NOW? Daihatsu Materia and sometimes a Renault Val Satis. WHAT CAR WOULD YOU LIKE TO OWN? I love them all. AFTER ROSETTENVILLE - WHAT? After six years, Wills Motors Toyota offered me a partnership in 1978. Percy Abelkop (King Percy of Imperial) said “Stay where you are until I buy out Wills Motors.” Which he did and offered me a 10% stake which I accepted DID YOU EVER OPERATE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY? Just after helping to establish Imperial Car Rental in 1980 and before Imperial listed in 1987 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, I went to Australia and started working for Automotive Holdings in Perth as a Used Car Manager. Within a year I had bought 25% of the Total Auto, which was a multi-franchise business with Daihatsu, Nissan, Subaru and used cars. Then in 1992 was offered a stake in the Holding Company which I accepted. WHAT BROUGHT YOU BACK TO SOUTH AFRICA IN 1994? My mentor and Chairman of Imperial, the late Bill Lynch, who was one of the great go-ahead motor men in South African history, offered me an opportunity to come back to South Africa to handle Nissan franchise’s in Johannesburg. Plus started Associated Motor Holdings to import vehicles into South African as I had experienced the Button Plan Rollout in Australia. At that time we had similar tariff barriers. With the advent of democracy imports took off because South Africa became part of the global economy with investments flowing back to South Africa and overseas manufacturers looking to expand their market with the relaxation of import duties. Nissan didn’t work out under John Newbury, who had listed Nissan on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. WHAT CAR DID YOU IMPORT FIRST? Renault, which we built up into a formidable dealer organisation that just kept growing. THEN? Daihatsu – I have always liked Daihatsu. Kia – aligned with Ray Levin Hyundai – bought them out when they were in deep trouble after Billy Rautenbach had departed. Now an established force in the South African motor industry. Citroen – came next to fill a special niche in the market place. SsangYong – bailed them out when they hit a wall. Kawasaki Motor Cycles – needed a lifestyle product and one where people needed cheap easy-to-get-to-work transport on congested roads. TATA – in 2004 formed a partnership with TATA and set up a dealer organisation which are doing well. All these divisions are separate entities and have their own CEO’s who are accountable for the day to day operations and their successes in all aspects. We at AMH provide the synergies and the capital. IS THIS WHERE YOU STOP? No – we started a finance services company and also set up 6 Ford dealerships in Sydney. Plus looking at how to grow Financial Services Division and assessing other opportunities which are motor related. MARRIED? Married his childhood sweetheart, Scharmain, and has two successful kids – a son and a daughter. (Scharmain says the moment she saw Manny, that was the man for her – despite opposition from his family.) Son, Nicholas, has followed his Dad into the motor industry and is learning the business after qualifying as a medical doctor and completing an MBA. Daughter, Daniella, is a successful attorney. WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE IN LIFE? Sell more and more cars and make people happy with their purchase. ARE YOU THINKING OF RETIRING? Not soon and still a long way from that. IF YOU DID RETIRE, WHERE WOULD YOU SETTLE? Madeira. WHEN WILL THE DOWNTURN OR WORLD DEPRESSION CHANGE FOR SOUTH AFRICA? Earliest will be the middle of 2010. In the next 18 months we will go through three stages. Banks getting their house in order and collecting what they are owed. Then they will tighten-up on credit lending and become conservative and eventually they will start to loosen-up and accept more credit which is what we want. Manny de Canha sits on the Board of Imperial Motor Holdings. He is the Chairman of Renault. He sits on a number of Boards under the Imperial banner. His PA, Robyn Gilpin, when asked what he was like to work for said “He is one of the best bosses you could ever have.” February 2009
The Spider and the Fly
Automotive Business Review identified Webhouse Group as their preferred Internet consultant, because the Online Solutions team are not just thinkers, but are most importantly listeners and solution providers.
eing an Internet Development House, they assist clients in developing, and subsequently managing their Internet Strategies. These strategies encompass consumer facing websites, Internet-based generic business tools, and Internet-based bespoke business management systems. The Webhouse Group Mission is to generate valuable business returns from every client's website investment.
cle’s specification, import images, set pricing, as well as have access to a host of other tools. The release of this new motor dealer application will re-invent the online motor market. THE WEBHOUSE GROUP’S UNIQUENESS The Webhouse Group’s key area of strength distinguishes them from contending companies. In terms of Internet Development• • • • • • • Unique approach to supporting clients' Internet Strategies Our core objective is making your website work for you The Webhouse Content Management Engine ensures the latest technologies and functionality at an affordable price Clients are able to edit their own websites Highly skilled and experienced back-end developers Global experience in international markets Scalable, controlled website growth and development capacity
The Webhouse Group is passionate about websites and are constantly looking for better ways to represent their clients on the internet. Service is provided through an experienced & committed Management Team offering advice, information and support that is needed to develop and maintain leading website & e-commerce solutions. The Webhouse Group Value offering is Passionate, Innovative, Online. The Webhouse team makes it their priority to familiarise themselves with their clients, understanding their business needs and where they can, help clients optimise their business processes and productivity. Webhouse Group has developed numerous Internet-based systems, including a world-leading Website Content and Functionality Management Engine (Website Engine) that enables them to deliver state-of-the-art Internet products rapidly and economically. Websites are a cost-effective way to reach potential clients and can contribute to significant growth within a business. The Webhouse Group offers Web-based business solutions - providing clients with customised online marketing solutions – more than basic websites The Webhouse Group originated in Gateway, South Africa and has offices in Australia and New Zealand, as well as on sellers in Ireland, ensuring their clients have not only World class applications, but world class functionality and solutions. One of the latest releases by the Webhouse Group is an advanced motor dealer website portal, which offers the motor dealer a multitude of functional tool that assist with marketing and managing vehicles online. The dealer website portal makes use of an easy to use vehicle stock importer that extracts current vehicle stock from the in-house dealer management system and imports the vehicle stock to the website, where the dealer can add and edit the vehi-
The Webhouse Group client portfolio includes, Retail Shops, Restaurants, Marketing & Distribution Agencies, Lawyers, Motor Dealers, Travel agents, Game Lodges, Bed and Breakfast Venues, Tour Operators, Security Companies, Film Producers and Charitable Organizations, and their Testimonial list is endless. The Mt Edgecombe County Club Estate 2, in Kwa Zulu Natal, chose the Webhouse Group as their technology partner due to their unique iLink247 Process Management Platform. This platform provides and manages their online visitor SMS manager, their Gate Control, their Control Room Occurrence Book, their Visitors & Contractor Management and integration into their Administration backend, allowing a seamless integration into data base management and Resident Communication, using e-mail, SMS and a secure login for Residents to Estate Business through a secure area on the Estate Website. Webhouse Sales, Development and Support teams work together closely, making sure a Client website is everything it should be – that it looks appealing, communicates Clients branding effectively and appropriately, reaches Clients target audience, is easy to browse and most importantly meets both their Clients and their Customers expectations If you would like to be contacted by Webhouse, to provide your Business with an Online or Marketing Solution, take over an existing Solution or just for a chat, please call Neil Hartley on 082 829 8277, via reception on (+27) 31 580 23 00, simply send him an SMS directly off their website www.webhousegroup.com
Partinform Comes of Age
Partinform came of age in November 2008 with the announcement of the formation of the Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Association (AAMA). 23 years after the Partinform Component Manufacturers Association was conceived in 1986, and in the words of Paul Williams, who served as chairman of the association from 1994 to 1998, it “was a creation of good comradeship and the mutual sharing of costs for trade evenings”, Partinform has evolved into something far more significant.
alcolm Perrie, the first chairman of AAMA, is a little blunter. “We have formalised the old boys’ tea club known as Partinform into a properly constituted and registered association to be known as the Automotive Manufacturers Association or AAMA for short.” ABR recognises this as a logical move, as this brings South Africa’s automotive aftermarket industry into line with international trends and practices. One just has to look at the AAIW (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week) which is held annually in Las Vegas, where three aftermarket bodies combine to put on the world’s greatest automotive extravaganza. The AAIA
(Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association) and AASA (Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association) join forces to run the AAPEX show (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo) at the Sands Convention Centre, whilst down the road at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) unveils the stunning SEMA Show, encompassing ten specialised councils. All under the banner of the all encompassing term “aftermarket” which is both self explanatory and enigmatic at the same time. Who knows, South Africa may in the not too distant future emulate these shows, now that Partinform has come of age?
A Square Peg in a Round Hole
n an exclusive interview with Malcolm Perrie, Managing Director of Federal-Mogul Aftermarket, and the first chairman of AAMA, ABR delved a little deeper into the reasons for the formalisation of Partinform into a far more powerful institution. Malcolm says that whilst all the founding members of AAMA are also members of NAACAM or the RMI, or both, in many cases it was a situation of being a square peg in a round hole. “NAACAM is primarily an OEM focused body, whereas the RMI is predominantly a retailed focused organisation. Both do a good job in their respective areas of expertise and focus, but in many cases the specific interests of aftermarket manufacturers are nor being catered for.” To this end, he adds, the AAMA intends to complement the offerings of these bodies, and to service the unique interests of the aftermarket manufacturers in four specific areas: 1. Strategic Input: A focus on government lobbying and the presenting of a united front, for the good of the local aftermarket industry, and for the good of the country. 2. Training Support: The establishment of a training academy to serve the interests of the local aftermarket industry, spreading the training net as wide as possible, whilst pooling resources to create training teams that deliver cost effectively. 3. Partinform: The venerable Partinform format continues, with a turbo boost (see following story), promoting premium brands and passing on the vital message of quality and safety to all corners of the country via the tried and tested minitrade show formula – getting face to face with the end users and retail shop employees in the rural areas and emerging markets. 4. Supply Chain Sustainability: An enormous opportunity exists in the area of supply chain management and improvement, via a combined approach to areas of common interest. There is tremendous wastage in supply chain costs in many areas: inward and outward logistics; customs management, and the need to lobby strongly on commodity prices. At this formative stage, AAMA consists of thirteen founding members, all who have been accepted on their credentials as being existing Partinform members. For future members, the process shall be more structured, with an application form to be completed by aspiring members. The entry requirements stipulate that members must be local manufacturers whose route to market is through the traditional channels, and not via vertically integrated distribution. Agents need not apply, as equity in the brand will be a prerequisite. Much, much more in future issues of ABR, the magazine that was coincidentally also created in 2008 specifically for the automotive aftermarket industry.
The inaugural AAMA Executive: Standing, left to right: Norman Bull and Murray Long Sitting, front: Colin Murphy, Partinform chairman and Malcolm Perrie, chairman. AAMA held its first meeting on 21st January 2009.
The Objectives of the Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Ass are:
(i) promote, protect and encourage the general and collective interests and image of the members engaged mainly or substantially as brand owners in the manufacturing sector supplying the Automotive Aftermarket; (ii) protect the brand value of members operating within the South African Automotive Industry aftermarket; (iii) provide a forum for members to meet with a view to promoting and protecting the interests of the members of the association; (iv) promote employee training and training accreditation within the automotive aftermarket and to facilitate the establishment and administration of a joint training facility in the automobile aftermarket parts industry; (v) promote and protect the interests of members, customers and the public by ensuring that proper standards of quality, service and ethical trading conditions are maintained by its members; (vi) jointly promote members’ brands and products in the Southern African market by facilitating trade shows and similar marketing activities; (vii) engage the relevant Industry Bodies in trade, labour, legislative and other matters affecting members and, as desirable, to promote, support or oppose any proposed legislative or other measures affecting thee interests of members collectively; (viii) promote and disseminate to members and the authorities any information of value and use to them; (xi) print, publish or advertise in any news media, periodical, book or leaflet that the Association may think desirable; (xii) do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objects above specified.
Partinform Gets a Turbo Boost
What are the implications for Partinform now that AAMA has gone the formal route? Very little, according to Colin Murphy, chairman of Partinform. If anything, the implications are positive. “Imported product can be found on every shelf of every parts reseller in South Africa. This is neither good nor bad. What is bad is when this imported product is of doubtful origin, and of doubtful quality. The job of Partinform has been from day one to inform and educate the parts community about the professional benefits of using branded parts that guarantee quality and safety, and local manufacturers that provide the necessary technical support. All the aspects of vehicle roadworthiness, vehicle longevity, road safety, and personal safety come into play, and informing the resellers and fitters of these important facts remains the key focus of Partinform. AAMA simply reinforces these aims, and hopefully will attract like minded manufacturers to our travelling mini-shows, thus broadening our impact and of course, assisting with the sharing of costs.” The new challenge, according to Colin, is to get this message across to the rapidly growing emerging market. This requires taking the message to remote and previously inaccessible locations. In 2008, Partinform visited Mdantsane and Soweto, and both shows were extremely successful. More of the same in 2009 is promised by Colin. The real challenge, in this modern age of entertainment at the push of a button, is to get the parts community to attend Partinform. And Colin believes that he has found the silver bullet. The silver bullet comes in Ferrari red and Ferrari yellow. The established quiz show format will, apart from the generous prizes to be won by the contestants, now come with a brilliant first prize of having the opportunity to drive a Ferrari 360 Challenge Car, and the cherry on the top will be a balls to the wall “hot lap” experience with an experienced racing driver (lunch will be served after this experience to ensure the integrity of the interior of the Ferraris). This event is run by Forza racing, and ABR will give further info during the course of the year.
Partinform schedule 2009
Pretoria Cape Twon Springs/Brakpan Bloemfontein Durban Klerksdorp Port Elisabeth White River Thursday 26 Feb Thursday 26 March Tuesday 12 May Wednesday 17 June Tuesday 21 July Tuesday 8 September Tuesday 13 October Tuesday 10 November
NB: keep this article handy. In the March 2009 issue of ABR, in conjnction with Partinform, we shall be launching an exciting competition whereby four of our readers can win a ride in the Ferarri 360 Challenge car
Frequently Asked Questions on Making CEF Brake Hoses
In a nutshell – How does it work?
You purchase a CEF Brake Hose crimper with an opening stock package. This allows you to assemble brake hoses quickly and easily while your customer waits.
Who is this package aimed at?
This assembly system is for trade customers owning: Spares outlets, Brake & Clutch specialist companies, larger workshops. You must be able to sell 15 brake hoses per month.
Do I need experience in making brake hoses?
You do not need to have made hoses in the past in order to learn how to use this assembly system. The CEF crimper package is very user friendly and comes with a comprehensive training manual. Technical assistance is also available on the phone if you require and representatives from BHCS cover most areas a number of times annually.
How do I know what to stock?
We take the guess work out of the inventory. We supply you with an accurate opening stock package which will allow you to service your customers with 90% of their requirements. Your stock also comes in storage boxes with part numbers so you don't have any further hassle storing the end fittings.
How long does it take to assemble a CEF Brake Hose?
Assembling the actual brake hose using the crimper takes 3 minutes. You need to identify the end fittings but this is easy with our bin storage system. Total time is 5 to max 10 minutes.
Does the hose you manufacture conform to Safety Standards? Who supports the product in Southern Africa?
Yes, the CEF Brake Hoses that you manufacture meet the SABS Specification SABS3996 which is based on the international specification ISO3996. You will also conform to SAEJ1401.
The owners of Brake Hose & Component Supplies (Pty) Ltd - BHCS, have been supplying CEF Brake Hoses into the market for the last 15 years. The company is focused on brake hoses and backs you up with a large stock holding from their warehouse. Technical and sales support is vital and is high on the priority list.
Why should you assemble brake hoses on site?
• • • • • • •
Increase your one stop shop reputation. Attract new customers (increasing sales on other products). New income stream from your existing customers. Gain a competitive advantage on local competitors. Strengthen customer retention. Good return on investment. Sustainable repeat business.
It’s More Than Just Business
ABR has twice in its short existence, in its corporate conscience section, reported on Sparepro’s benevolent efforts and its philosophy of “We are here to serve”, applicable to both its business activities and corporate social responsibilities. Intrigued, ABR visited Sparepro once again in December 2008 to dig deeper into this refreshing approach to doing business. We spoke to Patrick Latouche, General Manager.
Patrick Latouche stands in front of the newly minted “Sparepro Warranty of Excellence” commitment. He subscribes to Motilal Nehru’s credo – “There are two types of people: those who work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is too much competition in the second group”
Whilst focusing on the management disciplines that are necessary in a business, Patrick has also spent a lot of time putting soul and spirit into the company. This has in itself created a new energy and a new focus, with Sparepro striving to allow each and every employee to become the best that they can be, and to inculcate a “Spirit of Team”. Patrick believes that this is the magical elixir that sets great companies apart from merely good companies – individual excellence interwoven into teamwork. Get this
right, and everything magically falls into place, with the customer being the biggest beneficiary. This new wave thinking, combined with classical management theory, is reaping benefits. No longer are the sales team mere order takers. They have taken over their space, and are proactively managing the sales process, and taking the time to understand each customer, and practicing relationship management. Similarly, the logistics functions have been tightened and streamlined, providing improved safety and security levels, and together with the outsourcing of inward transport and outbound deliveries, this has trans-
atrick was born in Mauritius, but considers himself South African, having spent his formative academic training in this country, acquiring his B.Comm at Wits University and his MBA at Milpark Business School. Patrick joined Sparepro some nine months ago, at the behest of owner Price Govender, who was looking for someone to reinvent and reignite Sparepro, and to give it a new start and to infuse it with fresh blood. Sparepro had some six years ago shaken the automotive parts market to the core with some revolutionary concepts, but had in many ways become a victim of its own success, as its frenetic beginnings had hidden fundamental flaws and a few missteps. Price had realised that it was time to take stock, and to build on this successful but unfocused start. Patrick was indeed the man for the job, coming with tools and accomplishments and the credibility gained from stints in Australia and France, where he successfully repositioned companies and improved their performance, in both the mining and automotive fields. Despite these achievements, Patrick remains a humble man, with a life philosophy to “deliver on what you commit to, and always to leave good footprints”.
Vision and a warranty of excellence are the cornerstones of Patrick’s business philosophies. lated into vastly improved service levels. Administration, procurement, HR management, and all the other areas of business have received management focus and key area examination, and the transformation is well under way. And Patrick is no Pollyanna; everything is measured and monitored. Targets are set, variances are addressed, and group and individual incentives based on performance, attitude and attendance have created a clamouring from newly motivated staff to be “star of the month”, and an uplifting spirit that has transformed the company. Next month, ABR shall delve a little deeper into this wonderful example of management by motivation.
Treading a Conscientious Path
Romano Daniels, Public Relations and Marketing General manager of Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd, is a difficult man to satisfy. Even though Bridgestone has been rated number one in the industry in raising awareness about tyre safety by Monitoring South Africa, he says that the job is still far from done. Whilst humbled by the response to Bridgestone’s various road safety initiatives, Romano has a “serious and genuine belief that so much more has to be done”, and he commits himself and his company to going far further in these endeavours.
hat is behind this fervent and even evangelistic approach? The answer, according to Romano, lies in the DNA of Bridgestone. This DNA was forged when Shojiro Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Corporation, as a young adult observed that most of the injuries in the Japanese mining and agricultural industries were foot injuries, specifically injuries to the soles of the feet. This led him to develop protective rubber shoes, with the emphasis on the underside protection. This innovation significantly reduced foot injuries in these industries, and this combined fascination with rubber and safety ultimately evolved into a conRomano Daniels, scientious path and a clear vision – to serve society by providing people with quality product. Shojiro Ishibashi was ambitious enough to dream that his quality products would earn the satisfaction of cusPublic Relations and tomers, but he never dreamed that his company would become the global enterprise it has. Literally translated, Ishibashi means “stone bridge”, so Bridgestone was named after its founder. The rest, as Marketing General they say in the classics, is tyre history, with Bridgestone Corporation, from its humanitarian beginnings in 1931, eventually purchasing the iconic Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1988, and the merg- Manager at Bridgestone ing of the stones being merely coincidental, which is a pity, because it would have made a great story. SA, flies the tyre safety Bridgestone is currently rated first in the global tyre market, with Michelin second, Goodyear third flag at Bridgestone and Continental fourth. The Bridgestone Group now has 141 production facilities worldwide, spread around 24 countries. Not bad for someone who cared for people’s feet! As a matter of interest, Shojiro Ishibashi is so revered, that even though he is long deceased, the number one position at Bridgestone Corporation is reserved for him, as a ceremonial reminder of the values that he preached, and as a reminder to his successors of the obligation to continue to tread his path and to honour his philosophies. Not surprisingly, road safety and tyre safety receive enormous emphasis at Bridgestone, both globally and locally. The highest quality implies the highest levels of safety and the highest levels of integrity, and this is what ABR shall look at in the next issue of “Treading a Conscientious Path”.
Our Mission: Serving society with superior quality
To customers: Contribute to continuing advances in the fundamentals of safety and in other basic elements of the quality of life. Convey our passion to customers through innovative and exciting new kinds of value that capture the imagination. To shareholders: Maximise shareholder value through continuing growth in sales and earnings over the long term. Fulfil our accountability to shareholders and distribute earnings to them through reasonable and stable dividend payments. To business partners: Concentrate on advancing mutual interests through close communication in all dealings with partners. Identify issues of common concern and work together on improvements to resolve those issues. To employees: Honour individuality and provide a safe and stimulating workplace environment. Provide opportunities fairly to all employees and evaluate their performance on the basis of effort, as well as results.
We inherit the words and the spirit of our mission from our founder. His emphasis on superior quality means striving for excellence in technology, in products and service and in all our activities. The quest for excellence is a quest for every individual at every Bridgestone Company. So we encourage each other in the spirit of mutual respect and help one another make the most of our potential. Our commitment to quality is a worldwide commitment. We share the values of the community, including the universal desire for a sound environment and we work conscientiously to improve the quality of life for people everywhere.
To the community: Bring added benefit to the community through support for cultural activities and other public interest undertakings. Be proactive in working to protect and improve the global environment.
Bridgestone's Winning Spirit - Trust, Pride and Quality
Whither Formula 1?
by Roger McCleery
On the upside of Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing in 2008 was some extraordinary racing at high speed and a finish to the season in Brazil that could not have been scripted both for excitement or drama.
Richards, formerly boss of BAR Honda could take over as well. All will be revealed before the start of the season in Australia, a country thinking of bailing out of GP racing after 2010 if Bernie Ecclestone’s demands continue. To add to the woes of GP racing teams are the staging costs of a GP. This figure is thought to be R600m per race. Going away from the traditional home of Grand Prix racing in Europe, the Far East countries are starting to look like non-starters. Fuji in Japan had lower attendances, as had Shanghai and Malaysia. Singapore, had the honour of spending huge amounts of dough on a novel night race, which was a pretty dull procession due to the nature of the circuit. Even in Europe. France, which started Formula 1 racing more than a hundred years ago, said ‘No Thanks’. Hockenheim in Germany lost a fortune, Silverstone who hosted the first Formula 1 Grand Prix race post-war also packed in the crowds to see Hamilton lost money. They will be dropped from the calendar in favour of Donnington. They say Turkey was paid for by Ecclestone. Canada with their full house boosted by USA crowds has also departed the calendar for the of non-payment of monies owing. Now Formula 1 mad Spain with two Grands Prix thanks to the brilliance of Alonso, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, Monaco and Brazil seem happy to continue, or at least they haven’t said otherwise. See what I mean about Europe being the traditional home of GP. The oil rich Arab countries with a new circuit to open this year are likely to have fairly empty stadiums due a lack of interest, but are also happy to continue. What has happened? Staging costs are high ands ticket prices of necessity have gone through the roof and are ultra expensive. Also racing pre-2008 was generally a procession. Will Formula 1 Grand Prix racing continue? Of course it will. Things will change. Costs will come down for everyone. Cars will be more passing friendly although the new wings they have tried look dreadful. Maybe the Formula 1 circuits will become more spectator friendly like South African motor sport, dare I say it, which provides greater competition and entertainment and is spectator-friendly. Try Zwartkops in particular and you will see what I mean. Most important. Notice to the powers-that-be who want Formula 1 racing in South Africa. Leave it alone and let costs come down until South African drivers to compete, which should also all happen in all forms of international competition we have out here. It was like that in the 9-hour and previous Formula 1 races and is still like that at Zwartkops. Put your money into developing South African motor sport, which has provided many world champions on tar and dirt, mostly with little financial help from this country. Your returns on investment will certainly be worthwhile and the country will be behind you.
he best races of the year in my book are those that were run in damp or wet conditions. Silverstone, Spa, Monza and Brazil come to mind. Rain always neutralises, No 1 the performance of the cars and No 2 the talents of the drivers, some of whom believe it or not love racing in the rain. It also puts more emphasis than normal on the pit crews who can return the car to the track in 6 seconds. It brings team strategists looking at weather forecasts to decide on tyre choices – either full wets, intermediates or dry tyres and wing settings.
What some people say about the best season Formula 1 racing has had in its 58 year history is that Lewis Hamilton didn’t win for McLaren, but Ferrari lost it for Massa thanks to an engine breakdown in Hungary when in the lead and the fuel hose problems the team had in Singapore. Ferrari had a high-tech complicated light system to tell the driver when to depart his pit stop instead of using the time-honoured paddle system, which they went back to in the Japanese Grand Prix that followed. People also forget that teams are under tremendous pressure all year so can make mistakes which they do. All this adds to the drama of the season. The season finished on a high with Hamilton becoming World Champion by a solitary point in the last 300m in the last race, with the Briton being honoured in the Queens Honours List for his achievements. All this excitement and big spending went on in a world that from September was showing signs of crashing financially thanks to the financial cowboys that look after the world’s monies. Even in September, Max Moseley was warning teams to stop spending so much and to make racing cheaper. This at a time when the FIA President was fresh from a sex scandal, which is now forgotten despite the hand on heart types condemning his conduct in a world that really doesn’t give a toss about his private life. They pooh-poohed proposals from Max and Bernie Ecclestone to go over to one make of engine that had to last four races, Grand Prix medals like the Olympics, gearboxes that were cheaper than the $10m and less complicated and cheaper and had to last many more races almost fell on deaf ears, until the downside of the year. Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing and put the team up for sale. Wow! That left only 9 two-car teams to compete in 2009. A field under 18 cars according to Formula 1 rules can’t be called a GP. Quick confirmation was gathered from other teams like Toyota that they were to continue racing despite the massive downturn in the vehicle market. To make things worse for the Japanese, Suzuki and Subaru also pulled out of world rallying. Suddenly there was a crisis. Moseley’s vision made only a few months ago was right. Costs said Max must come down from £200m per year to £32m for a GP team if they want to survive and attract others to the sport. A Mexican Billionaire was quoted (since denied) as interested in the 800-man staffed Honda team. Rumours also abounded that Dave
Mazda’s best kept secret
by Adam Ford
Don’t tell anyone but I’m about to let you in on one of motorings best kept secrets.
he chances of buying a bad car today are quite remote, drive any new car today and you will understand what I mean. Modern technology and research from manufacturers makes it hard to get it wrong. Generally problems occur at dealer level through poor after sales service and shoddy repair work. When buying a new car a lot of ones decisions will be down to how much hype a particular model has been given to sway the buyer to that brands showroom. Then there are a few cars that don’t have the hype behind them… and there are some gems around.
Power on the Individual 6 is courtesy of a 2.5 4cylinder 125kw motor driven through a slick shifting 6 speed manual gearbox, the engine that is smooth and quite poky delivers more than enough power to satisfy the target market. For a treat we decided to take our kids for a day at the beach, so we loaded them with all there stuff into the car and headed for Sun City, yep that’s my closest beach. On a mix of both good and bad roads the 6 always felt solid and secure and surprised me how at how accomplished it performed the task, I had to remind myself that this was a Mazda I was driving. Nowadays with the cost of fuel the way it is, fuel consumption is always a concern. The 10 days that I had the 6 the average fuel consumption came out at a very credible 9lt/100 km’s, this is a real world figure and about what most drivers will get, not those unrealistic figures that get spewed at us from manufacturers. That’s not bad for a fairly large 2.5lt sedan driven by someone who generally drives with a lead foot. So overall the new Mazda 6 does everything it’s expected to do, and more. This is one of those “secret” cars that deserves more recognition than it presently has, maybe its time for Mazda’s advertising dept to get some “Zoom-Zoom” and let the buying public know what a gem they have, before the buying public forgets it even exists.
One of those unknown gems is Mazda’s 6. Unless you are a Mazda fan you may not even know it exists or you may be surprised to know that they have released a new model range. Current owners of the previous generation 6 will know this is a great family car, easily accommodates five and can suck up all their luggage in that cavernous boot as well, they also know how fuel efficient and reliable the car is. In the new model Mazda have made the 6 even more spacious and also moved up the bar in quality. The previous model was a bit Tupperware but now you can notice the improvement with far better materials and superb fit and finish, and as one would expect from an executive saloon you get all the mod cons, quality Bose sound system with built in cd shuttle with aux connection, speedo cruise, electric driver’s seat, on board trip computer and the usual plethora of airbags, because my test model was the range topping Individual it also came standard with keyless entry and start stop button as well as a nice sunroof.
by Baron Claude Borlz
A few more blonde jokes
A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, 'What's the story?' He replies, 'Just crap in the carburettor'. She asks, 'How often do I have to do that?' A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her licence. She replied in a huff, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!' A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realising that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled, 'PULL OVER!' 'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!' man in, as long as he gets a knock. So, darlings, do be careful, and be well warned by me: Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be. And watch the wicketkeeper, girls, he's full of flair and dash; And if you raise your heel, he'll whip them off in a flash. If you take the field with the captain, you had better know the score; Or he'll have you in positions that you never knew before! The cricket commentator is a nasty sort of bloke, He watches all the action and describes it stroke by stroke. Even the kindly umpire, who looks friendly as a pup; You'll quickly find you've had it, when he puts his finger up! So, darlings, please remember and repeat it after me: NEVER TRUST A CRICKETER, WHOEVER HE MAY BE!!!!!
A tribute to our boys who beat the Aussies in their own backyard
Come all ye fair young maidens and harken unto me, Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be. Randier than a sailor who's been six months at sea, Never let a cricketer's hand an inch above your knee. First let's take the paceman, pure speed from first to last! My darlings do be careful; his balls are hard and fast. Then there's the medium pacer, his balls swing either way; He's really most persistent and can keep it up all day! And watch for the off-spinner, girls, another awkward chap. If you leave him half an opening, he will slip one through the gap! Then there's the wily 'slow', pure cunning is his strength; He'll tempt you, then he'll trap you with his very subtle length. So ladies, do be careful, your mothers would agree. Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be. And what about the opening bat, his struggles never cease! He has only one ambition, to spend all day at the crease. The number three is a dasher, he seldom prods and pokes. When he goes into action, he has a fine array of strokes. And do beware the slogger, not content with one or two; When he arrives at the crease then only six will do. Then there's the real stonewaller, girls, he knows what he's about; And if you let him settle in, it's hard to get him out! We come now to the last man, I hope this will not shock, He doesn't mind if he's last
Did you know that your drivers' licence is on the Internet for all to see?
This is not good for security. Any fraudster can get your ID and Photo and do all sorts of things with it. To avoid this, you need to go to the website and delete your personal details including your picture. The web to visit is actually on a US site. If you are interested, follow these four simple steps: (i) Go to http://www.license.shorturl.com (ii) Put in your name and surname; Ignore the state and city section (iii) Press "search". Then, when it comes up, (iv) Press "delete" to remove it. Relieved you did it? Then help others to help themselves in the same way I just did to you!
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