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Making the Difference
With the current economic crisis, and a credit crunch that is doing severe damage to the automotive industry from Albania to Zimbabwe, eh, make that Zambia, it is those who make a difference that will survive. The question is, how do we make a difference when our product is perceived as a commodity, and there is a large element of the discretionary when the consumer makes a decision?


n the March 2, 2009 issue of Fortune magazine, Geoff Colvin, in his article titled “Yes, You Can Raise Prices”, discusses how a few smart companies are raising prices in the recession, and he provides a matrix to explain how companies use this tool to create different value propositions in which price will play greater or lesser roles. He cites price sensitivity and other factors, but forgets to mention the most important differentiator of all – customer service. Take a look at this matrix

He places products according to their necessity and uniqueness (interestingly, Colgate toothpaste is obviously a very strong brand in America). Poor old air travel seems to have no room to manoeuvre, but this is simply not true. I always choose 1Time over SAA, not because of the price, but because of the vastly different attitudes of the cabin crews. It is in the realm of customer care where any company, whether they sell toasters or brake pads, or provide services such as banking or telecommunication, can introduce elements that make the customer come back panting for more, irrespective of the price. It is in times like these that customer care becomes of cardinal importance; even though it should always be of cardinal importance! And in times like these, if there is little price difference between your product and your competitors, but your service levels are far superior, then the swing in market share will be enormous. The

beauty of it all is that good customer service does not necessarily cost any more. Dr. Theophilus Dreux will tell you this, and much more. It is because of this imperative that ABR has asked Dr. Dreux, the founder of Trilogy Customer C.A.R.E. Academy, to dust off his revolutionary customer care programme, and to allow us to pass on his pearls of wisdom to our readers in serialised form. Even though this programme was written in 1992, it is still as relevant today as the day it was written. In actual fact, taking into account our current economic distress, it is the most relevant it can ever be, even if it was written in 1929. Sound principles and pure philosophic wisdom simply do not age. FederalMogul Aftermarket, a company which ascribes to the philosophy that excellent customer service can significantly differentiate a company from its competitors, is sponsoring this customer care series, and we look forward to Federal-Mogul Aftermarket benefiting from its association with such a superb programme, and a big thank you to them for making it possible for ABR to pass on this wonderful collaboration to our readers and the automotive industry. To all who heed the advice of the programme, take it to heart. Learn from it, and benefit. It may be the survival of the fittest, as we face the latest evolutionary test. The customer care article is on page 42, and it would also be instructive to go to page 84, to see what Sparepro is doing to enhance its customer care credentials.

ABR’s new website is up and running. The test phase is over, and our readers can now look forward to a website that is updated daily with the latest news and views. And our latest magazine is on the web, in its entirety, and if you want to go back to read an old article, it is all there in the archives. All part of our commitment to customer service, and the reason why Automotive Business Review is the most respected and well read automotive aftermarket publication in South Africa, and by default the most influential by far .
April 2009







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The Phoenix What’s the Buzz Industry Update Cover Story Auto Topical e-CAR The Chery Story Vehicle Evaluation Frankly Speaking Managing the Risks Tony’s Take Weighty Issues Tyre Safety Personal Profile

Making the Difference

Motor Industry Shows Faith in South Africa The Prufe of the Pudding Magical Medicine Show A Project of Note Emulating the Bamboo Shoot Down the Hatch Heads or Tails? Small Measures; Big Savings Privatising Profit – Socialising Losses Quo Vadis the Truck Market Tyres’ Contribution to Safety in Motoring Q & A with Phonnie Cilliers

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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Cars in Action revealed an exclusive in late February 2009: The debut of an all-new South African-built Zagato-bodied and Corvette powered super car at the Geneva show
Borne out of the vision of a group of South African arch-car enthusiasts, the all-new Perana Z-one is the first fruits of a collaboration between renowned Milanese coachbuilders Zagato and newly formed South African Vehicle Manufacturer, Perana Performance Group. The 330kW Corvette V8-powered 6-speed manual Z-one is a 2-seater coupé good for a sub-4 second 0-100km/h dash and 0-160km/h in under 10 seconds. Z-one benefits 50/50 weight distribution allowing for balanced and predictable road manners. The secret to the Perana Z-one's iconic performance is the near perfect combination of its supremely powerful engine, light weight design, balanced weight distribution and 6-speed performance transmission.


Audi goes back to its roots - The new Audi TT RS
Audi is once again producing a five-cylinder powerhouse: the Audi TT RS was unveiled to the world at the Geneva Auto Show. Its turbocharged 2.5-litre engine produces well above 250 kW. It also delivers explosive acceleration, driving delight, and unrivalled sound. Powerful five-cylinder petrol engines have a long legacy at Audi, and the turbocharged direct-fuel-injection engine in the TT RS is the new torchbearer of this dynamic tradition. It enables the TT RS to perform extraordinary feats. For example, it needs nowhere near five seconds to reach 100 km/h; overtaking is child’s play; and 250 km/h is the limited top speed only on paper. The quattro® permanent all-wheel drive system, a sophisticated chassis, and stupendous brakes keep a tight rein on the power. All in all, the compact TT RS – with its lightweight and largely aluminium body constructed as per the Audi Space Frame principle – is a driving machine to be reckoned with. The TT RS is currently due for introduction in South Africa during 2010.

Automotive veteran to head up BTM
Bruce Carolin, general manager of MICROmega Holdings Limited’s automotive division, has been appointed managing director of BTM Manufacturing. BTM Manufacturing is a leading producer, importer and supplier of bull bars and tow bars to both the automotive industry and private buyers. Carolin will also retain his position as general manager of MICROmega Holdings Limited’s automotive division. “MICROmega has put a concentrated effort into the future of BTM over the past 12 months, developing our vision for the company and a growth strategy,” says Carolin. BTM Manufacturing is the largest manufacturer of bull bars and the second largest manufacturer of tow bars in South Africa and has been supplying OEMs and the automotive aftermarket with the highest quality since 1978. The company joined the MICROmega group in early 2006 and has proved itself a worthy addition to the group’s automotive division.

CPI Issues Call For Papers and Posters
The Centre for the Polyurethanes Industry (CPI), of the American Chemistry Council, has issued a call for papers and posters to be presented at the Polyurethanes 2009 Technical Conference on October 5 – 7, 2009 at the Gaylord National in Fort Washington, Maryland. In order to be included in the conference program, poster abstracts must be submitted by April 1, 2009, but abstracts will be accepted until September 1, 2009. Submission instructions, paper guidelines and templates can be found on CPI’s Website, www.americanchemistry.com/polyurethane. The Polyurethanes 2009 Technical Conference represents an opportunity to reach an audience of more than 1,500 manufacturers and processors of polyurethane-based products across all industrial sectors.

Honouring Toyota’s Top Dealers
Unitrans Motors made a clean sweep at Toyota South Africa’s annual Dealer of the Year Awards function held in Durban recently, with two of the group’s outlets taking top honours – East Rand Toyota scooped the Toyota Dealer of the Year award for the second time in only five years of being operational, while Limpopo Truck Centre’s Hannes Pretorius walked off with the inaugural Hino Dealer of the Year Award. Citing teamwork, hard work and a strong customer focus as key to their success, East Rand Toyota’s dealer principal Albert Wessels said that he was truly blessed to achieve this great honour. “At East Rand Toyota the customer always comes first and we strive to deliver service of a high standard,” said Albert, adding that in the difficult times currently facing the motor industry one has to think innovatively to achieve continuous success. “A challenge is nothing but an opportunity to show what you are made off.”




Corobrik presentation to Minister Buyelwa Sonjica
On 17 February 2008, in yet another of a series of milestones, Corobrik executives met with Minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica, to present her with a commemorative record of the company’s recently acquired Certificate of Carbon Emissions Reductions (CER). On 13th June 2008, Corobrik became the first company in sub-Saharan Africa to be awarded CER’s for its Lawley factory’s Fuel Switch Project for emissions reductions achieved during the 2005 and 2006 calendar years. CER’s are awarded under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as set out by the Kyoto Protocol, which encourages signatory nations, including South Africa, to reduce carbon emissions.



Mzantsi Truck and Bus achieves international Quality Management certification
Volkswagen of South Africa’s preferred business partner in Heavy Commercial Vehicle production, Mzantsi Truck and Bus, has been awarded VDA 6.1 and ISO 9001:2000 certification by the international Quality Management body TüV Nord. The certification is a requirement for all Volkswagen Group companies and their subsidiaries. Volkswagen of South Africa Truck and Bus Unit Head Chris Glover said the receipt of the certificates of compliance was evidence that Mzantsi met the high standards set by ISO and VDA.

Dare to go bear in Panda’s new colours
If you’ve got a formula that works, why tamper with it? That’s the rationale behind the Fiat Panda’s first change since its introduction into South Africa in 2005. The cuddliest supermini by far (and Europe’s best-seller too!), the Panda 1.2 Dynamic gets a fresh lick of paint (well a couple really…) and a few trim modifications to bring it bang up to date. No changes were made to the model’s original, dynamic shape – which almost amounts to a small SUV – because none were needed… and that’s the bear truth!







Renault knows that radically curbing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is vital in today's world. The brand already figures among Europe's three best-performing carmakers when it comes to average CO2 emissions, and its sights are now set on moving to the top of the order. To achieve this objective, Renault is currently working on the development of low-emission and zero-CO2 emissions vehicles in a determined bid to introduce as many effective technologies as possible at an affordable price. Its work on power trains focuses on these main areas: An unprecedented commitment to the development of electric motors; new technologies for conventional engines; 'Modular' TCe engines; and Twin-clutch transmissions

Five Stars for Mazda6 in Euro NCAP Safety Test
Mazda Motor Corporation has announced that the new Mazda6 has just been awarded the five-star maximum rating by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) in its 2009 combined safety performance test. For 2009, Euro NCAP has implemented a new assessment system that awards a single overall vehicle safety rating composed from scores achieved in four areas of assessment: Adult Occupant Protection, Child Protection, Pedestrian Protection and Safety Assist. The Mazda6 is Mazda’s first tested under the revised evaluation framework.

Two new five-cylinder diesels from Volvo: More power and less fuel consumption
Volvo Cars sharpens the company's diesel offer. Two entirely new five-cylinder, 2.4-litre turbo diesels give the customers the attractive possibility to combine more power with class-leading fuel consumption and CO2-emissions: The high-performance, twin-turbo D5 with 205 hp and 420 Nm of torque. The medium-performance, single-turbo 2.4D with 175 hp and 420 Nm of torque. Both engines are available in the Volvo S80, Volvo V70, Volvo XC60 and Volvo XC70 from the northern spring of 2009. "This is yet another step in our determination to reduce the combustion engine's environmental impact, at the same time as we give customers truly quiet and sophisticated engines with excellent performance," says Derek Crabb, Vice President, Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Cars.

Fiat is Europe’s Greenest Car Manufacturer
Fiat Automobiles is one of Europe’s best-selling automotive brands and for the second year running confirmed the lowest average value for CO2 emissions from the vehicles sold in 2008: 133.7 g/km (137.3 g/km in 2007). The record was corroborated by JATO, a world leader in automotive advisory and research services, founded in 1984 and now operating in over 40 countries. The bottom line shows the Fiat brand ahead of Peugeot (138.1 g/km), Citroen (142.4 g/km), Renault (142.7 g/km), Toyota (144.9 g/km), Ford (147.8 g/km), Opel/Vauxhall (151.1 g/km), Volkswagen (158.8 g/km), BMW (160.6 g/km) and Mercedes (185.0 g/km). Fiat Group is also in pole position for groups (138.4 g/km), ahead of PSA, Renault, Toyota and Hyundai.

NAAMSA Announcement
The Minister of Trade and Industry met with the Presidents of NAAMSA and NAACAM in Pretoria on the evening of 24th February, 2009. At the meeting there was an open exchange of information on the current state of the automotive industry (retail, auto parts manufacturing and vehicle manufacturing) in South African and the difficulties and challenges facing all businesses in the automotive value chain. A number of matters requiring urgent attention were identified and, to this end, a Dti – NAAMSA – NAACAM Task Group was established to finalise specific proposals in regard to possible support measures for the industry. The Task Group will report direct to the Minister.

In the face of dwindling new vehicle sales, there is still some good news on the motoring horizon for car buyers: according to Darryl Jacobson, managing director of Burchmore’s, used cars still represent a real bargain. Significantly, used car buyers also stand a far better chance of being extended credit than new car buyers, because of the equity in pre-owned vehicles. In February 2009, all four vehicle market sectors (passenger car, light commercial vehicle, medium commercial vehicle and heavy commercial vehicle) saw significant declines versus February 2008. And, on a year-to-date basis, the new vehicle market has contracted by 36.2%. But, despite these figures, Jacobson points out that there is still considerable demand for cars. “Transportation is a basic need in this country. In South Africa, you cannot be productive without a motorcar; there are currently no worthwhile alternatives in terms of public transport. Yes, new vehicle sales have dropped dramatically. But, in many cases, this is due to financing being declined. We have not experienced any drop-off in vehicle demand at Burchmore’s – primarily, of course, because we are offering exceptional value for money coupled with choice.”






Motor Industry Shows Faith in South Africa
In the space of less than ten working days, ABR attended three functions, whereby three multinationals reaffirmed their commitment to South Africa.


irst up to the plate was Dr. Hansgeorg Niefer, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa. At a presentation at Mercedes Menlyn on 4th March 2009, under the banner of the Mercedes-Benz South Africa group tackling tough times, the group reported its business results for 2008, with Mercedes-Benz South Africa, MercedesBenz Financial Services, debis Fleet Management, Sandown Motor Holdings and Atlantis Foundries recording a turnover of R35,6-billion, 3,7% lower than the previous year. “The MercedesBenz South Africa (MBSA) group of companies has delivered satisfactory results despite the global economic downturn and its impact on both our international export and local markets. The second half in 2008 was tough, but our group was committed to delivering on the mandate given to us by our shareholders. In our favour has been the continued demand for our exceptional vehicles, produced locally and abroad, and well-tailored services. These not only gave us a means to secure solid sales across our range of premium vehicle brands; they also presented opportunities for our finance and fleet business,” said Dr

Next it was Tata’s turn. Accordion Investments (Pty) Ltd chief operating officer, Phonnie Cilliers, at a networking lunch at Pigalle, Michelangelo Towers, Sandton, on 13th March assured ABR that Tata was also here for the long haul. “We are committed to bringing the benefits of the Tata brand to the South African motorist, who can look forward to some exciting announcements later this year. Just watch this space!” Mahindra Ltd. The vehicle was first introduced in India in January 2009. Earlier this year, Mahindra South Africa (Pty) Ltd was further capitalised with the infusion of an additional R30 million in capital. As a result, Mahindra’s shareholding in Mahindra South Africa has increased to approximately 91%, with the balance remaining with African Automotive Investments Corporation (Pty), a subsidiary of African Resources and Logistics Corporation (Pty) Ltd (Arelco).

The dynamic TATA team: Gavin Robinson, national retail manager, Francie Lubbe, national sales manager, Christo Engelbrecht, sales and marketing manager, and Phonnie Cilliers, chief operating officer; are determined to reinforce the Tata image in South Africa. n 16th March it was Mahindra’s turn. During the launch of its new multipurpose vehicle, the XYLO, Mahindra South Africa committed itself to staying in the country. The new XYLO is a versatile and spacious MPV that is set to redefine the way people are moved in South Africa, and Mahindra has invested more than US$ 100 million in the development of the XYLO, which included setting up a new robotic body shop at its Nasik plant in India, as well as an additional trim line at the final assembly shop. Over 200 dies and more than 1 000 new parts were developed. “The XYLO symbolises the creation of a completely new vehicle platform in the Mahindra stable. We have received very good response to this product in India and are pleased that South Africa is the first country outside India where we are launching this product,” said Dr Pawan Goenka, President of the Automotive Sector and Member of the Management Board, Mahindra &


At the launch of the Xylo: Vijay Nakra, chief executive of Mahindra South Africa, Pravin Shah, Executive Vice President, International Operations at Mahindra & Mahindra’s Automotive Sector, and Dr Pawan Goenka, President of the Automotive Sector and Member of the Management Board, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. “We are here to stay and in it for the long haul. We are continuously improving our footprint around the country and will also be introducing three new models into the South African market during the next six months.” – Vijay Nakra, chief executive of Mahindra South Africa.

Niefer, “The current year will remain challenging, but we believe we have strong infrastructure and excellent products, and expect that the measures we have put in place will enable us to beat these tough times,” he added. The most telling statement was in an answer to the obvious question. “We are here to stay” said Dr. Niefer.
April 2009





CADFund opens office in Johannesburg


he Sandton Convention Centre was the venue for the opening of the China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) on 16th March 2009. Senior officials from the South African government as well as industry leaders from South African and Chinese companies were in attendance to see the chief governor of the Chinese Development Bank, Mr. Chi Jianxin, and Dr. Matthews Posa, treasurer general of the ANC, unveil the plaque commemorating the occasion.
again accounted for the largest number of complaints (11, 1%), followed by clutches (8, 8%), engines (8%) and cooling systems (7, 2%). For further information please call the Motor Industry Ombudsman of SA on (012) 8412945. You can also visit the Ombudsman’s web site at www.miosa.co.za, to view the full report 3 000 and 4 000 respondents and covers 12 makes of truck available on the local market. Not only was Hino top of the list in terms of the combined customer satisfaction monitor, with a score of 92,39%, but it was also the best performer in both the sales (94,37%) and service (91,03%) categories. It placed second, marginally behind Mercedes-Benz, in the parts section (92,78%), although Hino had the lowest percentage of dissatisfied customers in the latter section. Only eight of the 12 truck makes in the survey had overall ratings that exceeded the national average of just over 85%.

Volvo Cars upgraded state-ofthe-art emissions laboratory for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
One of the world's most advanced emission laboratories is Volvo Cars' important tool in the quest for lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The upgraded emissions laboratory was used when developing all DRIVe models - updated engine mapping and rolling resistance were tested and confirmed. The emission laboratory is used for development testing in all stages of the vehicle development process, when for instance the engine parameters have been optimised for reducing emissions. The result is verified by performing a test in the emission laboratory, and this process is repeated until optimal results are obtained.

Chevrolet extends LPG portfolio throughout Europe
In 2009, Chevrolet will further expand its LPG product range throughout Europe. Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain will offer LPG-versions in addition to the regular petrol and diesel range. It is Chevrolet’s strategy to offer LPG versions for its entire product line-up. This will include the brand-new Chevrolet Cruze, which will hit the European dealer showrooms in May 2009. An LPG version of the Cruze will be launched shortly after the launch. LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas), also known as Autogas in some markets, is widely available: In Europe, more than 10 million LPG-powered vehicles are on the road, including 2.6 million in Poland alone. There are over 20,000 LPG fuel stations throughout Europe. Apart from reducing emissions, LPG also offers financial benefits through the tax advantages it enjoys in many countries. In Germany, for example, the tax privileges will remain in force at least until December 31, 2018.

Nissan South Africa (Nissan SA) is committed to working closely with its local supply base to assist both parties weather the economic storm which has severely affected the automotive industry nationally and globally. Senior General Manager of Purchasing, Dave Cameron, says of Nissan’s localisation programme that the local supply of parts and materials remains a key component in the production of Nissan vehicles assembled in South Africa. As such he remains confident that if Nissan and suppliers work together to fight the adverse conditions in which they currently find themselves, the local supply industry has the opportunity to grow. “It’s not a question of hoping to survive but of putting appropriate plans in place to ensure immediate survival as well as a state of readiness as and when the turnaround happens,” says Cameron, currently on a three-year secondment from Nissan Europe. Cameron says that although production volumes are depressed and profitability is further affected by the strengthening of the yen, the main drivers for localisation remain, namely the high cost of duty tariffs on imported products and shipping over long distances.

More consumers turn to Ombudsman
Complaints handled by the Motor Industry Ombudsman during 2008 escalated in value to more than R109 million, or 18, 5 percent, over the figure of R92 million in 2007. The Ombudsman’s Annual Report for 2008 states that this rise in value was accompanied by an increase of 15, 2 percent to 17 039 in the number of complaints lodged with the Ombudsman’s office. The increase in the number of complaints was largely due to damage caused by external factors such the increasing congestion of the country’s roads, ongoing major road works, and the general deterioration of roads, all of which have greatly contributed to vehicle breakdowns. It is heartening to see, says the Ombudsman, that complaints in most instances did not originate from product defects but rather from these external factors. Consumers also played their role in conflict situations during the year by not complying with service schedules, warranty terms and conditions, failing to honour monthly instalments and in some cases purposely or unconsciously abusing their vehicles. Poor service

The Hino (formerly Toyota Trucks) dealer network has come out as the dominant truck distribution and after sales force in South Africa according to Scott Byers’ Comparative Customer Satisfaction Monitor (CCSM) for the fourth quarter of 2008. This detailed, quarterly survey of the local truck market by the Scott Byers Network is based on replies from between




Imperial Holdings launches an intensive management development programme

n these uncertain economic times where costs are being cut and budgets stretched, industrial giant Imperial Holdings has taken the bold decision to invest almost R2 million in a unique Leadership Development Programme to uplift its staff and drive transformation. The objective of the programme is to provide high-quality training to staff in order to develop quality managers within the group. The 64 initial candidates for the programme, of whom 66% are black, have been selected from a pool of high-potential middle managers, representing an array of brands within the Imperial stable. The Programme will also promote transformation within the Imperial group. The training will provide specialised skills and knowledge within the motor industry, including business orientation, financial management and budgeting, stock management, sales management, service management and parts management. A substantial portion of the programme will focus on effective management of people and the development of leadership skills, which are currently lacking within the retail motor industry. The programme will be presented in a modular manner and will run over a 12 month period. What really sets this programme apart from similar initiatives within the industry is that all the lecturers come from within the Imperial Holdings group, effectively ensuring that candidates have access to a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience







The Prufe of the Pudding
What makes a great company? Taking this a little further, what makes a great product? These questions have been asked many times, and there are many answers, some truer than others. What is unquestionable is that time and history play major roles, and what is even more unquestionable is that achievement above the norm defines a company and its products. Ronnie and Bertie Lubner, in their foreword to the PG Group’s coffee table edition titled “PGSI 1897 to 1997 – One Hundred Years”, celebrating a centenary of endeavour; refer to the history of PG as “100 years of entrepreneurial spirit, fortitude and resolve”. The proof of the pudding is in this fabled history and together with the PG Group’s accomplishments from 1897 to 2009 they provide a glimpse of this greatness.

Stewart Jennings

Molten glass inside the furnace where the temperature is around 1450º Celsius n 1897, Jacobs & Dandor was founded as a glass merchant in Long Street, Cape Town, shortly thereafter to be bought and renamed as The Plate Glass Bevelling & Silvering Company by Ernest Boardman in 1899. In 1917 Adolph Brodie of City Glass bought Plate Glass and in 1921 Morrie Lubner joined Plate Glass in Johannesburg – from thereon the histories of the Brodies and Lubners are intertwined like a golden thread with the history of PG, a history that is studded with growth, energy, acquisition, innovation and the shaping of iconic brands. The most iconic of these brands is Shatterprufe®. The purpose of this cover story is to discuss Shatterprufe and its contribution to the South African automotive industry, and the role its glass has played in the safety of the South African motorist. Thus, Archimedes may believe that the proof of the pudding is in his pi, but Shatterprufe knows that the prufe of the pudding is in its unmatched products.


Shatterprufe’s contribution to the automotive industry and safety glass began in 1927 when Ford and General Motors, both of whom had established assembly plants in Port Elizabeth in the
April 2009

1920’s, placed orders with Plate Glass for laminated windscreens, which in those days was a revolutionary product. This led to the establishment of the Shatterprufe plant in Port Elizabeth in 1935, and today Shatterprufe is the leading manufacturer of glass for the automotive industry in South Africa with factories in Garankuwa, Port Elizabeth (Neave and Struandale), and Durban. Shatterprufe registered its brand in 1932, and it is around this Shatterprufe image that this brand has become synonymous with safety glass around the country. Stewart Jennings, chief executive officer of the PG Group, has spent his whole working life with the group, having joined in 1973. He is fiercely proud and protective of the achievements of Shatterprufe, not least its dominant position as the only South African supplier of automotive glass to the local OEM industry. This position is well earned, with Shatterprufe now supplying to all the seven OEMs currently assembling in South Africa. Each of these OEMs has an international parent company, which means that in effect each and every piece of glass supplied to the OEMs has received global approval at the highest level. OE specifications are incredibly tight, which translates into an average development time for a




windscreen of three to six months to meet these specifications. Stewart points out that the local SABS standards are nowhere near the much more stringent OE specifications, which allows manufacturers east of Tibet to reverse engineer these windscreens, and to sell these windscreens into the aftermarket as SABS approved, but in no way are these windscreens equivalent to the original, in terms of inherent quality, shape, fit and safety. Stewart stresses the quality aspect, “Quality is the be all and end all of all our endeavours. The PG Group strives to have quality right through the system – from the finest raw materials through to the meticulous manufacture of the windscreen and a zero defect approach, through to the PG Glass fitment side and the polyurethane bonding materials used. We only use the very best. It is simply not negotiable. It is based on these facts that I can say categorically that Shatterprufe windscreens are 100% safe. Can the other suppliers of glass say this? It is just not good enough to be 90% safe. When that guinea fowl hits your windscreen at 120 km/h and your life is at stake, that 10% margin of error is just not worth it!” It is this philosophy that is behind the fact that the PG

Group has invested R1,6 billion over the past three years alone in upgrading its production facilities, most of this investment in the automotive glass side, which makes Shatterprufe’s manufacturing facilities equivalent to the best in Europe and Japan. Shatterprufe has invested around R50 million in plant each year for the past fifteen years to ensure that it employs the latest technologies. Shatterprufe’s refusal to cut corners makes good business sense. Stewart Jennings says that in the long run a commitment to quality actually saves money, and it ensures a company’s future. He points out that with every new OE model, the quality requirements are being ratcheted up, which places Shatterprufe in good stead, as it is geared up for the challenges. With only the best capital equipment sourced from the USA, Europe and Japan, export orders are streaming in, with 44% of Shatterprufe’s production going to the global aftermarket. This in the face of significantly cheaper product available from the East, which begs the question, “Are South Africans not as safety conscious as the rest of the world?”

Shatterprufe maintains the highest global automotive quality standards through a unique combination of automation and personal attention

Double glazed windows for Gautrain – benefits include security, safety and noise reduction

PFG’s world class float lines produce over 210 000 tons of quality flat glass per annum
April 2009




Know the facts before you buy
“One of the most important safety critical features in modern motor vehicles is one you hardly notice – the glass that surrounds you. Today’s cars use glass panels to add strength and rigidity to their bodies. Glass that fits badly or falls out on impact could easily cause the roof to cave in, or the passengers to be flung out of the car. Additionally, airbags can only do their job if the windscreen stays in place during their deployment”
Before you replace your windscreen or side glass, here are some important questions to ask yourself • • Can the glass be repaired rather than replaced? If it can be repaired, does the chip repair process adhere to the British Standards Institute and the American Standards Institute, and is it guaranteed for life? Is the replacement windscreen or side glass approved by the original equipment manufacturer? Does the replacement glass exceed all SABS specifications? Are the fitters professionally trained to fit the glass in accordance with the original equipment manufacturer’s specification? Is the replacement glass 100% safe? Is the shape of the replacement glass 100% the same as the original? Does the replacement glass fit 100%? Can you place a monetary value on your family’s lives? Is the black ceramic border on your windscreen made from the highest quality materials and environmentally safe?

• • •

• • • • •

I Can See Clearly Now
ince the 1950’s, Widney has established itself as the leading sliding-window designer and manufacturer in Southern Africa. The company is the only local accredited sliding-window supplier for Toyota, Daimler, General Motors, Nissan and Ford. And now it has a new feather in its cap. Widney is one of the select few local manufacturers to be approved as a supplier for the 96 Gautrain coaches which are being assembled in Nigel, and the 12 coaches already assembled in Derby, England. Bombardier wanted a unique modern look for the coaches’ windows, and they just loved the Widney design which incorporates a unified black appearance with a highly glossed finish around an aluminium profile. This involves complex technology but Widney is up to it. The window is double glazed to block heat and noise, which allows for the air-conditioned coaches to perform to perfection. Widney is an old hand at buffing up trains, including the Shozaloza Express Premium Class Dining Car and Lounge Car windows in bronze double glaze, and recently they designed new windows for Putco luxury buses, using automotive green glass instead of the usual grey tinted glass, designed to give an all glass look around a small aluminium frame, and the Meri Williamson, managing director of Widney, who is moving window-slide built into the glass. This unique design gives better vis- across in April 2009 to a senior management position at PG Glass, stands in front of the Gautrain display at PG Glass’ head office in ibility and improved heat transfer properties. Bedfordview, Johannesburg







The PG Group is South Africa’s leading integrated glass business. Group companies manufacture, distribute and install high-performance automotive and building glass. Established in Cape Town in 1897 as a glass merchant, the company has grown into a significant global player with substantial interests in 17 countries. When it unbundled in 1999, the PG Group became a private company, as part of the international PGSI Group. The Group generates revenues of R3 billion a year.

Manufacturer – float & patterned glass PFG Building Glass is the only manufacturer of float and patterned glass in Southern Africa. Each year, the company manufactures 250 000 tons of ClearVue (float glass), and 30 000 tons of DecorVue (patterned glass), clear and coated laminated safety glass, glazing putty, and is also the only manufacturer of mirrors. PFG is an ISO 9001 certified company and has achieved IRCA Diamond status for its safety standards. Manufacturer – automotive glass Shatterprufe is the leading manufacturer of glass for the automotive industry in South Africa. The company also exports to markets in the USA, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. Local brands are Armourplate tempered and toughened and laminated glass. Shatterprufe is ISO 9000 and QS 9000 certified and produces over four million pieces of safety glass per annum. Retailer – Network of installers PG Glass is the leading glass retailer in Southern Africa, specialising in installing new and replacement automotive and building glass. Through a nationwide branch network of 130 fitment centres, PG Glass offers a comprehensive glass installation and replacement service to insurance, fleet, trade and individual customers. Distributor & marketer Glass South Africa (GSA) is the largest distributor of Shatterprufe windscreens and Armourplate toughened automotive glass in Southern Africa. GSA also markets the SmartGlass range of float and patterned glass, laminated and toughened safety glass, double-glazed units, and copper-free mirrors. The company has a network of over 40 sales cen-

tres in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia. Sliding-window designer and manufacturer Widney Transport Components has established itself as the leading transport sliding-window designer and manufacturer in Southern Africa. Widney has been at the forefront of transformation in the motor industry and has become the first black-empowered sliding-window supplier to the South African transport industry. Aluminium framed door and window manufacturer With factories in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Gauteng, Primador is a major industry player when it comes to doors and windows, manufacturing patio sliding doors, casement and sliding windows, shop fronts and shower enclosures and cubicles, complying with government legislation and the highest standards in safety and heating controls. Laminate film distributor LLumar Films (Pty) Ltd is the exclusive distributor of the LLumar brand treatment films in Southern Africa. Manufactured by CP Films in the USA, LLumar films reduce solar heat and glare, enhance appearance, add safety to buildings and vehicles and comply with international testing standards. Distribution agency Sentinel Global Logistics, located in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, is a fully integrated distribution centre, with its core business being the distribution of automotive replacement glass. It has expanded its interests into an integrated logistics business.






Magic Medicine Show for the Motor Sector?
February and March 2009 have been alive with motor sector organisations approaching the South African government, most notably in the form of the National Department of Trade and Industry, for assistance in the acute slow down in demand for its products at both local and international levels. The discussions have understandably been kept by Tony Twine, very tightly guarded by the participants, and at the time that these words Senior Economist, fly out of the keyboard (mid-March 2009) there is no official version of Director – Econometrix (Pty) any request or response in the public domain. Thus, this article turns over some ideas, rather than report on any facts. Ltd
point of departure could be to segment the South African motor sector conceptually into four distinct areas. The manufacturing side of the sector consists of component production and vehicle assembly. The retail side of the industry splits into new vehicle sales and then the vehicle servicing, repair and maintenance and the host of activities that support these automotive businesses. The motor retail trade has clearly been under increasing pressure since late 2006, when vehicle unit sales began an initially slow, but then a rapidly accelerating fall. Dealerships have closed or been consolidated within larger groups. In some instances, where some decidedly fragile looking import operations were established during the 2003-2006 boom period, with inadequate business financing and little or no experience of dealing with original equipment suppliers thousands of kilometres away, badges and enterprises have simply disappeared. The after-market quadrant of the sector remains relatively resilient, catering for a still expanding vehicle parque which is inevitably less cyclical than the new vehicle sales end of the sector.


prised if the DTI does not set the vehicle assemblers, and even more so the vehicle importers, as quite as high a priority for assistance as other sub-sectors of the automotive manufacturing industry. It is well established that many of the vehicle assembly parent companies are reeling under the cosh of the global recession, but their South African subsidiaries are possibly the best placed to sustain themselves relative to other areas of the domestic motor sector. Which leaves the component manufacturing sub-sector as the single most likely candidate for survival assistance. Both domestic and export demand for components, particularly those feeding original equipment as opposed to replacement markets, have collapsed over the past nine months, often leaving the component manufacturers with high inventories of unusable raw and semi-processed materials, which were bought before commodity prices began tumbling in the third quarter of 2008. With strangled demand for components, both balance sheets and income statements have tipped alarmingly. The following factors could influence the DTI to look after the local component manufacturers first: • Generally high local equity ownership amongst component manufacturers • Exaggerated inventory impacts the further back along any supply chain that one looks, during any downturn in final demand • Relatively high labour: value added ratios and employment levels within the sector • Closest proximity to upstream raw material suppliers eg mining and other manufacturing sub-sectors.

• Possession of Government paper assets, like export credit certificates which DTI could discount until industry needs to repurchase them • Potential to switch any existing OE emphasis replacement markets within global supply networks. Whatever format any assistance might take, be it for the component end of the sector or even more broadly, it seems highly unlikely that it will try to replicate the lemming-like charge of the US Seventh Cavalry with huge amounts of cash being doled out into a potentially bottomless pit. We must expect more targeted cash flow assistance, which will not require the tax payer in Kayalitsha to contribute to the future survival of decades of historically curious policies. But supporting the back end of the production column in the form of component suppliers without any attempt at rescuing final demand for their products calls up the specter of Say’s Law, which suggests that supply creates its own demand. The Great Depression of the 1930’s disproved this 17th Century theory once and for all, and it appears self destructive to revisit it. The DTI will struggle to bring about a rapid rescue to levels of final demand in the local automotive sector, and has no chance whatsoever of influencing the global demand. While some rescue remedies may be more appropriate than others, the magic medicine cure will need to be careful of the same precipice awaiting the thundering hooves of the US Seventh Cavalry, its central bank and its tax payers.

As will be noted later, it is important never to lose sight of the final demand end of the automotive production column, but let us think of the double-edged manufacturing side for the moment. Vehicle assemblers in South Africa are nowadays totally owned by foreign parents, as opposed to the mix of local and foreign ownership interests that existed as recently as a decade ago. One may therefore not be too sur-




e-CAR – a Project of Note
Harry Smit is a mechanical engineer, with extensive project management experience. When one visits Hi-Tech Auto Centre at 58 James Wright Avenue, Norkem Park, Harry’s project management background is clearly evident. The facilities are neat, organised and well laid out, with everything precisely in its place. A customer visiting these premises would immediately feel at ease, with the feeling that they are in good hands. This initial impression would be spot-on.


i-Tech Auto Centre is immediately recognisable from the street as an e-CAR member, with strong signage facing both James Wright Avenue and the adjacent shopping centre car park, supplemented with mobile tear drops and prominent signage on the building. e-CAR is fast becoming a household name across South Africa as a port of call for motorists seeking dependable auto electrical and general repairs, so the odds are short that Harry’s new customers are attracted to his premises by the easily recognisable red and green e-CAR logo. Once a customer has visited Hi-Tech, Harry is confident that they will be back. True to his background, Harry treats each customer as a project, with his primary goal customer satisfaction, and the proof of the pudding is that “familiar faces keep coming back”. One very good reason for those familiar faces coming back is that Harry ensures that each and every job, no matter how big or small, complicated or elementary, is approached with meticulous care. For example, if a customer comes in or phones wanting to know how much a set of front brake pads will cost, Harry will not give an answer until a full examination of the brake system is carried out, including an analysis of the brake fluid, and a thorough evaluation of the calipers, the clips, the sensors, the discs and of course, the pads, both front and back. Only once this has been done, will Harry give an assessment based on his thorough inspection, and reveal the cost of the brake pads, and other parts, if required. With this comprehensive approach, it is no wonder that Hi-Tech Auto Centre is highly regarded by the motoring fraternity of Kempton Park and its surrounds.

Also gaining a sense of security and peace of mind are Hi-Tech customers, which includes the Ekhuruleni Metro Council. Anything else from this precise project manager? “Yes, I only employ good people. This is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to run an efficient project”.

Renier Smit, Frans Maaba, Peter Mafotga and Harry Smit giving a customer’s car the project management experience

When Harry established the business two years ago, he chose eCAR as his support base, because of the tremendous support this membership affords, a fact that Harry attests to wherever he goes. A sense of belonging to a national brand with strong corporate image is a critical element, but this would be worthless without the other support structures. Bosch provides technical back-up, training, world class diagnostic equipment and an efficient helpline. Diesel-Electric provides quality branded product at competitive prices and efficient delivery. Combined with the other benefits befitting such an organisation, e-CAR is an irresistible package for a project manager who insists on covering all the bases.

To join the fastest growing workshop network in South Africa and to add a new dimension to your business, contact Wilfried Langenbach at 0860 003 227 (0860 00 ECAR)




A series of articles on the rise of the Chery automobile

by Adrian Burford

Emulating the Bamboo Shoot
results in the car’s first attempt at the Total Economy Run. In the annual Kinsey Report into parts pricing, Chery came out looking pretty good too. An ambitious number of new model launches are planned for 2009. Significantly, Zhou points out that the company’s focus has shifted from increased production rate an emphasis on quality and research and development. “Not only has Chery achieved the status of the best-selling domestic car brand in China, it has also attained international standards for the quality of its manufacturing processes,” said Zhou. Because Chery is so young and still relatively small, they are probably far more able to bob, weave and roll with the punches that are being thrown thick and fast in the automotive ring. And it seems there will be be a few knockouts, even in the heavyweight category. A number of international observers have confirmed the high standard of Chery’s facilities, which boast the latest and greatest that car production has to offer in terms of equipment. Chery has also not been shy about forging partnerships with the best-known European design and engineering houses, which suggests the end result will match up to the claims. While we are yet to see a teenager (rather than a Boy Wonder in the shape of Lewis Hamilton) winning the Formula One world championship, maybe when it does happen it’ll be a Chinese lad, and he’ll be driving a Chery...

Chery seems to be blossoming despite the storm that has lashed the motor industry since the middle of last year, with a number of Chinese brands the first casualties of the subsequent floods to reach our shores.


ast year the brand sold 356 000 vehicles worldwide and plans on growing that to 419 000 by the end of 2009. This in a market which has excess global production capacity and a downturn in consumer demand which is some way from bottoming out. But Chery, which is little more than a decade old (and has been making cars for slightly less than that), sees the current climate as an opportunity to optimise its operations in terms of management, innovation and sales. This is according to Biren Zhou, President of Chery International and Vice President of Chery Automobile, who recently visited South Africa. “Ranked as the top independent Chinese passenger vehicle manufacturer, we believe that Chery has entered another phase of rapid growth whereby annual sales have increased by 30 percent for the third consecutive year,” said Zhou. Chery produced its millionth car in 2007, which is more or less when their focus shifted to the international market, along with many other Chinese brands as sales at home slowed. In 2008 exports topped 135 000 units, a 10 percent increase on 2007, and SA is rapidly becoming an increasingly important market. Says Zhou: “South Africa is currently Chery’s biggest right hand drive market and with the current steady growth in sales, we are considering the feasibility of setting up a manufacturing plant.” If this happens, it will make it the 10th production facility outside China, not bad for a brand which has its roots in the largely agriculturul Anhui province in the country’s East, far from the economic action which has rapidly dragged China into the 21st century. While a potted history of most brands requires very broad brush strokes, Chery can be covered in some detail: founded in 1997 it bumbled along initially, eventually aided by a Shanghai Automotive Industrial Company (SAIC) investment in 2001, which enabled Chery to sell its cars in China.

Answers on p 74

This decade has been noteworthy for legal action by General Motors, which claimed the tiny QQ3 was a copy of the Chevrolet Spark (in turn a rebadged Daewoo Matiz, that Korean brand having been rescued by GM). The matter has subsequently been dropped, ostensibly in the interests of maintaining cordial relations with the Chinese government in what is after all a vehicle market with unparalled potential – it is already the second largest new vehicle market in the world. The local Chery story is short but sweet and company executives are probably planning their first anniversary as you read this. Introduced in May 2008, Chery South Africa has doggedly set out to establish its credentials and there are a number of highlights. These include the QQ3 setting a series of 48-hour speed and endurance records at the Gerotek test facility, as well as returning impressive fuel consumption






Down the Hatch
It’s a jocular toast. It is a preamble to drinking a tot of whatever in one gulp. Irrespective of whatever you are throwing down your throat, by Howard Keeg whether it is rotgut moonshine at R50 a bottle, or Johnnie Walker Blue Label at R200 a tot, it is a momentary sensation of something foreign and fiery doing a peristaltic dance down your gullet. The aftertastes may vary, but the toast “Down the Hatch” suffices for the connoisseur and the bergie. In reality, there is not really much difference between them, apart from an emotional response to a brand or a perceived image.

Crisp, modern styling gives the Chev Aveo a marginal edge in the styling stakes hese thoughts came to mind as I was test driving the Chevrolet Aveo Hatch LS, courtesy of General Motors. The car that was allocated to me had over 10 000 km on the clock, so I assume that this LS was not the latest Aveo. Its performance was closer to the 1500cc 62kW engine, and not the latest 1600cc 77kW mill. Regardless of the performance, which normally correlates closely to the cubic centimetres working away under the bonnet (unless a turbocharged beast), you simply get what you pay for. With the Aveo, normal service resumes. Apart from an unusually noisy engine, the Aveo does what is expected of it with as little fuss as possible. It offers a smooth, comfortable ride, and its handling is precise and predictable. The styling is fresh and modern, and its passenger and luggage space is perfectly acceptable. True to the latest innovations in design, its driving position and clever use of forward space gives an impression of driving a much larger car, and apart from the omission of the audio controls on the steering wheel this commuting marvel could go for any number of hatches now on the market. It is simply a case of “down the hatch” for a motoring journalist looking for something different. As is the case for the bergie or the connoisseur, it comes down to what you aspire to and to what you can afford, or something in between.

Driver ergonomics are well looked after


This is a symptom of the malady now facing the South African automotive industry, and indeed the global automotive industry. Too many cars chasing too little money. It is a consumer’s delight, and a marketer’s nightmare. And this situation shall pertain until the number of manufacturers and the number of models and derivatives are whittled down to a sane level, either by attrition or consensus. With global warming now the hot discussion and carbon footprints the new age measurement, it is the humble and nifty hatch which will move up the market share ladder, and the choice is staggering. The problem for the motoring scribe is that all these vehicles are well designed and any difference in performance is more perceived than actual, so any road test is an exercise in nit picking, with the knee jerk effect and gut wrenching feeling of here we go again. The end result is a Top Gear type attempt at humour and parody, just to keep the reader or the viewer awake. The only advice I can give is to go with your heart, and buy what you fancy. Don’t worry about the minor technical differences; let your emotions take over. And if the Chevrolet bowtie gets your juices flowing, go for the Aveo. You can’t go wrong. And neither can your neighbour, whatever he or she buys. It’s either the black jelly baby or the red one, or the green, it all ends up the same.

All-New Chevrolet Spark: A Mini-Car with Attitude



he all-new Chevrolet Spark made its world premiere at Geneva, a small car designed to make a big statement. It's big on style, big on fuel economy and, like all products carrying the gold bowtie, big on value. Distinctive, edgy styling conveys energy and spirit because this is a mini-car that's as fun to drive as it is economical to own. With punchy 1.0 and 1.2-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines and a five-door hatchback body format offering surprising versatility, the Chevy Spark is set to light up Europe's mini-car segment.






Heads or Tails?
Over the past several months, I have been reading and writing, almost continuously, about the unfolding drama surrounding the world’s motor manufacturers. This process continues, as there is still no clear sign by Frank Beeton that circumstances in the global financial universe are moving in any positive direction, and the outlook for even some of the largest and most powerful vehicle manufacturers is far from rosy. Inevitably, there is continuous speculation over their prospects for survival, with new rumours appearing, almost on a daily basis, of potential mergers, acquisitions and sell-offs. Of course, many of these are flights of fancy, but they still add colour and, in some cases, a sense of desperation, to the broader saga.

s a commentator and analyst, I often feel compelled to make predictions, but to predict the demise or survival of companies that turn more money over in a year than the Gross Domestic Products of small countries can be a risky business. I have no doubt that some rationalisation will take place in the ranks of vehicle manufacturers. Many of these entities were already engaged in restructuring and profit restoration programmes well before the onset of the Sub-Prime crisis, and the currently prevailing market conditions are not helpful in the progressing of these plans. Orderly business restructuring needs stable markets, because fundamental changes to large corporate structures and cultures demand time, a great deal of money, and, above all, predictable cash flows. Some flexibility will be injected by the urgency of the situation, but it will still not be possible to make wholesale cuts in facilities, personnel, social commitments or model ranges overnight. Short of a miraculous turnaround in present market conditions, some manufacturers are bound to just run out of cash, and time, too fast to survive as stand-alone players. This will most likely lead to them taking refuge in some form of bankruptcy protection, leading to radical restructuring, outright closure, or absorption by more viable competitors.


parts of their corporate anatomies in order to enhance long-term viability. The recent dissolution of several extremely large and powerful families has proved that the banding together of well-known brands, with highly disparate cultures, does not always work out. Nevertheless, there seems to be a fairly substantial number of corporate decision makers still embracing the principle of Mergers and Acquisitions in their quest for “critical mass”. Much of this philosophy is driven by the extremely high cost of compliance with ever more stringent international environmental and safety regulation, but it is critical to select fundamentally viable targets and partners, rather than trying to transform them, once they are in the “family”. Interestingly enough, the Chinese Government is also pursuing a plan to rationalise its own young, and highly diversified industry. The initial, modest, target is reportedly to reduce the number of manufacturers from twelve into ten, but there will be many people outside China hoping that the process eventually cuts much deeper. Anybody who has tried to fathom who builds what in China, and has wrestled with the alternative product names used in the export market, will concur. There also seems to be a good chance that Chinese manufacturers will snap up one or more of the brands being hived off by the global giants. In recent years, there has been a huge proliferation of new models from global brands, as they try to milk

the last available ounce of critical mass out of every available market. This has led to the creation of innumerable “cross-over” market niches, and the encouragement of individual geographic and demographic markets to indulge their specific preferences. Why should it be necessary, for example, to have a completely separate model range in the US market to that sold in Europe, and then even more unique product line-ups in Japan and Australia? There can be no doubt that some of these products do not contribute to the bottom line, and will have to go. There is also a possibility that manufacturers will revisit their world marketing footprint, and reevaluate the potential profitability of each export market. It will not be surprising if some recent high profile efforts at internationalizing certain brands fall away. Then there is the headlong rush towards technological innovation. The level of electronic wizardry found in to-day’s popular car models is truly amazing, without even considering their more expensive larger brethren. It is significant that some manufacturers have recently adopted a counter-cyclical approach by introducing new models which are deliberately basic, and several steps back from the established norm. The industry will watch with interest to see how the Tata Nanos, Renault Logans and their ilk are accepted by world markets if the current economic environment prevails for any extended period of time.
April 2009

Even those manufacturers and groups that survive intact, are likely to shed selected





by Séan Jackson

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. The first port of call in this endeavour is to protect against theft and misuse. A close second is thinking smart and keeping costs down. ABR has commissioned Séan Jackson of TRUCKTEK to give our readers a series of tips on Managing the Risks.

Small Measures; Big Savings
Séan Jackson, fresh from a round of RTMS (Road Transport Management System) meetings, quotes an alarming statistic that was one of the prominent discussion points at these meetings, i.e. road transport costs per kilometre in South Africa are the highest in the world! The villain of the piece is usually identified as the truck driver, but Séan cautions against such a knee-jerk reaction.
he truck driver tends to be blamed for all manner of ills, which may be an easy cop out for management, but Séan says this allocation of blame is simplistic, and does not really address the core of the problem. In a perfect world, yes, the driver should ensure that his truck is not overloaded, he should give regular and informed feedback on the roadworthiness of the truck, he should drive his truck as solicitously and efficiently as possible, and of course he should play sheriff when it comes to protecting the rig against misdemeanours such as fuel theft. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect, and South Africa has more imperfections than average. One of these imperfections is the propensity for operators to overload both truck and driver. The consequences are inefficiency and higher costs. Overloading of a truck has mechanical and associated chickens coming home to roost, whereas overloading of a driver creates even more dire problems. An overloaded driver goes into survival mode, with motivation, enthusiasm, propriety, and most importantly, “ownership” of the truck becoming the major casualties. To get the driver to be part of the management team, Séan says, the operator should equip his drivers with the correct training, the appropriate procedures, and the right tools, which includes anti-siphoning devices. Empowering the driver will result in improved fuel consumption, feedback on technical problems (allied to a strict maintenance regime), less downtime and yes, less fuel theft! Thus relatively small measures produce big savings.


There are many other ways to wring savings out of your transport costs, each small step leading to a giant leap in getting your costs per kilometre more into line with international figures.

Séan says that operators must not just stop there. There are many other ways to wring savings out of your transport costs, each small step leading to a giant leap in getting your costs per kilometre more into line with international figures. Séan refers to Kenworth Trucks, a unit of truck conglomerate Paccar in America. Merely by reducing the drag on the mud flaps via a simple trimming and tapering procedure, Kenworth managed to reduce a typical truck’s annual fuel bill by US$400 (over R4 000). For a couple of hundred trucks in a fleet, that translates into close to a million Rand! And by other simple aerodynamic tweaks, the savings will mount up. Another lucrative area worth improving is the shock absorbers. Underperforming shock absorbers affect many areas – tyres, safety, fuel efficiency, etc. The standard shock absorbers that come with a new truck will give you anything from 150 000km to 300 000km of life, depending on road conditions and driving skills. By fitting above average shock absorbers you




can expect anything from 800 000km to well over 1 000 000km. With four times the life of the standard shock, world class shock absorbers will give you savings merely by its lifespan, but additional savings will accrue over the life of the truck via the performance of the shocks. By keeping the tyres on the road under all conditions with no bounce, and by the constant damping effect, excellent shocks improve tyre wear, reduce fuel consumption, and the better handling and less sway contribute significantly to enhancing the safety of the rig and driver. Apart from the desired lower cost per kilometre, ancillary benefits will be lower warranty rates, less downtime, less stress for the driver, and a far happier accountant. The good news for the fleet operator with a wide variety of heavy vehicles is that KONI has a full range of shocks for passenger vehicle, bus, truck, trailer and military applications, all specifically designed for the task at hand. And their versatility knows no bounds, they are even involved in Formula One racing. Another big bonus is that the shocks are adjustable, with a unique setting for each vehicle, and they are fully serviceable. Thus it makes sense to adopt maintenance plans beyond the norm. With the right tools and some smart moves, you can reduce the risks of high costs and damage to your vehicles. As Séan loves to say, “Enhance and Deter!”. He’ll be back with more tough love in the next issue of ABR.





by Tony Twine

Privatising Profit – Socialising Losses
that the benefits of socialism can only grow in an economic environment where growth is driven along capitalist lines. But today, with sectors, industries and markets far removed from the banking and finance markets which gave rise to the current crisis, all floundering commerce and industry are turning to government to try to halt or reverse the problems which the economic system that had led to their prosperity is now delivering as a reality. Free markets and liberal capitalism were much sought after on the way up, but governes that inevitably builds up during upswings in economic growth and boom conditions. While not comfortable, this is almost certainly true. Sectors and industries seeking government assistance to stay alive in 2009 will argue, probably with some conviction and some success, that the current situation is not just clearing deadwood, but ripping the forest to pieces as well. None of them are likely to dig too deeply into why their particular corner of the woods came into existence in the first place, or whether the resources that it uses could better be deployed as the basis for an orchard or a ploughed field. Some governments, wealthier than others, will throw mainly monetary resources at flailing sectors. Other governments, not quite as well endowed, will do their best to appease their populations, who will demand similar but unaffordable interventions like the ones taking place in countries where the accumulated wealth of decades and centuries in the past can be harnessed to patch the damage created by trying to consume tomorrow today. Should governments be expected to buy the excess productive capacity of business which is struggling to survive to grapple with any tomorrow? Certainly every government will have to be selective in what it chooses to save and that will give rise to a substantially new political era. Unfortunately, the heavily depressed global economic conditions of 1929 to 1933 spawned some terrifying political solutions like Fascism, Nazism and isolationism, while entrenching Soviet Communism and preparing a path towards total war. Who can tell where the current path of socialising economic losses in the name of political survival, may lead?
April 2009

World political, economic and financial leaders are struggling to establish some kind of pattern and set of rules that will help their economies claw their way out of the ever deepening and darkening pit into which they have toppled since the middle of 2008. There seems to be an economic theory for every occasion at the moment, and traditional lines of thinking that may have previously been expected from particular political quarters are becoming increasingly difficult to predict as time goes on.


fter the collapse of Soviet Communism around 1990, the global economy appeared destined to run forever along uninterrupted tracks of increasing globalisation and decreasing nationalism. Multi national corporations were rapidly taking over the effective allocation of resources in markets that were steadily seeing trade barriers melting within the large geo-political free trade zones, with cross-zone barriers also weakening. Hidden amongst the renewed spurts of capitalist vigor, which had slewed its way through post second world war bouts of expanding socialism in the west, came the seeds of its own undoing. Wealth could apparently be created out of thin air, a product of financial market keystrokes, rather than hard work. Ever increasingly, people, corporations and national economies borrowed from tomorrow to pay for today’s consumption. It is easy to see that expanding the amount of credit offered to borrowers in any system must force lenders into ever increasing areas of risk. Where they existed, financial market rules were increasingly manipulated to make the risk more difficult to identify as lending increased, but the camouflage did not mean that the risk had ceased to exist. In 2008, tomorrow suddenly arrived, demanding payment from today and there was nothing with which to pay.

ment ownership of losses now seems to be the main band aid sought by hemorrhaging earlier free-marketeers. In the mid-1970’s the South African economy fell into a prolonged period of zero growth, following a sharp decline in the gold price, the metal then accounting for more than half of SA’s export values, together with increased military action in Namibia and Angola, and a rapid deterioration of brittle domestic political stability in the middle of 1976. At about that time, well known South African academic and financial sector economist Merton Dagut, writing in a Seifrets-UAL newsletter, reminded us that one of the positive aspects of economic downturns was that they cleaned out deadwood from enterpris-

Roughly 150 years earlier, Karl Marx had imagined socialism and capitalism only being able to expand at each other’s expense, not simultaneously. Ever since, observers of politics and economics have watched and debated whether Marx was indeed correct. The so-called Washington consensus school of thought would suggest




by Frank Beeton

Quo Vadis the Truck Market?

Since first entering employment in the South African road transport sector in 1968, I have seen the local truck market fluctuate wildly from highs to lows. In those faroff days, annual volumes of trucks and buses totaling around 20 000 units were commonplace, and these rose and fell in sync with national economic activity until 1981, when an all-time record of 30 742 units was set. This was just prior to the introduction of stringent local content requirements for these vehicles, and reflected a hefty pre-buy of the last fully-imported driveline products before more expensive local engines and gearboxes became mandatory. The local content regime eased considerably during the 1990’s, but it was not until 2006 that the next new outright record of 33 080 units was established, followed by yet another new benchmark of 37 067 units in 2007, and a slight drop to 34 659 units in 2008. Most of the growth took place after the turn of the Millenium, and seemed destined for even greater heights, but the market ran out of steam in the second half of 2008.


t would be easy to blame the recent loss of momentum in this market on the Global financial crisis. However, this needs to be placed into perspective against the background of the local economic framework. During his recent Budget speech, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel gave assurances that the government’s R787 billion infrastructure development plan would still roll out. Of this, R50,9 billion has been earmarked for specific transport-related expenditure including taxi recapitalization, bus subsidies, freeway improvements, and maintenance on nontoll roads. Other public and private investment will go into facilities supporting the Confederations Cup and 2010 Soccer World Cup, Gautrain, ESKOM upgrades and the shopping mall revamps that seem to be popping up everywhere.

nent upgrade. Transnet experiences enough difficulty in managing these, so there is little prospect of rail haulage making a comeback in the broader arena, anytime soon. Political rhetoric notwithstanding, road transport will continue to provide the backbone of South Africa’s economy for the foreseeable future. It is also significant that several metropolitan projects for the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit schemes are starting to take shape. Johannesburg has placed orders for 143 BRT units, and the acquisition processes for similar schemes in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban are gaining momentum. In addition, stateowned operator Autopax will receive nearly 1500 additional vehicles to ensure that SWC 2010 is adequately provided with coaches to move players, officials and spectators around its manifold venues. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to understand why truck manufacturers and suppliers have been so bearish over prospects for the 2009 truck market. A survey carried out by the media among industry management at the end of 2008 elicited an average total market of just less than 28 500 units, which suggests a yearon-year decline of nearly 18%. It has also been puzzling that the recent downturn in truck sales has been felt, most keenly, in the top-end Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle segment (Gross Vehicle Mass ratings over 16,5 tons). The multi-axled vehi-

cles that make up this segment are mainly used for long-distance linehaul or construction-related duties, both of which should be direct beneficiaries of the fixed investment-related activities which are said, by most analysts, to dominate the local economy. While this has been going on, there has been some reawakening of the entry-level Medium Commercial Vehicle segment (3,5 to 8,5 ton GVM), whose constituents are mainly involved in the local delivery of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, or operating as medium to long-distance taxis. The economic outlook says that consumer activity is still on the wane, with very little growth in prospect over the next few years. So why are MCV sales picking up? It now appears more likely that the ills in the truck market relate more directly to an extremely difficult financing environment for prospective vehicle buyers, and the somewhat understandable reluctance of suppliers to drive the market with adequate and appropriate supplies, given that extra heavies can be priced at well over a million rand per copy. The macro economics suggest that the latent demand remains in place, but if the suppliers don’t believe this, as suggested by the market forecasts quoted above, and trim their inventories accordingly, the reduced volumes can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is hardly anything that happens in South Africa that does not require inputs from road transport. Ever since road haulage was progressively deregulated from the late nineteen-eighties, rail transport has played a diminishing role in moving goods and commodities to and from ports of entry, factories, warehouses and points of sale. There are two dedicated “single purpose” railways in South Africa – the Richards Bay coal line, and the SishenSaldanha iron ore corridor. Criticism of the former’s inability to cope with the tonnage demand appears regularly in the media, and the latter is due for an immi-




by Marcus Haw


and Their Contribution to Safety in Motoring

As promised in the last issue, we are going to have a closer look at tyres and their life span, while in service on light delivery trucks. We will discuss the vans used for so many varying types of operations in S.A. like the Mercedes Sprinters, Iveco TurboDailys, VW Transporters and Toyota Quantums and many others which pass us by each day on the roads and highways.


yres are subjected to as many different types of use on these vehicles, as on the bakkies we discussed. But there are some extra concerns which need consideration.

One, is that these vans are capable of some serious speed. The tyres they are fitted with as standard are capable of the speeds the vans are capable of, but here lies two problems. One is that when the vehicles are loaded to their full capacity, and high speeds are maintained for long distances, the tyres are placed under severe stress. These vans are also capable of maintaining high speeds on their trips up and down hill all day. We recently noted one such van on the N12 highway to Witbank. It was easy to see that it was heavily loaded as the suspension was riding really low, but at no stage, did the driver reduce his speed below 130km/h. Even if those tyres were correctly inflated, they were suffering. Load and speed at the same time are killers. While the tyres are designed to carry the load, and do the speed, it is never recommended they do both at the same time. The rule is the higher the speed, the lower the load, and to carry a real load, one should reduce the speed. But who tells the users this?

Where is it written down? Hopefully these articles will assist in educating the public users. Generally it is thought that if the tyre says 600kg at 200km/h, and you load it with 599kgs and drive it at 199km/h everything is well within limits. Wrong! Nothing can operate that close to all it’s limits and be expected to last. A tyre always has high expectations placed on it, but realistic thinking is what is needed. The above “rule” should always be borne in mind. The second consideration comes when tyres get replaced. Most often price gets in the way as with the bakkie tyres, and specifications are forgotten. There has also been a growing “fashion” where these vehicles are bought for use as part time recreational vehicles, often fitted with alloy wheels and high performance tyres. They are then loaded to the hilt with quad and dirt bike equipment, or boats and jet-skis and their equipment, along with trailers etc. This really puts the vans performance to the test. Factory tyre specs aren’t even considered on these vehicles, and very often, these vehicles are part of a fleet, which are used in one way over the weekends and are then back delivering goods

during the week days. Tyre safety is stretched beyond all limits, and mostly due to owner and driver ignorance. The van has other serious factors to take into account as well. Let’s look at these now. Loads: As with bakkies, the versatility of the van in service is what makes it so useful and therefore popular. It is also what determines the life and safety of their tyres. The loads can vary from steel fabrications to polystyrene fast food holders; from motor cycles to clothing, and from flower arrangements, to a variety of parcel deliveries. The list is endless. The one common factor, is that usually, the loads are constantly diminishing. The tyres build up heat while loaded, increasing the inflation pressure. Then on the empty return trips the tyres are pounded to death as explained in the last issue. The high speeds generally maintained by the drivers of these vehicles, make sure the heat is retained, especially under the belt pack. This ensures that the integrity of bond between tyre body and the belt package stays constantly under stress. This weakens over time and increases the potential for separation. A danger-




ous condition, which could end where the tyre throws its belt package away endangering both those in the vehicle and those following it. The tyre also becomes extremely susceptible to impact damage, and overall, its life expectation will be diminished. So again apart from the dangers involved, company costs go through the roof. One last thing regarding loads; the load areas of these vans are big square closed boxes. Bakkie’s loads are often limited by the fact that they are open, or when covered with a canopy, the area is greatly reduced. The van has a huge load area all the way to it’s roof and is often loaded all

the routes their vans use, and take special notice of the roads and yards at the end of the highways. These are problem areas specific to vans, but all the other problems mentioned with bakkies are applicable as well, especially inflation pressures. These vehicles need careful management. Then we get to the light trucks. Those trucks which transport up to about 4 tons of bread, pharmaceutical products, pet food, office equipment and so many other products. These vehicles fall into that high risk to tyres area in a big way. Let’s take a brief look at their specific problem areas.


the way to the roof, believe it or not. High loads equal high sway where this plays havoc with tyres. As the vehicle sways from side to side, the tyres take the strain. Heat is generated very quickly adding to the speed and load woes already being suffered. These vans are extremely versatile, useful and efficient transport tools, but must be correctly managed or they can become extremely expensive on tyres. Roads: Most of these vehicles run highway routes, so the impression is that roads are not a concern. This is a dangerous impression and needs to be seriously thought through. Highways are the reason that the high speeds can be maintained, which as explained is a major problem in the life of tyres. But also remember, that at the end of every highway route are less well maintained roads which take the van to it’s delivery point. These roads are most commonly full of repairs, varying aggregate, potholes and are usually rutted from the constant use by heavy vehicles. After the high speeds, and consequential heat of the highways, the tyres are more susceptible to damage than at any other time, and these roads become a real danger in themselves. It is advisable that fleet controllers know
April 2009

Firstly, they are most commonly used in and around cities, as well as between cities. This means stop/start driving all day. Braking forces one moment, transferring of power the next. Load transfer front to rear, and rear to front all the time. The tyre body is flexing and generating heat, and the tread is taking all the forces. Tread life is never very good with these vehicles because of the stop start conditions. But while these conditions do affect the casing, the real damage to the casing is not due to the stopping and starting. These vehicles are usually fitted with a load body, and these can vary greatly. Bread vehicles for example have an insulated body, while supermarket and pharmaceutical vehicles are either refrigerated or insulated. Other product movers are just plain panel type bodies. It is often found that these bodies are heavy enough to almost equal the vehicles designed GVM. Once they are loaded many are over the designed load limits. So we have vehicles with a hard operational profile, running at their load limits, and very often, having extremely harsh underfoot conditions, when deliveries take place in the townships. In many of these places the roads are either in serious disrepair, or don’t even exist. So these light trucks are

working under extreme conditions all the time, but again the impression is that their conditions are fine since they are in-town operators. Wrong! Very wrong! These vehicles are extremely hard on tyres, and therefore extremely expensive to run. We discussed high loads earlier, and the sway they induce. Some of these trucks also have very high load bodies and can be loaded from bottom to top irrespective of what they are carrying. This affects the side sway, and plays havoc with the stop/start front and rear load transfers. In the next issue, we will discuss ways to reduce tyre costs with these high risk vehicles, by managing the concerning areas. Until then, inspect your tyre condition regularly!






The motor industry in South Africa is full of good motormen who know the business. People who are all rounders and who can weather the current crisis, as they are hands on people. Such a person is 48-year-old Phonnie Cilliers, who has headed up Tata In South Africa since the brand was introduced here in 2005. Roger McCleery spoke to him.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE MOTOR BUSINESS? I was a Maths and Chemistry teacher with degrees the length of your arm. First at Sand du Plessis School and then as Deputy Head at Fichard Park – both in Bloemfontein. By chance I met Manny da Canha, who heads up the AMH Group that, independent of manufacturers in South Africa, imports cars into this country. He had seen my CV and he said “Why don’t you think of a career in the motor industry.” He was prepared to train me in all aspects of the business. So I left the teaching profession and went into a dealer called Sovereign Motors in Kimberley as a Dealer Principal. We sold Land Rovers and BMW’S. WHERE DID YOU GO FROM THERE? After six months in Kimberley I moved over to Bloemfontein Multi-Franchises where for 18 months we sold Kia, Daihatsu, Renault and Daewoo. I was there for 18 months when Brand Pretorius, one of my mentors in the motor industry who is the CEO of McCarthys, offered me the job of running Audi Centre in Menlyn. I must have been doing an alright job. Because soon after that, Manny da Canha, who has also been a main influence in my motor industry career, said he needed a General Manager to market Renault. WAS THIS A GOOD MOVE? Well for three years we went places big time. So much so that I was given a fiveYOUR PHILOSOPHY IN BUSINESS? I think my strength is that I like people and I love motivating them. I believe whether you have knowingly or not been sowing goodwill from day to day, you will reap the benefits later. WHERE DI YOU GROW UP? Born and bred on a farm in Griquastad. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE AT SCHOOL? A dentist. YOUR FAVOURITE SPORTS? year contract at Renault in France. Not speaking French fluently, I was moved over to do the same job in the U.K. HOW DID YOU ENJOY YOUR OVERSEAS STINT? Brilliant. Good to meet other people in other markets. WHY DIDN’T YOU STAY? Simple. Manny da Canha said in 2005 he wanted me back in South Africa to head up Tata, which AMH had just signed up with the Indians. HAS THIS BEEN A SUCCESS? Well, we have sold 42 000 LCV and cars with great back-up from the factory in India. It is tough now, but with the right range of vehicles we have, which are right for the times, we are here for the long haul and will probably see an upward trend sometime late in 2010. Athletics and rugby at school, which you had to play unless you were in a wheelchair. At Free State University it was rugby. Now I just love rugby, play golf and am running in the Two Oceans Marathon. MARRIED? 26 happy years to Annetjie. We have two beautiful daughters. The elder one, Monette, is studying for her B.Com Accounting at Tukkies. Elizna is in High School WHEN YOU RETIRE? I must stay active. I have learned to be street-wise in this motor business and would like to pass on all these experiences to others to help make them successful.

A Fiat 500 Show Car Birthday Gift for Barbie®
Just when you thought you’d seen it all Fiat 500 makes headlines once more… This time it’s an original Fiat 500 show car dedicated to the most famous fashion doll ever: Barbie®. This exceptional vehicle, created by a partnership between the Fiat Centro Stile and Mattel, was handed over officially to Barbie® at her fiftieth birthday celebrations in Milan.






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.
Today I’m focusing on one area of business on everyone’s mind at present - Increasing Sales. • • • • • • • • • • Firstly how are you selling? Does your sales person still cold call? What percentage of calls does it take to convert to an order? How much time are your sales people spending on fruitless activities? Is your sales person educating your customer or simply selling? Do you have communication every week with your customers? What is your relationship with your customers? Is your sales person an order taker or a genuine sales professional? Can your sales person generate his/her own prospects for the business? Has your sales person branded him/herself in your specialist area of business? • Has your sales person developed a network of like-minded sales professionals? • Can your sales person stand up and deliver a digital power point presentation? • Can your sales person develop their own power point presentations for prospects? • Can your sales person stand and deliver a motivational talk on your industry? If you would like to know more and wish you could have answered differently, then go to my web site www.s2p.co.za and join my mailing list indicating the area you’ve identified and I will mail you a free preview of my s2p in selling program. Have fun and look forward to hearing from you. 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.


ince my last article I’ve decided to continue with the theme perfect practice makes perfect. In fact this is the theme I will be using throughout the year. Let me explain why? Sometimes we are bombarded by so much advice and information that very often we become more confused and this creates analysis paralysis. My goal over the rest of the year is to help simplify this and stick to one guiding principle repeated throughout all aspects of life and business. Simply put, Ken Blanchard in his recent book “Know Can Do” refers to this as the less-more philosophy. He also refers to the fact that in order to apply anything we need to utilise repetition hence I’m using the practice theme which by its very nature is repetition of application. So much has been written on the theory of motivating people and yet if we adopt one simple principle to perfect our practice the results of applied action change are amazing.

Diamond Editorial Partnership
Giel Steyn


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.

Unscrambling the Code
In previous issues of Diamond Dialogues, Giel Steyn ruminated on the concepts of technology, quality, safety and value for money, and applied these principles when discussing automotive glass, radiators, anti-freeze and automotive lamps. He promises to discuss much more, but for this issue and the next, he asks us to take a step back, and to think about what exactly we are talking about, and to dissect these thoughts.
irstly, what exactly is quality? Diamond Dialogues has covered this subject in quite some detail, but Giel wants us to look at it from another angle, and he refers us to Jim Wade, director of Advanced Training and the driving force behind the UK based Business Improvement Network. In the August 2005 edition of qw, Jim bemoans the use of words that are bandied about by quality professionals when discussing quality. Phrases such as “exceeding customer satisfaction”, “fit for purpose”, conforming to requirements”, “world-class”, “zero defects”, “right first time, every time” all sound wonderful, but in effect meaningless in the real world. Everyone just wants to get on with business, to humble the competition, to cut costs, retain staff, get to grips with the latest technology, and all those good things that face business on a daily basis, and they do not have the time or the inclination to play with words. To address this smorgasbord of indulgences, the American Society for Quality went for a little more accuracy but still rather wishy-washy with “a subjective term for which each person has their own definition”.


his own pound’s worth with a quote that he uses frequently when discussing quality; “It is an immutable law in business that words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises – but only performance is reality”. However, what has really exercised Giel is not the definition of quality, but rather the subject of pirate parts, and the misconceptions around this frequently abused term. Giel is concerned that perfectly good product gets tagged with the “pirate part” label, in many cases very undeservedly so. Before we look at what is pirate part, we need to identify what exactly is original and what exactly is genuine. For the formal definitions, Giel goes to the Collins Concise English Dictionary. Collins defines original as 1) the characteristics that something had when it first existed; and 2) not copied, origin, source, first copy, model that from which anything is translated or copied. Genuine is described thus 1) something that is genuine, is real and exactly what it appears to be; and 2) belonging to the original stock, real, pure, true. Giel’s contention is that OEM parts as well as alternative replacement parts both qualify as original and genuine. He laments the often incorrect belief that the only “true” genuine product is parts that are packaged under the vehicle manufacturer’s label, and that anything packaged in another brand would be classified as “pirate”.

If we applied this idea strictly, then “pirate” could be both good and bad product, because it is generally well known that many components in motor vehicles are not manufactured by the OEMs. They are manufactured for OEMs and supplied to them by component manufacturers, who quite often participate in the design and development phase, as they are in effect the specialist in their specific area of expertise and have the research and development facilities to become the senior partner in getting to a final product that satisfies the requirements. In reality, OEMs are no longer solely manufacturers, they are assemblers. In an ironic twist, and taking this line of thinking to both its logical and illogical conclusion, then the pendulum has swung 180 degrees from Henry Ford’s days. From the sublime to the ridiculous, so we shall banish the term “pirate” from this discussion. And to put this particular argument to bed, we leave the last words to Giel. “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck”; which means that if it looks genuine, and it performs to the required specification, then it is a genuine replacement part. Now that Giel has well and truly put the original vs. genuine debate to bed, in the next issue we shall concentrate on the other misunderstood term, “counterfeit”.
April 2009

Jim Wade is having nothing of this, and he attempts to close the debate with “in any organisation, at any one time, quality is precisely defined by the organisation’s current measurable objectives”. Giel puts in




Trilogy Customer Programme

2) The single biggest determinant of customer care is staff attitudes, and it is this that needs the most focus. 3) Commitment to customer care must be viewed as a “condition of employment”, and must be expected from all employees, from boardroom down. 4) Customer satisfaction must be consistently on the agenda. A culture of client-centricity will encourage continual improvement seeking and avoid complacency and arrogance. 5) We need to treat everyone we interact with, including other staff/departments/divisions, as valued clients. When we look at the entire company as a team looking after the same clients, then we accept that we must work with each other synergistically. The Trilogy Customer C.A.R.E. Programme has been designed to address these issues, and aims to improve people’s attitudes across the entire company. It brings in commitment from Senior Management, and through ongoing evaluation and feedback, provides a framework for ongoing improvement in the way we treat customers, and each other. The C.A.R.E. programme has been designed as a holistic approach to customer care, and is split into 53 modules, mostly an hour long. The selection of modules employed will depend on the level of employee and your specific requirements. Next month, we shall discuss the outline of the programme, and will recommend how you go about implementing this programme in your company.

– sponsored by Federal-Mogul Aftermarket

Which one of these will your


be wearing?

n 1992, Dr. Theophilus Dreux, the founder of the Trilogy Customer C.A.R.E. Academy, wrote a Customer C.A.R.E. Programme to address the core problems in poor customer service levels – ATTITUDE. This was in response to the many customer service courses available in South Africa, focusing on techniques, response times, anecdotal stories and urban legends. But very few even attempted to address the core problem. A company with the right attitude is one in which everyone C.A.R.E.S. about the customer, because Customers Are Really Everything. We accept that the customer, although not always right, does always come first. Our advertising and communications usually reflect this, and yet these warm and fuzzy feelings usually only last until the client experiences poor customer service. All our costly efforts to please and retain clients are wasted as long as we continue to make the same errors. Research shows that 68% of clients that stop doing business with us have done so because they were treated with indifference by an employee. Usually the solution is thought to be training the frontline staff to handle customers. This approach typically creates some short-term excitement, but after this dies down, people’s basic attitudes determine their behaviour again, and it’s back to business as usual. The reason for this is usually a lack of commitment and consistency. To best succeed into transforming our companies into truly client-centric, world-class service organisations, it is necessary to focus on these core issues: 1) The entire company is responsible for good customer care, not just frontline staff.




18 – 21 March 2009
It all started in Frankfurt in 1971 with the first Automechanika Trade Fair, created by a twist of fate with the cancellation of the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. This cancellation was as a result of a crisis in the motor vehicle industry, and whilst serendipity cannot be fingered as the reason for the Automechanika show eventually finding its way to South Africa, it is ironical that the show was held in the midst of another industry crisis – and this time it is the mother of all crises.
outh Africans are resilient, and tough, and we love to buck the trend and to break records. This was evident at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from the18th to 21st March, which attracted over 350 exhibitors, utilising over 25 000 square metres of exhibition space, making it the most successful inaugural Automechanika Trade Fair by far, eclipsing runners up St. Petersburg and Istanbul by a fair margin. With the support of the Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI), National Association of Automotive Manufacturers (NAACAM), National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) and the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC), the show attracted domestic and global big hitters. The consensus amongst the exhibitors was that the quality of trade visitors was well above par, and that their efforts were well worth their while. Whilst no one managed to hook any coveted platinum awards, the many gold and silver awards were indicative of the high quality of the exhibits. Media exhibits were sparse and sub standard, and did not reflect the quality that is available in our vibrant niche of the publishing industry. Unfortunately, Automotive Business Review, South Africa’s most influential automotive aftermarket publication, was not on show, due to a late invitation which precluded effective planning. However, this was not surprising, as ABR is a mere six months old, and we were most probably not in the original planning, which obviously took place months before our creation. However, we are a resourceful lot, and we took the opportunity, despite limited personnel resources, to comprehensively cover the show, and to give our discerning readers an overview of the events and exhibits. And we promise our readers that next time the show comes round we shall be ready to exhibit and to participate innovatively and constructively, and to fly the media flag with imagination and verve, and to use our imagination and influence in making Automechanika South Africa an iconic and well attended event.


RMI Conference: “Survival in these
times: an industry perspective”
Nicky Weimar (Nedbank Economist) – Economic overview and prospects for 2009 Global perspective – “The developed world has borrowed and spent themselves into a recession” South African perspective – “We’ve watched with horror, and we’ve listened and talked ourselves into our own recession” – Ed’s comment “a self fulfilling prophecy?” The Weimarian good news – The turnaround in South Africa will come as early as the third quarter of 2009, on the back of interest rate cuts of anything from 3,5 to 4,0% in 2009.

Clem Sunter (Consultant) – Survival in these Times
In these turbulent and unpredictable times, the fox shall trump the hedgehog. Flexibility and speed will beat a single minded approach. From a global perspective this recession is most likely the prelude to the end of American dominance. New technologies in the form of energy and renewable sources shall herald more balanced global dynamics. The world should come out of its funk relatively smoothly, but there are four flags to watch out for: protectionism; a major military conflict; a national bankruptcy in either Hungary, Poland or Ireland; or a Chinese meltdown. The South African scenario is more dynamic. We are in the premier league of nations, but we are in the relegation zone. We need to up our game, but on the bench sits violent crime, HIV/AIDS, infrastructural deficiencies and uncompetitive industries. The good news is that we are the only African country in the G20, and if we take the high road of inclusive leadership, improving our infrastructure, and creating a successful dual logic economy, we can move up the league table. Further gains can be made by adding value to our resources, taking tourism to new heights by leveraging off 2010, and reinforcing our logical position of being the gateway to Africa. Things are looking good for South Africa, not because we’re great, but because the others are looking bad.
Ed’s comment: Clem Sunter had some advice for the automotive industry. His first bit of advice was around the high inventory levels of vehicles. He said that the best way to liquidate vehicle stock was to cut prices. He even cited the apocryphal story of a Porsche dealer who cleared the showroom by offering two cars for the price of one (the true story was that it was a serious blunder by a overzealous and arithmetically challenged sales manager who is now unemployed). Yes indeed, you do reduce your inventory levels in a hurry and you do get an amazing short term boost to your liquidity, but there is that unwelcome reality called the income statement, and the nasty little habit of shareholders and bank managers and other inquisitive stakeholders of analysing said statement. When Brand Pretorius heard this suggestion, he swallowed his peppermint and nearly needed the Heimlich manoeuvre. If Brand followed this advice, people would soon be bidding for his vest. Clem Sunter’s second suggestion was far more pragmatic and does indeed need further investigation. To forego retrenchments maybe the industry should look at an across the board wage and salary cut. More on this later. April 2009

Over and above the enthusiastic participation of the majority of exhibitors keen to salvage something from the midst of an industry “perfect storm” (as described by Brand Pretorius in ABR’s February 2009 issue), the highlight of the show was the high quality of conferences, media briefings, workshops and the like co-ordinated by various forward looking organisations. We have dissected and diced these events into easily digestible bites:


Brand Pretorius (CEO McCarthy Group) – Survival in these Times: A Franchise Dealer Perspective
The industry is in a perfect storm, with vehicle sales down 50% on its 2006 peak, and investments and capacity are based on these 2006 numbers. The situation is unique and fundamental change is required. It takes time, but restructuring, refocusing and a different emphasis is now called for. Very high fixed costs, primarily long term lease obligations, are forcing many dealers to hang in there, resulting in high discounts, special schemes, stress selling, and a myriad of other ways to get product to move. This has resulted in net margins on new vehicles to drop as low as 1,3%. The good news is that used vehicles are starting to rebound, and parts and service divisions are showing growth.

Further significant rationalisation is needed, as metropolitan dealers need a higher volume throughput. The consequence is going to be job losses. To ease this haemorrhaging Brand Pretorius is appealing for partnerships between OEMs, importers and dealers. To give constructive assistance to dealers, the OEMs need to become more pragmatic and to compromise on unrealistic standards. Dealers need more favourable business terms, margin restoration on vehicles, parts and service, and they also need to optimise supplementary income. With an implosion at dealer level, the long term consequences for the brands, to paraphrase many erstwhile leaders, are too ghastly to contemplate. Thus the focus has to be on reducing asset levels, aggressive cost cutting, productivity increases, a higher level of after sales contribution, and a fanatical approach to

customer retention. The advice from Brand is doses of tough love and spoonfuls of sugar to help the medicine go down. He says that we have no option but to stay optimistic and upbeat. We must hold on to longer term visions and objectives. Self management skills become key priorities, and don’t compromise on your ethics. Make discipline a way of life, and make tough calls early. Watch cash flow like a hawk and protect key relationships. Keep talented people and become an inspirational leader. Easier said than done, but definitely not impossible. Brand’s core message is that there is still hope, and he expects an overall improvement in South Africa’s environment in the last quarter of 2009. Hang in there as “these times shall also pass”.

Guy Harris (Group Strategy & Public Affairs Director, Bell Equipment) – Does South Africa need a Capital Vehicle, Equipment and Component Industry? The MIDP (Motor Industry Development Programme) achieved its objectives, but at a cost of R120 000 per annum per job, and very little financial benefit to the car buyer. All OEMs and the majority of component manufacturers are offshore owned, so the benefits in reality are being realised offshore. Capital vehicles require 40 times more employees than passenger vehicles per vehicle, with the added benefit of local design and vertical integration. Local is therefore lekker, and the question is “Is industrial policy decided in Peoria or Pretoria?” The plea is for the MIDP and its successors to be applied to capital items as well. We should develop the whole industry, not just the glamour toys. A case in point is the tractor industry. A vibrant segment of the economy lost its duty protection, with no safety net and the result was the demise of a strategic manufacturing base. Is the capital equipment industry going to go the same way?

David Bullard, Master of Ceremonies, Clem Sunter, Scenario Planner, and Jeff Osborne, CEO RMI, played key roles at the RMI Conference

Three Presidents in one room, and not a bodyguard or blue light in sight! Stewart Jennings, President NAACAM, Ferose Oaten, President RMI, Davis Powels, President NAAMSA, were keynote speakers at the RMI Conference, and contributed significantly to a well rounded and extremely informative forum Ian Groat (Publisher) – Is Car Design Outstripping Repairability? The car industry is focusing more on safety rather than repairability. The emphasis on performance, economy, emissions and vehicle size, together with end of life dismantling legislation and a rapidly diversifying car parc, and you have a witch’s brew of complexity facing the modern day repairer. The high use of aluminium, hybrid metals and composites, is creating a situation where it takes three times longer to repair than the good old days. Equipment costs are soaring with the requirements around laser welding, hybrid welding, self piercing rivets, ultrasonic technologies and wiring . Another sticky issue is the use of adhesives, with the modern car made up of up to 120 kg of adhesives. All this technology is invisible until you have an accident, and then the “poppe dans”. The solution is for the industry to work together to overcome the issues and to minimise costs. The insurance industry has become a hard taskmaster – the repairing game is not for sissies.




Stewart Jennings (President NAACAM) – Into 2010 and Beyond: An Industry Perspective The current financial crisis is having a significant impact, and the component industry is more vulnerable than new car dealerships and certainly more vulnerable than the OEMs. It faces all the challenges of the manufacturing sector, whilst being vulnerable to OEM strategies and whims. All OEMs in SA are 100% foreign owned and globalisation strategies predominate. Thus, whilst over 80% of the cost of motor vehicles is in components, the procurement functions are influenced and controlled from offshore, and in many

cases have non South Africans at the helm. The South African government, particularly the treasury, does not understand the challenges, importance and needs of the manufacturing sector, which makes up 16,5% of GDP. We have inappropriate policies for a developing country, no free labour market (and the most expensive labour in the world), the threat of deflation and stagflation, and South African component manufacturers are particularly vulnerable on short term working capital. What is needed is aggressive interest rate cuts, a focus on the unemployed and a focus in manufacturing, tourism and small enterprise building activities. The aforesaid is in the national interest. More on a

micro level, we need more conviction from the OEMs to support the local industry, particularly from the OEM leadership and NAAMSA. We also need a levelling of the playing fields vis a vis globalisation, and a weakening of the Rand to increase the viability of the component industry. Short term bridging finance is also required, and appropriate protection against dumping, etc. Strong lobbying from the local manufacturing centre is an imperative, and the current crisis could be the catalyst for a much needed new economic vision on manufacturing and vehicle production. Perhaps the component industry will take the lead out of necessity.

Petro Kruger (RMI Road Safety Foundation) – International Call for a Decade of Road Safety Road deaths are a global epidemic which is being ignored by global leaders. Make Roads Safe is an international campaign to put road traffic injuries on the G8 and UN sustainable development agendas, led by a coalition of road safety and public health organisations. The aim is to procure US$300 million for an action plan to improve road safety in developing countries, and to halve the projected increase in road deaths by 2020. Concomitant to this is to ensure that at least 10% of development budgets for road infrastructure provided by the World Bank and other major lenders and donors are dedicated to road safety. Why do we need international action? Road traffic crashes kill more than 3 000 people, including 500 children, every day, with many more injuries. More than 85% of these casualties (and 96% of child deaths) occur in low and middle income countries, with pedestrians and breadwinners bearing the brunt. By 2015 road crashes will be the leading cause of premature death and yet international efforts to combat this scourge commands only a tiny fraction of resources deployed to fight malaria, etc. South Africa is no exception, with more than 15 000 people killed per annum, or 42 per day.

David Powels (President NAAMSA) – The South African Automotive Industry – Where have we come from? Where are we going? South Africa is still a minnow in the vehicle production stakes, producing a mere 0,7% of global production. We simply do not have the scale or critical mass to make a difference. The dynamics of global vehicle manufacture are also changing. Established markets are stagnating, whilst India and China are accelerating. South Africa’s position is basically of its own making. The inefficiencies of the industry came out of the history of the local content programme. Phase One to Phase Five were primarily weight based, with the focus on value only shifting with Phase Six in 1989. The MIDP radically overhauled the programme in 1995, with the resultant benefits of 59 brands and 1336 models available to the consumer in 2009, vs. 17 and 102 respectively in 1994. The consumer has also had the benefits of keener pricing. With the exception of 2000/2001, vehicle price

inflation has consistently been below the CPI rate since 1995. Quality has also improved dramatically, with improvements in faults reported down by over 50%. Investment in the industry has soared, and profits have been reinvested. Productivity has also improved, with 14,7 units per employee in 2008 versus 9,4 in 1997. Employment levels have stabilised and exports have soared, for both fully built up vehicles and components. The balance of payment situation has also improved, with the automotive industry trade deficit down to R5 billion in 2008, compared to a R13 billion deficit in 1995. GDP share has also increased. What cannot be ignored is that if the country had no automotive industry the implications would be significant. The five goals of the MIDP have been met, some more significantly than others. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. Using the Western European cost index as our base, South Africa is still over 20% less competitive than the established manufacturing bases in Europe, and we

are a staggering 40 to 50% less competitive than China. India, Mexico and Eastern Europe are also extremely competitive manufacturing bases. The “Silver Bullets” needed to survive in the medium to long term are: • • Local content levels need to increase from below 40% to above 70% Average volumes to increase to 100 000 units p.a. per platform 75 000 to

• • • •

Supplier competitiveness to improve to Western European levels, at least A major industrialisation strategy is required in the supply industry APDP as well as IDC to improve their support levels for this strategy Productivity to improve dramatically – to over 30 cars per employee per annum Massive investment needed in training and skills development




o satisfy international consumer demand for fuelefficient, affordable cars, vehicle manufacturers will invest heavily in relevant new models, products and technologies over the next five years. Hybrid systems and electric and battery technology will receive the greatest investment. This is according to an annual global survey of the international motor industry by KPMG International. In the KPMG survey, which was conducted during late September and October 2008, a total of 200 executives were interviewed representing vehicle manufacturers and suppliers in Canada, the US, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, India, China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia. KPMG has released an annual survey of automotive executives expressing their views on the state of the industry since 1999. At the same time, the KPMG survey reveals that only 15% of executives expect profits to increase this year, 24% expect a decline, with 46% indicating that profits will be too volatile and unpredictable to forecast. “This is a clear indicator of the automotive industry in crisis, with 85% of executives unsure if they would be profitable” says Gavin Maile, Africa Chair of KPMG’s Automotive Practice. “And it is extremely likely that the situation has worsened further in the first months of 2009”. Tony Twine, director of Econometrix, began the proceedings with an overview of the reasons for the industry’s impasse and he pointed out the short term challenges, and he concluded with a vivid description of what industry executive are going through. “When you are up to your nether regions in alligators, it is difficult to remember your original intention of draining the swamp.”


Key players at the AIDC Workshop

AIDC Workshop:
Surviving the Downturn
On the 20th March 2009, Automotive Business Review was witness to an extraordinary collaboration of stakeholders in the automotive industry, who came together at the Black Eagle Conference Room at Nasrec, to workshop on “identifying critical actions to assist in addressing the future of retrenched workers in the automotive industry”. The background to this workshop was the broad retrenchments within the broader automotive sector, reported to be well over 40 000 over the past few months. The AIDC have thus engaged with a number of key stakeholders to understand the current crisis and to identify possible solutions to reduce the impact. The Coega Development Corporation has done groundbreaking work around these issues in the Eastern Cape and joined forces with the AIDC to combine inputs into a collaborative workshop on a national level, to hopefully identify ways to ameliorate the situation. NAAMSA, NUMSA and NAACAM gave presentations on their views of the situation, and then it was down to work, as five groups worked independently of each other to identify the key issues, and then to propose solutions to the crisis, under the watchful eye and ear of facilitator Lawson Leslie. With the solutions whittled down to ten proposals, the teams then voted on the two best solutions, which were adopted as the proposed action plans to be taken back to the constituencies, and hopefully to be implemented by the co-opted bodies. Briefly, the two proposals were: 1. The establishment of a national data base, identifying skills and availability of retrenched personnel, to facilitate training and future reenrolment. 2. The promotion of SMMEs within a broad environmental policy. ABR shall monitor the progress on these action plans, and shall report back regularly on this progress.

Never let it be said that accountants cannot be creative. The table display at KPMG’s presentation at Automechanika on the 20th March had many messages. It warned us to tread carefully, as times were blooming hard. Like the Proteas, we have our ups and downs, but we must take a leaf out of Churchill’s words, “If you’re going through hell, put the rubber on the road and keep going!” The sunflower indicates that there are sunny times ahead, even though you may have left an ear behind.

Ed’s Note: I really believe this workshop came a few months too late. It would have been much better to have workshopped on how to avoid retrenchments. My suggestion? Everyone goes on a three day work week, and EVERYONE, including the CEO, takes the commensurate pay cut. Yes, I know there are hurdles and legalities, but with enough will, these can be overcome. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and just imagine, if everyone bites the bullet, how strong and cohesive the team will be when the good times return.




2009 Mikar Conference

Supplier of the Year – PARTQUIP

Member of the Year – PART-MAN

Chairman’s Award – Fred Nasser

ust a stone’s throw away from the Johannesburg Expo Centre, the 2009 Mikar Conference was hosted by the executive team of Mikar and Imperial Auto Parts. The conference took place on 18th March at the Gold Reef City Conference Centre, and concluded with a magnificent awards evening that lifted the spirits of the delegates and guests, particularly those who had slipped across from the RMI Conference at the Automechanika, which had some sobering messages. Imperial Auto Parts and Mikar have blazed an independent streak across the automotive firmament, which has contributed balance to the distribution side of the aftermarket and has


offered an attractive alternative to those with an entrepreneurial bent, and the night of the 18th March was testament to this pioneering partnership, and it culminated in a fitting tribute to Fred Nasser, who received the Chairman’s Award for his foundation efforts a few years ago. The evening ended with 45 minutes of side splitting comedy dished out by John Vlismas, who gave new meaning to the term “shark attack”. The winners of the main awards were congratulated by Imperial Auto Parts chief executive officer, Deon Botha, and procurement executive Terry Brand.

Monroe Launches New Products and 2009 / 2010 Product Catalogue
ighlights at Tenneco’s stand at Automechanika included the new Monroe® Quick-Strut and Maxlift ranges included in the 2009 / 2010 Monroe® catalogue, expanded Magnum truck and bus and Rancho shock and kit ranges, the Rancho MyRide remote wireless shock absorber adjustment controller available as a special order, and the test marketing of the innovative Monroe SafeCheck shock absorber wear indicator. “WE bring the benefits of our OE advanced technologies and expertise to the aftermarket business”, said Megan Naiker, Tenneco Ride Country Manager, Southern Africa. “We continuously offer new product lines, services and support to our customers, positioning Monroe as a genuine ‘solution provider’”.




udges singled out 27 stands from a total of 421 displays for gold or silver awards at a prize giving ceremony held at the end of the inaugural Automechanika South Africa automotive trade show. Representatives of 21 of these companies were presented with gold awards and six displays qualified for silver awards. Although there was no overall award, the managing director of the organising company, Dogan Trading, Pula Dippenaar, said it would have gone to the Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) display which was “outstanding: in every aspect in which an exhibition stand is evaluated”. Award winners included: Africa Truck Parts and Wheels; Beissbarth South Africa; Bosal Afrika; Control Instruments Automotive; Diesel Electric; Federal-Mogul; Marouns Auto Paint; MICROMega Holdings; Robert Bosch South Africa; Tenneco-Monroe Shock Absorbers





RMI Activities
The RMI and their constituent associations were active at the Automechanika with many initiatives. ABR went behind the scenes to give our readers some titbits:
The TDAFA (Tyre Dealers and Fitment Association) held a roadshow meeting on the 19th March, whereby national chairman Herman Erdmann gave an update of the association and its objectives. This roadshow will visit the entire country, including Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Kimberley, and is hosted by Chemvulc. The keynote presentation was an enlightening and realistic overview of South Africa’s current dynamics, by Frans Cronje of the South African Institute of Race Relations. He pointed the way forward and the recipe for alleviating poverty, as practiced by many successful emerging economies: 1. 2. 3. 4. Remarkably effective government Effective public education system Removal of constraints of free flow of capital Removal of labour constraints

Frans Cronje of the SAIRR

Ferose Oaten, president of the RMI, concluded proceedings with an impassioned plea for the RMI members to confront and address the current realities, and to canvas strongly for periodic testing of vehicles, specifically around tyres, brakes and electrical systems. This would not only benefit the industry, but it would also contribute significantly to road safety.

At an ERA / MIWA / SADFIA workshop, Rob Mildenhall, national chairman of MIWA, and Paul Britz of the RMI, took the opportunity to present the Mystery Shopper Programme winning trophy to Swedo Tech Service, and Thys van Eck, ERA chairman, gave a farewell gift to Carlos Soares.

German Ambassador Entertains Automechanika Guests
Influential guests at the function included Jeff Osborne, CEO of the RMI; Dieter W. Haller, German Ambassador to South Africa; Edward Smith, managing director of Trysome; Detlef Braun, management board member, Messe Frankfurt; and Philip Otto, director, Dogan Trading.

To mark the occasion of the first Automechanika in South Africa, the German Ambassador, Dieter W. Haller, held an evening function at his residence in Waterkloof, Pretoria, on Thursday, 19th March 2009. He reiterated to the invited guests Germany’s acknowledgement of the economic importance of South Africa, as Africa’s largest economy, and as a valued trading partner of the Federal Republic of Germany. The role that German companies have played in the South African automotive industry, in particular, provides a rich and storied tapestry on which to ruminate and celebrate.

Sarah Lindsey, project manager, Messe Frankfurt with Dr. Ann-Katrin Nolte, press officer, Messe Frankfurt.
April 2009


oodyear is the winner of the Innovation Award at Automechanika South Africa. The presentation of the Gold Award was made by the vice president, Automechanika Messe Frankfurt from Germany, Stephan Kurzawski, to Goodyear’s regional manager: Gauteng, Bernie Andrews. The winning product is the new Max Tyre Technology that delivers tangible cost savings and improved efficiencies for truck owners, as well as increased safety and performance. In terms of environmental considerations the technology provides a substantial reduction in fuel consumption, lessens harmful emissions and landfill waste. Lower rolling resistance, better braking capability in the wet, less noise, pollution, better operation efficiency, greater load capacity and longer tyres life are some of the claims made of the company’s long haul range of Marathon LHS II (long haul steer) and LHD II (long haul driver) truck tyres, which results in lower cost per kilometre. The Regional RHS II (regional haul steer) and Regional RHD II (regional haul driver) tyre range – aimed at the largest sector in South Africa’s truck tyre market – are said to offer similar benefits for shorter haul operations. All these new generation tyres utilise Duraseal technology, which enables a punctured tyre to repair itself and remain serviceable until it is retreaded. The result is less downtime and improved safety.







Roger McCleery asks the questions
See how many of these 20 Questions you can answer.
1. Name the man who holds the World Land Speed Record. 3. Where in South Africa is it hoped that this rocket-powered car will break the current land speed record? 4. What do the letters ‘DB’ in the Aston Martin nomenclature stand for? 5. The proto-type of the Renault R8 was designed by which motor company? 6. ‘ALFA’ in the name Alfa Romeo stands for what? 7. How long has WesBank sponsored South African motor sport? 8. Name two South African who have won their home Grands Prix? 9. Who owns Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria? 10. What is the capacity of the original Citroën 2CV? 11. What is the Nationality of the founder of the Lagonda Motor Company in Middlesex in England? 12. The nicknames ‘Escargot’ and ’Umbrella on Wheels’ was given to what make of car?

by Roger McCleery

2. What is the name of the new rocket-powered record breaker soon to be used to break the current World Land Speed Record?

13. The original Honda 50cc 8-valve twin cylinder grand prix motorcycle that had a reputed top speed of 200 kmh used what method of braking on the front wheel? 14. Where was a pre-war Grand Prix held in Cape Town? 15. The 2008 WesBank Series in South Africa was won with a car sponsored by a Bearing Company. Name it. 16. Name the Bridgestone SAGMJ Motor Sportsman of the year 2008. 17. Three tuning forks are the badge of what motorcycle company? 18. Name the top three manufacturers that sold most cars in February 2009. 19. Who founded Jaguar? 20. What did this company make before they manufactured Jaguars?

Answers on p75
April 2009




Euroquip at Automechanika
The Euroquip stand at Automechanika proved to be popular, and Prakash Bhagwan, director at Euroquip, commented that the quality of visitor was very high. The Euroquip stand also had an international flavour, with Davide Giovanardi, commercial manager at OCAP S.p.A., Italy, attending at the stand to discuss OCAP product with interested parties.


CAP is a private limited company founded in 1975, but the original company is now the parent company of a group. OCAP has UNI EN ISO 9001 certification, Environmental Certification ISO 14001 and Quality System Certification ISO/TS 16949. The Italian production units and associated companies are located in Valperga, Feletto, Busano and Rivara. Originally, the company was founded as an aftermarket manufacturer for steering and suspension parts, but the well-established after market brand was then partnered with the OEM engineering and production for the automotive, agricultural and heavy industries. OCAP’s strategic advantage lies in its ability and expertise to co-operate with customers from the earliest stages of engineering to final assembly, and to offer them over 30 years of experience and a world-wide distribution network. OCAP R&D activities have focused on the engineering of composite material lubricated-forlife joints for high duty applications and aluminium alloys sus-

pension leverages with integrated ball joint. OCAP has been more and more consolidating its position in the OEM market, and OCAP engineers and supplies steering and suspension subsystems for diversified applications, ranging from snowmobiles to the latest generation tractors equipped with independent wheel axles. In the context of the automotive market, OCAP’s leading customers are some of the most prestigious sport car, city car or special vehicle manufacturers. On the other end, agricultural and heavy duty application customers are several of the world most prestigious manufacturers. OCAP’s strength lies in its dynamism and expertise to partner with customers from the earliest stages of designing and engineering to FEM analysis and bench testing. The product range for automotive applications includes parts for both the steering and the suspension systems. OCAP’s range of products includes: • Tie rod ends • Steering rods • Drag links • Steering boots • Suspension ball joints • Track control arms • Suspension wish-bones • Swinging transoms • Rubber bushings • Repairing kits • Wheels hubs The popularity of the Euroquip stand was enhanced by the popcorn available to show visitors

Davide Giovanardi, commercial manager at OCAP S.p.A., links arms with Kevin Chetty, national sales manager at Euroquip, and Prakash Bhagwan, director at Euroquip.





KAPICO Launches 3 New Products at Automechanika
Kapico South Africa (Pty) Ltd, a global company specialising in the supply of top quality automotive parts and accessories, used the Automechanika trade fair to launch three new brands: Allied Nippon, Rubrex, and Loozen LN-04. All of these brands will be available from April 2009.

Allied Nippon
Allied Nippon, a well known global producer, manufactures brake pads & brake shoes and is a professionally run joint venture created to produce an internationally accepted quality brake pad par excellence, utilising technology developed by JBI (Japan Brake Industrial Co. Ltd. Tokyo), the friction product division of Hitachi. Kapico has acquired the exclusive distribution rights for southern Africa for Allied Nippon brake pads, and intends to position this high quality product in the premium segment of the market, at very competitive prices, giving the South African automotive aftermarket access to a good range at good quality and good prices.

For the global range of vehicles, all the Allied Nippon brake pads have the e-mark and conform to SABS specifications.

Kapico has also exclusive distribution rights in southern Africa for Rubrex, a flagship brand of Allied Autotech International which has successfully claimed a major share of the world’s automotive aftermarket in rubber products. The range is extensive, covering engine mountings, gearbox mountings, strut mountings, exhaust hangars, centre bearing assemblies, rubber bushes, suspension and spring bushes, all types of rubber hoses, and steering and CV boots.

Loozen LN-04
Loozen LN-04 is a multi purpose penetrant and lubricant, and is available in 480ml and 220ml tins. The 480ml tin is the largest available on the market, and Kapico is launching the 220ml tin at a very attractive price. Also available is a range of car care products, comprising dashboard sprays, air fresheners (in 11 flavours), tyre polish and car shampoos. These products come from Oman, and everyone knows that the Land of Arabia is famous for its perfumes, so these products have centuries of tradition.

Rajan Krishnamoorthi, Operations Director of Kapico South Africa, with Mr. Lalit Handa, a member of the founding family, and a visitor to the stand, “Champ” of Chamb’s Tyres

Kapico is looking for distributors in Free state, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo provinces and also in neighbouring countries in Sub Saharan African region. Contact Rajan Krishnamoorthi at 27 11 870 4300 for more details.






Bosch Launches New KTS 340 at Automechanika

The Automechanika trade fair saw many innovations and the introduction of a number of new products, but nothing matched the excitement at the Robert Bosch stand when they launched the new Bosch KTS 340 compact control unit diagnostic tester

Dereck Knight, Senior Product Manager, Automotive Aftermarket Division, Robert Bosch (Pty) Ltd, who introduced the KTS 340 to the media at the Automechanika Trade Fair. ompact, complete, and mobile. The perfect travelling companion for diagnosis, troubleshooting, maintenance and service on any vehicle, with simple operator guidance for all types of information via the touch screen. This is the essence of the new Bosch KTS 340 compact control unit diagnostic tester. This robust new kid on the block weighs just two kilograms, and was designed on the tried and tested KTS series specifically for mobile use on and in the vehicle. For example, it is ideal for diagnosing a fault during a test drive. The device operates without a mains connection via integrated commercially available batteries (AA type) and can be charged via the cigarette lighter, the car’s diagnostic socket, and the mains supply. Over an above the control unit diagnostic functions, all information from the ESI[tronic] workshop software package required for


troubleshooting, maintenance and service work is on the KTS 340 and therefore directly available in the vehicle. This includes the new Technical Service Bulletin (TSB). In addition, a two-channel multimeter is integrated into the KTS 340 for troubleshooting. The KTS 340 is therefore fully Computer Added Service (CAS plus) compatible. Thus, the workshop mechanic has everything he needs for diagnosis, troubleshooting, maintenance, and service with this handy device at his disposal. In addition, the KTS 340 with its clear and intuitive operation and integrated measuring technology is able to efficiently support the work of workshop mechanics. The Bosch experts also saw the value of ensuring technology investments would remain secure in the future. Like the KTS module and the KTS 670, the KTS 340 is equipped with an OBD exchange adaptor. An integrated multi-

plexer, which is controlled via the ESI[tronic] software, establishes the connection between the various control units, the different manufacturers and the tester. If, in the future, the hardware requirements for the diagnosis communications interface should change, the exchange adaptor can easily be replaced. The new KTS 340 control unit diagnosis tester rounds off the range of KTS testers available from Bosch. The Bosch product range now offers diagnosis testers to meet all requirements: from the simple KTS 200 in handheld format for service and maintenance, through to the new KTS 340, as well as the various KTS modules for use in Bosch vehicle systems analysis and exhaust analysers. There is also the flagship KTS 670 with integrated laptop and use of all ESI[tronic] information.
April 2009





SNR ROULEMENTS receives the 2008 Mechatronics Awards Grand prix for its ASB3® load sensor technology


fter the international success of ASB® and its velocity measurement, SNR has upped the innovation stakes again in the mechatronics field with the ASB3® load sensor. Its technology, previewed at the SCS Fair of Paris, received the Grand Prix all categories of 2008 Mechatronics Awards. Mechatronics Awards are the first mechatronics trophies created within the framework of the mechatronics SCS Fair which took place on 2nd December 2008 in Paris. Organized by ARTEMA, CETIM, SCS and THESAME, the trophies were awarded by a jury composed of technical experts and specialised media journalists. The all categories Grand Prix was awarded to SNR for its 3rd generation of instrumented bearing load sensor. The company already boasts the success

of ASB®, which has become a world standard, today equipping eight out of ten vehicles sold in Europe. Why was this innovation necessary? Simply because ASB3® bearings improve the efficiency of the trajectory control system (ESP). Beyond the automotive market, this technology could also apply to other industrial sectors such as construction machines, robotics or even windmills. In all cases, such innovation requires mechanical know-how, but also in electric, electronic and embarked software fields: a scientific mix of competencies.

The ESP Calculator detects the abnormal trajectories of the vehicle and corrects them by activating the brakes on specific wheels. The ASB3® load sensor technology measures the loads on the wheels. This information (in addition to information of measurement of angles of wheel, speed and rotation of the wheels) makes it possible to optimise the ESP operation. This technology was designed to improve the quality and safety of driving, with the ultimate aim of protecting the driver and passengers.

Tests in real conditions
SNR conducted tests last September on the ASB3® load sensor bearing on the du Pôle de Mécanique circuit in France to identify the performance of the system in real operatingconditions. ASB3® load sensor bearings were assembled on a modified car; in particular the kingpin supports (castings supporting the bearing). Onboard, a real small laboratory to measure and analyse. Over 3 days of intense acceleration and braking, as well as obstacle avoidance and driving on the skid pan, the R&D project team validated the data and came to the conclusion that this innovation has a great future.

The ASB3® load sensor bearing: this is the latest generation of wheel bearing, with the outer ring equipped with gauges. The electronics produce electrical signals and an algorithm transforms them into loads that are continuously analysed.
April 2009



Free Technical Vehicle Data for Capricorn Members
Last year Capricorn Society secured a deal whereby its members could access free technical data from automotive technical data provider, Autodata. ABR visited the Autodata stand at Automechanika South Africa to find out more about “Europe’s leading publisher and supplier of technical information for automotive professionals”, and what is behind the byline – it’s what we know.

Kevin Clausner, Sales Development Director. Autodata

The Capricorn team with Kevin Clausner on the Autodata stand makes. Autodata’s reputation and reliability is enhanced by the company it keeps, supplying information under licence to world renowned companies such as Robert Bosch and Snap-On for use in their diagnostic and repair equipment. The saying “sticking to the knitting” fits Autodata neatly, as their core function is as an information gatherer and an information provider, with no side distractions. Employing 130 people on the west side of London, 70 of whom are trained technicians with experience in the industry, Autodata knows what and how to provide and present, the focus being on clear illustrations and minimal text. Using a standardised template for both sourcing and disseminating, the information provided covers all the necessary repair and diagnostic requirements that an independent workshop needs. Comprehensive coverage on the majority of vehicles on the road makes this a truly exciting and indispensable package. And the good news for South African technicians is that the annual subscription for Autodata CD 3 and Online 3 is being offered at a 25% discount on the UK price. This comprehensive package provides the whole gamut of information, from basic technical data right through to the latest innovations, such as tyre pressure monitoring systems, electric parking brakes, etc. An added benefit is the hot-line service available 24 hours a day, and if the international call fees are too rich for your blood, then any email query will be answered within 24 hours, and more often than not within the hour. This service is truly invaluable. Much more on Autodata in future issues of ABR.


BR spoke to Kevin Clausner, Sales Development Director, who confirmed that Capricorn has done a wonderful job for Autodata in Australia, and that his visit to South Africa backed up his belief that South Africa has great potential for his product. Established in 1975, and based in Maidenhead, England, Autodata is Europe’s leading publisher and supplier of technical information for automotive professionals. The secret behind Autodata’s success, says Kevin, is the research methodology, working directly with vehicle manufacturers. Autodata has long-standing relationships with all vehicle manufacturers, and this coupled with over 30 years of experience, enables Autodata to provide comprehensive, accurate information to the professional workshop technician to service, repair and diagnose faults on all

To join Capricorn Society Limited call Rob Mildenhall on 083 654 2094 or e-mail him at rob.mildenhall@capricorn.com.au or visit their website on www.capricorn.com.au
April 2009



Lubricant specialist LIQUI MOLY takes part at the Automechanika and is expanding in South Africa

This was the first Liquimoly product – more on this in future editions of ABR

The Liquimoly team on duty when ABR visited: Melicia Labuschagne , Sal Vatore Coniglio, Karin Heijboer, Peter Baumann, Danie Correia, Alexander Macketanz
the 640 million cars in the world, Ernst Prost views 500 million as potential. In the long term, he aims to achieve sales of 50 cents per car. The company, which manufactures its products exclusively in Germany, currently generates more than 40 percent of its revenue in the export business. A figure that is also set to rise. LIQUI MOLY South Africa is headed up by Melicia Labuschagne and Gary Swinson. “We’re winning more garages and car accessory retailers for the brand,” says Labuschagne. “This is a really good development in a market with so much potential,” adds Swinson. In the eyes of the company boss, Ernst Prost, this proves that the company is on the right track: “There’s no standard recipe for our success. We assess the markets all over the world correctly and support them in an exemplary fashion.” This is accomplished by strategic market developers instead of sales representatives who are oriented towards the German sales mix – although every market has to be catered to individually. Based on the maxim “think globally, trade locally”, multilingual labels, local product names and advertising are just as matter of course as a product range tailored to the needs and purchasing behaviour of the customers – taking local fuel qualities and climatic conditions into account, for instance.


lobalisation is a word that splits people into two camps. But it has a definite supporter and beneficiary in LIQUI MOLY. The German company, which specialises in lubricants, additives and car care, appreciates the importance of international business relationships. It’s not for nothing that its products are now sold in more than 90 countries around the world. And all the signs are pointing towards further growth – especially in South Africa. LIQUI MOLY regards South Africa as one of it´s most important markets in the future. Because of this the company founded an affiliate at the end of 2007. At Automechanika LIQUI MOLY showed its whole capability. The South African market is a very important piece of the globalisation puzzle: the organization is represented on every continent. Europe is at the forefront with market coverage of 98 percent, more than in America and Asia. The managing partner, Ernst Prost, sees enormous opportunities in globalisation: “Wherever cars are driven in the world, there’s a need for our products” – in other words, there is huge potential around the world for the manufacturer of engine oils, car care products and additives for oil, fuel and cooling circuits: Out of






South Africa’s National Lampoon
by Fingal Wilde

The word lampoon has traditionally meant a harsh satire usually directed against an individual or a literary work, and its origins are French, but Chevy Chase and his motley crew have introduced a modern twist, and today lampoon can mean many things, not excluding making a bloody fool of yourself, or being a total idiot, and the word can now be used without too much probation as a noun or a verb or even an adjective. It is from this premise that I begin my search for South Africa’s National Lampoon, of which there are many deserving candidates, some fairly and some unfairly, and some who have had lampoonness thrust upon them, either by default or by design, or by the quirkiness of fate.
who is now kaal and sonder huis. Talking about kaal, one Joost van der Westhuizen springs to mind, socks and all. The question is, can he take the heat, or must he drum up support from you and the huis genoot. The Cheetahs rugby side, did I hear? Or Oscar Pissedtorius, who could not drink Canada dry, so he went for a wet Vaal dam. And please, no jokes about hollow prostheses. If Robert Mugabe was South African, it would be no contest, and his eulogy would be an amazing grace. Or maybe something inanimate like potholes, or out of order robots. t is not for me to pass judgement. My role is to poke fun at any and every thing that stands in my way, without fear or favour. To be chosen as South Africa’s National Lampoon will require an immense faux pas capability, and a truly breathtaking ability to cock up monumentally and consistently. Sounds pretty elementary, but when you get down to thinking about it, the competition is wide spread and intense, and the candidates simply line up and pile up. In no specific order, I will mention just a few. I will most probably miss many deserving folk and/or institutions, but this is just a preamble to an already chosen special one. You may compile your own list which will be far more comprehensive than mine, and have your own lampooning fun. as to how to solve this problem. If I had a dollar for every time I have logged a complaint, or every reference no. that has been issued by the call centre, I would give Warren Buffet a run for his money. I must know every Telkom technician by name, and the parade of unqualified lampoonists goes on and on, but no one in any position of authority will talk to me. The excuse is always the rain. I have a solution. Let us get technicians from some first world country (maybe the UK is a good one, as they do get a lot of rain) and let them fix up our telecommunications infrastructure whilst also training the local lampoonists. Who knows, within a year or so, we may have ADSL lines that actually work, and a country that becomes far more productive. Don’t get me wrong, I am a rabid patriot. I love this country and all its faults. I love its unique characteristics – I could not live without koeksusters, melktert, vetkoek, brandy and coke, Highveld thunderstorms, Noot vir Noot (okay, maybe I’m taking it too far), the Mighty Elephants (okay, I have taken it too far), Patricia de Lille, and many more. And there’s even the Gautrain to look forward to. But, please, can’t someone do something about Telkom! I am technically challenged and uninformed about recent developments, so maybe there is something better around the corner, and Telkom could soon be an unpleasant memory. One can but hope. In the interim, eish, eish and more eish!!!! Editor’s Note: This column was received before the release of Shabir Shaik.


All of the above have tried strenuously to take the national lampoon title, but the one that takes the cake, the icing, the sprinkles, the cake tin and even the whole bakery has to be Telkom. I must admit that I am biased, but then I don’t think I’m alone. Telkom, through decades of monopolistic dominance and recently years of bureaucratic bungling and government ineptitude, has cast itself in stone as royal game, and it behaves accordingly. I have been struggling with this headless behemoth for many years now, and it is simply impossible to get them to accept that it is normal business practice to supply a service that is being paid for. My problem is the ADSL service that I supposedly receive. Yes, I get it, intermittently, but when the day comes that I have clean pure ADSL for just 24 hours on the trot, I will celebrate like there is no tomorrow. My IT consultant, my internet service provider, my modem supplier are all in unison when identifying where the problem lies. It is a faulty connection at the exchange, but the only entity that can do anything about it seems blissfully unaware

So here goes my pathetic attempt, in a wild and unstructured manner. I’ll start with dear old Jacob Zuma, our home grown AIDS specialist, and plumbing expert, and God forbid, soon to be leader. Then, what about the electrifying Eskom, or the highflying SAA. Not forgetting Carl Niehaus,



Auto Electrical One Stop Shop

If there is such a thing as auto electrical DNA, it runs through the veins of the Subban family. Juggie Subban is a legendary name in this field and his sons Mark and Shane have followed in his footsteps. Shane has 17 years experience in the auto electrical game, where he has alternated stints at various endeavours, and he currently baby-sits the auto electrical product portfolio at AutoZone
hane Subban has a B.Com degree, but the dual attraction of nature and nurture conspired to make it inevitable that he would ultimately follow in his father’s footsteps. And an electrifying path it has been, as he ensures that customers walking into any AutoZone store in South Africa are presented with a veritable Aladdin’s cave of auto electrical product, from the well known proprietary brands to the value for money Ecotech offerings. Ecotech was launched in 2004, the name derived from Eco = economical and Tech = technology, and today leveraging off this economical offering with up to date technology, Ecotech is the largest and fastest growing range of top quality automotive electrical products catering for passenger, light and heavy duty commercial vehicles. This range includes starters, alternators and their respective components, trailer plugs and sockets, electrical terminals and on/off road lighting. Shane ensures that all Ecotech product that comes into the country is backed by comprehensive test reports, and that these reports are vetted in South Africa. For Shane, quality is non negotiable, as he understands that auto electricians cannot have downtime, and that they need to trust explicitly the product that they fit to their customers vehicles. Ecotech is backed by a 12 month “hassle-free” warranty and is the auto-electrician’s choice.


Over and above the advantage of AutoZone being a one-stop shop for auto electricians, the AutoZone pit crew is available for free expert fitment advice, from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week, at 0800 200 993. AutoZone provides quality and peace of mind, and when it comes to auto electrical product; it has the Subban name behind it. Shane Subban, AutoZone’s custodian of auto electrical product. When asked why Ecotech is the auto electrician’s choice, he says “Why Not?”







Intelligent learning navigation system helps drivers save Fuel
Navigation systems are a popular and reliable way of getting to a desired destination. Now the BMW Group’s Research and Technology arm is opening up whole new possibilities for navigation systems technology, by endowing them with artificial intelligence and teaching them basic learning skills. Even without entering a destination, this will allow navigation systems of the future to do things like warn of traffic hold-ups or improve fuel efficiency. Researchers have converted a BMW 3 Series model into a prototype platform for a navigation system that can predict where the driver will be heading, and what route will be chosen, even when the driver has not entered a destination. Project manager Andreas Winckler dubs the system a “self-teaching route predictor”. He continues: “We are working on getting vehicles not only to react to the driver’s commands but also to be proactive. In that way a vehicle will be able to prepare itself for future events. The upshot is increased convenience, performance and fuel economy.

Karting for the Cheetahs
Sunday 01 March saw motoring enthusiasts from various organisations gather at the Zwartkops kart circuit for a fun day of racing action and heart-felt generosity. The Truckman & De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust Karting Day, organised by the Gatorback Ram Wesbank V8 racing team (Clare Vale & Mackie Adlem), saw devotees including Egoli’s David Rees, Renault SA MD Xavier Gobille, 702 Talk Radio’s Sagie Moodley, De Wildt’s Vanessa Bezuidenhout and Kaizer Chiefs players Itumeleng Khune and Siphiwe Tshabalala, take to the 1km circuit, amongst many others. Some wide-eyed passing manoeuvres, super-quick driver changes and superb driver skill paid off for the Wesbank team who walked away with first prize – hot laps around Zwartkops’ main circuit in Clare Vale’s V8 Supercar. The day raised in excess of R12 500 for the De Wildt trust, and as a thank you, Byron, the organisation’s exquisite mascot, ended the day by pulling the proverbial heart strings as people were able to stroke his back – an experience that changes one’s perception of the endangered animal completely. Editor’s note: ABR is considering organising a “Save the Free State Cheetahs” day in the near future – details to follow

Mpho Magabana from Pretoria jumped the 22-year waiting list and secured a spot in the audience for the filming of one of the BBC’s hit TV shows, Top Gear. He scooped the prize from hundreds of thousands of fans that entered BP Ultimate’s MPH competition via SMS. Rumour has it that over 350 000 fans are on a waiting list for seats to watch the motoring stars film their highly successful motoring show, and some even go as far as putting their new-born children’s names on the waiting list! Magabana (22) an IT graduate will be jetting his way to London with his mother as his travel companion who is also a huge Top Gear fan. When notified of his prize, Magabana who drives a white Golf Chico, says he entered the competition every time he visited his local BP service station. He says he has been a fan of Clarkson and Hammond and their special style of motoring entertainment since the age of 15. “I’ve even gone as far as to try out some of their crazy stunts and proved them wrong on one occasion, which I can’t wait to share with them. They’ll probably rip me to pieces, but I’m up for the challenge”, he says. The prize – an all expenses paid trip to the UK as guests of BP and Top Gear .







CAR Magazine’s Top 12 Best Buys for 2009 and the recently announced winners of the annual CAR Awards show that when it comes to battling it out in the current recession, it really is survival of the fittest. In this economic environment, value for money and fuel economy lead the race. The CAR Top 12 Best Buys programme, sponsored by FNB Vehicle Finance, has established itself as South Africa’s most respected guide to new vehicle purchasing since its launch in 2000. The initiative recognises the top car in 12 categories which represent the major segments of the South African passenger car market. The best cars are chosen by the CAR magazine editorial staff based on the criteria of the ‘four Ps” – package, price, performance and personality. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Best sports/performance Car – Porsche Boxster (convertible) / Cayman (hard top) Best MPV/SUV – Mazda5 Best compact SUV – Honda CR-V Best SUV – Mercedes-Benz ML-Series Best double-cab/pick-up – Toyota Hilux Motor company of the year – Suzuki Motor personality of the year – Peter du Toit New car design of the year – BMW X6 Technical innovation of the year – Mazda’s smart idle stop-system The safety award – The RMI Road Safety Foundation and volunteers The green award – Lexus SA Motorsport achiever of the year – Giniel de Villiers CAR Challenge winner – Ben Morgenrood Rookie of the Year – Michael van Rooyen

CAR Awards winners for 2009 by category:

Top 12 Best Buys for 2009
• • • • • • • Best budget car – Chevrolet Spark Best light car – Honda Jazz Best compact car – Honda Civic Best compact executive – Mercedes-Benz C-Class Best executive saloon – Jaguar XF Best grand saloon – Mercedes-Benz S-Class Best hot hatch – Renault Megane R26

Snap-on Exclusive Video Inspection Device
Introduced late last year this product is a must have for any workshop, and is not limited to this market either. Even sold to bird watchers as a NON-INTRUSIVE device for nest viewing, the uses are many. A nice feature is that Information can be downloaded from the BK5500 & saved to PC with the purchase of an AV to PC adaptor (not supplied with unit). This adaptor would need to be purchased from a security outlet or similar gadget shop. The unit currently retails at the introductory price of R 5,767 incl vat, and is exclusively available from Snap-on Africa (Pty) Ltd and/or Authorised Snap-on Dealers. A 180cm flexible shaft will be available as an optional extra later on this year. This time saving inspection tool is great for engine work, air conditioners, under-dash work, suspension and transmission work. It is simple to use with a single on / off button and a battery indicator. It has a convenient thumb control for LED light intensity, and its 8mm diameter imager head fits into most spark plug holes. Its high intensity LED directs light where it is needed, and a long obedient shaft gives it added reach, with good flexibility. And excellent image quality ensures clear vision. This great innovation comes in a blow moulded carry case, and its two year warranty gives peace of mind.

Phone 031 569 7643 or 082 551 5388

KIT Group kits out Traffic Freeflow Pointsmen and Pointswomen
The Kit Group has redesigned, manufactured and sponsored new uniforms for the Traffic Freeflow points heroes who are committed to alleviating traffic congestion in Gauteng. This initiative provides jobs to previously unemployed people. From top to toe, these traffic champions will look smarter and more professional, while at the same time offering their invaluable service to motorists with a smile.


puzzle on p24




1. Wing Commodore Andy Green. 2. Blood Hound. 3. Verneukpan. 4. David Brown. 5. Alfa Romeo – see it in the museum in Arese. 6. Anonima Lombardi Fabbrica Automobili. 7. 25 years. 8. Jody Scheckter and Buller Meyer – both from East London. 9. Peter du Toit. 10. 375cc. Final engine was 602cc.

11. American. 12. Citroën 2CV 13. A calliper brake working on the rim just like a bicycle. 14. Pollsmor – on the site of the current jail. 15. Team Timken 16. Tyler Rattray – World 250 Moto-Cross Champion. 17. Yamaha. 18. Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford. 19. William Lyons. 20. Sidecars.






The Right Option
You need to replace the engine in one of your company vehicles. What are your options? You could scrap the vehicle, but the odds are that you will be disposing of an asset that is making a significant contribution to your balance sheet, and by scrapping you could be transferring this significant amount to your income statement, unfortunately on the debit side. You could enhance the value of this asset by replacing the engine, but the enhancement may not look so good if you replace with a new engine. You are running out of options, but then you consider the option of replacing with a remanufactured engine. Now things are looking up, but then someone mentions that you could be throwing good money after bad. Then the penny drops. What about a Remtec remanufactured engine? Case closed.


he major benefit of replacing with a Remtec remanufactures engine is that it is made to the same standards and uses the same parts as a new engine, but it comes at a big cost saving. An ancillary benefit is peace of mind: the remanufactured engine comes with a nationwide 12 month/100 000 km warranty. Peace of mind is reinforced with the knowledge that Remtec has a nationwide support network, with access to workshops around the country as well as having 6 Technical Representatives established in key geographical locations. And Remtec is definitely not a fly by night operation nor a Johnny come lately. With Remtec you get immense experience and longevity, with over 40 years service to the industry and as such is the only OE remanufacturer in the country. All these advantages are diluted if you have to wait for the engine, but fortunately with Remtec you have minimal downtime: Remtec remanufactured engines are normally available from stock and can be shipped anywhere in the country. This allows the engine to be replaced and the vehicle back on the road in the wink of an eye. Remtec currently has almost 4 000 engines in finished goods; work in process and core stores. That’s not all. Remtec also has an extensive range of remanufactured engines, with well over 200 different engines in their armoury, all built to exacting standards and of the highest quality, endorsed by South Africa's leading motor manufacturers. Remtec has an ISO 9001 Quality Management System certification in addition to SABS accreditation for the remanufacture of petrol engines and the refurbishment of diesel engines.

What if some cost cutting accountant finds a bargain basement refurbished engine? The discussion should stop right there. The differences between remanufacturing and refurbishment/reconditioning are quite stark. It should be emphasised that a remanufactured engine has been completely restored to OEM specifications; utilising quality components sourced from OEM's or OEM approved suppliers, with the equivalent of a new product warranty. Throughout the remanufacturing process, stringent standards and procedures are observed in terms of ISO 9001, an internationally recognised technical standard. This therefore results in a product comparable to that of a new product, with the same level of protection for the end user. On the other hand, a refurbished/reconditioned engine has been repaired and brought back to a running condition without particular standards being observed. Although this approach may sometimes appear to be less expensive, it does not provide meaningful protection to the end user and does therefore not represent a cost effective long term solution.

Problem solved and debate ended. Visit www.remtec.co.za for more information.






Tyla Rattray and Roger McCleery honoured
Tyla Rattray, who became the third South African in 16 years to win a motocross world championship, taking the hotly contested MX2 title in 2008 in a season that included a round in Nelspruit, South Africa, is the 2008 Bridgestone/Guild of Motoring Journalists Motor Sportsman of the Year. Three other motor sportsmen were nominated for the prestigious award, which was first won in 1964 and has been sponsored by Bridgestone for the past 16 years. They were Hennie Groenewald, winner of the WesBank V8 Supercars championship for the third year in succession; Graeme Nathan, overall Bridgestone Production Car Champion in a class B SEAT Leon Cupra; and Leeroy Poulter, who won both the European Rotax Max Challenge DD2 championship and the Rotax Max Challenge DD2 World Final at La Conca in Italy. Winner of the Colin Watling Award for special achievement in motor sport by someone other than a competitor was Roger McCleery, doyen of South Africa’s motor sport commentators and radio motoring presenters, for his long and tireless contribution to local motor racing. To most South African fans he is the voice of local motor racing and his always-enthusiastic delivery makes him a great ambassador for the sport. Also nominated for the Colin Watling Award were Brian Cook, the driving force behind the long-running WesBank V8 championship for 25 years; Neil Curtis of The Kart Shoppe, a former kart racer, for his contribution to the development of karting in South Africa; and the Kyalami Marshals’ Association, whose members not only voluntarily perform their duties at Kyalami but also at motor sport events around the country.

Car of the Year Announced
The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) announced the Honda Accord 2.4 Executive as South Africa’s 2009 Car of the Year (COTY) at a gala banquet at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, on Tuesday 17 March. The awards function, hosted by competition sponsor WesBank, was attended by the who’s who of the South African motoring industry.






The Mountain Goes to Montana
Partinform, South Africa’s longest running and most informative parts forum, visited the sunny and humid climes of northern Pretoria on the evening of the 26th February 2009, to unveil its revamped guise to participants and guests from near and far. This was an auspicious event, in that it was the first Partinform to be held under the umbrella of the new Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Association (AAMA), and as per usual it did not disappoint with its mixture of networking, bonhomie, information, edutainment, and rounded off with a quiz show with a difference. Four stunning prizes on offer to the lucky recipients, with the top prize the most stunning of all; an opportunity to participate in a Ferrari Track Experience, put together by Forza Racing.
A verdant venue a silver bullet

top mount kits are available with bearings in a variety of configurations – sheet metal type, composite type, small thrust and deep groove ball, and integrated MacPherson Bearing. All kits are twin packs complete with rubber pads, new mounting nuts and screws. SKF advises that the top mount kits should be replaced every time you replace shocks; this will obviate tyre wear, wheel alignment problems, vibration, instability and traction loss. The advantage with SKF product is that you are getting OE quality at aftermarket prices.





Thinking outside the box is required in the current economic crisis. In this case, Federal-Mogul has thought about the box, with a co-branding promotion on Ferodo brake pads and Champion spark plugs. Federal-Mogul have focused on the popular taxi applications, with the Ferodo front brake pad sets for the taxis with the 3Y and 4Y engines. Thus the part no’s FDB579 and FDB388 have acquired a suffix CH to denote four free Champion N9YC spark plugs, giving the consumer an excellent inflation fighting deal with free plugs to the retail value of R40 on each set of brake pads purchased. Launched on 1st February 2009 to encourage the use of Champion spark plugs, the initial response was so overwhelming that the publicity campaign was delayed for two weeks to allow the outlets to get sufficient stock on their shelves. This campaign will run for an indefinite period – a true case of boxing clever.


’s pollen filter (cabin air filter) range has grown to 51 numbers, covering 23 manufacturers and 552 vehicle models. The good news for South Africa from a consumer and balance of payments point of view is that these pollen filters are to be manufactured locally at GUD’s Atlantis plant from the second quarter of 2009, with 75% of this production to be exported and 25% for local consumption. Pollen filters are now being fitted in the majority of new vehicles, as they provide enormous health and environmental benefits – see pg 58 of ABR’s February 2009 issue for more details.

’s diesel filtration medium has evolved significantly over the past few years. Cellulose was fine in the days of yore, when diesel engines did the donkey work and definitely did not win le Mans. Now, with highly sophisticated power plants, tolerances are critical and combined with the high pressures from the fuel pumps, diesel has to be clean to the nth degree. Pore size is now so fine, that a hybrid synthetic/cellulose medium that is fused together is now required (as displayed by Rob Stone) – this is the medium of choice worldwide for most diesel fuel filters.


n display are the ATE brake pads with different formulations for different applications, developed to handle the specific requirements for each vehicle, i.e. load carry, size of vehicle, power output, etc. And specifically for the different uses of these vehicles, such as normal use, or taxi use, or bakkies that are used in a commercial environment, translating into a combination of safety and durability, giving better costs per braking kilometre. With the proliferation of new entry vehicles, Ate pads can also improve the braking of these emerging vehicles and the life of the pads. With one specific example, Ate claims to have replaced the original with Ate, and to have increased the life of the pads from 6 000km to 30 000km!






eyance Technologies Africa is now using the Partinform platform to market its variety of industrial hose and power transmission belts, creating increased brand awareness about the broad range of quality Goodyear Engineered Products accessible to the South African After Market. “Due to increasing interest in this line of Goodyear Engineered Products, we took the decision to “get on board” with Partinform, and we are looking forward to participating at future events, as the Partinform Shows provide an important arena for showcasing quality products and services,” commented Christo Stroebel (Product Manager for Goodyear Industrial Hose & PTP).



number one seller is the oil resistant, grease resistant, sensor safe 5699 Grey Flange Sealant, a high performance RTV Silicone gasket maker. Designed for high-torque applications, the 5699 sealant remains flexible and withstands temperatures from -59º to 329º Celsius, making it ideal for sumps and gearboxes. Other important properties are its non-corrosive and low odour characteristics.





Beware – a watchdog with teeth
Colin Murphy, in his address at the function, drew the industry’s attention to the mooted Consumer Protection Bill, which will place a great onus on suppliers, producers, importers and distributors, to ensure that the product that they supply to consumers is of sound quality. Colin referred particularly to Section 61 of the Act, which deals with the liability for damage caused by goods. This section holds everyone in the supply chain jointly and severally liable for harm caused by defective or unsafe goods, including economic loss. Partinform chairman and co-ordinator, Colin Murphy and Monique Piest, standing in front of the Ferrari 360 Challenge Car, which is used in the Ferrari Track Experience.

Competition Corner
Frik Nel of Frik Nel Motors reacts ecstatically when he realises that the stainless steel briefcase held by his lady of choice contains the magical picture – Frik will be attending the Forza Racing Ferrari Track Experience in November 2009, courtesy of Partinform. All Frik had to do was to affirm that SKF supplies top shock mount kits, and that got him into the draw. The next winner could be you – just make sure that you attend the next Partinform in your area: Springs/Brakpan Tuesday 12th May 2009; Bloemfontein Wednesday 17th June 2009; Durban Tuesday 21st July 2009; Klerksdorp Tuesday 8th September 2009; Port Elizabeth Tuesday 13th October 2009; White River Tuesday 10th November 2009. And if you are a reader of ABR, you also have a chance to win a Forza Racing Ferrari Track Experience. All you have to do is answer these three simple questions: 1. Ferodo and Champion products are now available in one box. Name the products.

2. When will Partinform visit Port Elizabeth?

3. Partinform falls under the umbrella of AAMA, of which Malcolm Perrie is chairman. Who is the chairman of Partinform?

Send your answers to fax 086 6579 289 or e-mail bigheart@iafrica.com with the following details:
Name and Surname: __________________________________________________________________________________ Company: ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Position: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Postal Address:_______________________________________________________________________________________ Contact Tel. no’s:_____________________________________________________________________________________ e-mail address:________________________________________________________________________________________
April 2009


How to make an “OE Quality” brake hose quickly and easily that meets the specification SABS3996 (ISO3996)

Customer brings in old or damaged brake hose as a sample.

The operator identifies the correct end fittings and cuts the brake hose to the required length. Fittings and brake hose must be from the same manufacturer to ensure compatibility.

Crimp end fittings to the rubber brake hose using approved crimping equipment, to the correct crimp specification.

Measure crimped, sleeve section of the end fitting to ensure it meets the correct specification.

The operator must conduct the specified tests and record the results on the relevant test certificate..

Supply your customer with the new “OE Quality” brake hose. The time taken to assemble this brake hose is +/- 5 minutes.






Feeling the Pulse
In our March 2009 issue, ABR described how Patrick Latouche, general manager of Sparepro, found comfort in figures when confronted with a seemingly intractable situation. Yes, he is a man who loves to analyse, and measure, and plot intricate graphs. Not surprising for someone with a B.Comm and an MBA. However, Patrick is definitely not a one-dimensional manager. He merely uses his analytical skills to build a solid foundation, which serves as a launching pad for his true passion. This passion is the building of relationships, a philosophy which fits hand in glove with the customer care concepts discussed in this month’s editorial comment, and it would not be out of place in the Trilogy Customer C.A.R.E. Programme, which makes its debut this month on page 42
Patrick Latouche and his motivated sales team

atrick bemoans the traditional relationships that many distributors and wholesalers have with their customers; basically taking orders via phone or fax, with the sole proactive element in this scenario being the telesales staff phoning customers to elicit orders. No physical contact and definitely no relationship to talk about. When Patrick took over as general manager at Sparepro, he took the conscious decision to shift this paradigm. This required not only moving the goal posts; it also required moving the field! Taking the sales team out of their comfort zone initially met with resistance, as “radical” manoeuvres are never truly embraced by entrenched mindsets. It is human nature to resist change. Even Barack Obama is facing resistance as he endeavours to pull America out of its economic crisis. With perseverance, transparency and sincerity, Patrick slowly won the sales team over, one by one, and now the results are coming through. Sales are up, and Sparepro is growing.


were encouraged to work as a team, and were incentivised accordingly. Individual performance is still recognised, but the supplemental ingredient of team performance and company performance in the incentive package, spread across all departments; the sales team, the technical (product development) team, the warehouse (sales support) team, and the accounts team, has added a new dimension to Sparepro. No longer is it every man for himself, it is now a co-operative effort, bonding the teams, bonding the company, and creating a new dynamic, which allows Patrick to introduce new concepts that are not only welcomed and accepted; they are enthusiastically embraced by a rejuvenated people corps. This bodes well for an exciting future. Growth will no longer be merely organic by nature; it will be vibrant and green field, and created from opportunities identified by a team consistently feeling the pulse of the market. More on feeling the pulse in the next issue of Automotive Business Review.
April 2009

What exactly were these radical changes? Firstly, the salesmen




by Roger McCleery

way, if the field has dropped below 18 starters, Max was going to fill the field with upgraded F2 cars. In reality this is not a bad idea and why not do it anyway, and maybe make a customer car available as well. With all that behind us, what can we expect in 2009? Rory Byrne headed up the team that decided on the aerodynamic and slick tyre package in an effort to make GP cars able to pass each other easier. Lap times he said would be about 2 seconds a lap slower although you wouldn’t really notice that. I have never known GP cars over the last 50 years to ever go slower, whatever the rules say. With less turbulence behind the 2009 set up and with a look that we all have to get used to, will it improve passing? We will see. A1 GP cars and other single seaters from other formulas with smaller wings, pass and re-pass each other with relative ease For those using the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) they will find more power to call on from time to time at the touch of a button. This is from the heat generated by the back wheels under braking. Don’t ask me how it works, but they say it does. Williams and Toyota are not using this system yet. Now about the teams and their prospects. Funnily enough, just about all the teams are in with a chance – some of course more than others. World Champion, Lewis Hamilton with his MBE from the Queen safe in the back pocket of his overalls, must start as favourite. Kovalainen, his teammate I am sure is going to play wingman, in the new McLaren, which hasn’t exactly set the world alight so far. Don’t be fooled. They do this every year. Ferrari have tested well and are set to go with their star team. Kimi Raikkonen fell off his mountain bike I believe. He has had less seat time to that enjoyed by Filipe Massa. By Race 2 these two teams McLaren and Ferrari - will start slugging it out again on all circuits. BMW are going to do well. Their driver line up of Pole, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfield – not the best of mates they say – have settled in and have both got contracts. But wait there are others. Renault mainly because they have Spaniard, Fernando Alonso as chief peddler and sorter outer of cars. He is backed up at times by his Brazilian teammate, Nelson Piquet. Alonso could be the champ at the end of this year. Toyota has to do well. Thank heavens they didn’t pull out like Honda. Jarno Trulli is now more than a hot shoe qualifier. Timo Glock is going to surprise everyone now he is deeply into Formula 1. New signing, Swiss Sebastian Buemi and American Champ. Car champion, Frenchman Sebastian Bourdais, (there are a lot of Sebastians in Formula 1) are in the Torro Rosso team with Ferrari power. Don’t underestimate them. Sebastian Vettel, the German has moved over to the Red Bull Renault powered cars with Mark Webber. The Aussie is recovering from a broken leg after falling off his mountain bike. Vettel is another real talent with a great attitude. I don’t know about the Williams Team. From top of the pile to being a struggler down in the pack in just a few years. Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima are two goers of note and have proved it. Williams – its funny to be saying that could be the dark horse of the whole show. Let’s hope they get their slice of the action. We have mentioned the Brawn GP team with regular runners, Jenson Button and Rubens Barricello, who with the right car could be up front and could cause a real shake-up of F1. Force India – like Brawn – have now Mercedes Benz power and two talented pilots, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisicella – a former World Karting Champion. After months of doubt, Formula 1 GP is starting to come together. True form will be seen in a few races time when the teams get back to Europe in May after their Far East Tour to start using the new bits they are developing all the time.


y the time you read this, the 2009 Formula 1 Season will have got under way in Melbourne. For Formula 1 fans, March 29th could not have come fast enough after a break of five months give or take a week or two. Thankfully the Summer GP, or Silly Season as they call it, is over. First came the signing up of drivers and all the rumours surrounding that . Then once the limited official testing was under way just about all teams posted the fastest time at one time or another using the new Bridgestone slick tyres. One never knows what compounds of tyres are actually being used or the fuel load that they are carrying which can make a huge difference to lap times. Anyway it is good to keep the opposition guessing until Round 1 arrives. At the beginning of March only 18 cars were in the line-up. Anything under this number, according to FIA Rules, says that races cannot be part of the World Championship. Honda pulled out at the end of December after 50 years in GP Motor Sport citing dropping vehicles sales worldwide (true). This gave the entire F1 circus a wake-up call. First to start seriously cutting costs as outlined by Max Moseley, boss man of the FIA, and secondly to try and get a buyer for the Honda Team with its latest 2009 car already developed and ready to go. Also it was to try and keep the specialised manpower that make up this GP team under top F1 racing man, Ross Brawn, together. Brawn of course engineered Michael Schumacher to seven world titles in Bennetons and Ferraris. Both have now happened. Costs certainly have started to drop and Ross Brawn has bought the Honda Team and all its assets. The vehicles are now called Brawn GP 001 Cars. Whether Ross got the team for free from Honda or on long-term credit, or financed partly by Bernie Ecclestone, or whatever – who cares – they are in the line-up with Nic Fry as CEO or MD. Good news is that Jenson Button on his debut on his first drive was right on the pace with his new V8 Mercedes Benz engine, which are being used only this year. Three teams have this power bolted behind the driver – McLaren, Brawn and Force India. By the








by Baron Claude Borlz

More gems from my readers: An Urban Legend?
A woman from Soweto rented a Citroen C4 in JHB. She drove from JHB to Bloemfontein .. Approximately 220km from JHB the car stopped .........still in 1st gear!! SHE THOUGHT IT WAS an AUTOMATIC! She apparently said when the car stopped, “So where to now?” She has been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Physics. Voted Best Joke in Ireland 2007 John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said, 'Here's to spending the rest of me life!, between the legs of me wife!' That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night! He went home and told his wife, Mary, 'I won the prize for the Best toast of the night.' She said, 'Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast?' John said, 'Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife.' 'Oh, that is very nice indeed, John!' Mary said. The next day, Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, 'John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary.' She said, 'Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised myself. You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come.'

Negative People - WHO NEEDS THEM?
his is something to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade. Remember this story the next time someone tries to make your life miserable. A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair done for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded: "Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?" “We're taking SAA" was the reply. "We got a great rate!" "SAA?" exclaimed the hairdresser. "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. "So, where are you staying in Rome?" "We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome's Tiber River called Teste." "Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks it's gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly, and they are overpriced. So, whatcha' doing when you get there?" "We're going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope." "That's rich," laughs the hairdresser. "You and a million other people are trying to see him.


He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're gonna need it." A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome. "It was wonderful," explained the woman, "Not only were we on time in one of SAA's brand new Airbus planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too were over-booked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's own suite at no extra charge!" "Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope." "Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet us. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand, I knelt down, kissed his ring and he spoke with me a while." "Oh, really! What'd he say?" "The Pope said: "Where'd you get that kak hairdo?"

A glimpse of the future????

This place should be avoided, unless you’re into this sort of thing….
April 2009

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