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Nothing Beats Heritage An Intelligent Hybrid Hegemonic haste Seeking the Devil Peripatetic Partinform F1 Title Race Hots Up!
Nothing Beats Heritage
Take a look at this month’s cover, and what does it say to you? A simple picture of a spark plug may be your reaction, but look beyond the physical, and take in the symbolism of a product that has not changed for 102 years, and counting. This is the plug that powers the Model T Ford, and it is still in production. The amazing thing is that not only has this plug not changed for this considerable time, its original packaging stays the same, and the ethos behind the development of this plug remains relevant today. A picture tells a thousand words, and a few hundred of these words can tell you that the automotive industry is rich in heritage. ABR salutes the pioneers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and places great store in the pioneers of the twenty-first century, who will be standing on the shoulders of giants.
he challenges facing the industry today are radically different to those pioneering days, not least the need to develop responsibly. Upon reflection, the differences are not as big as originally thought. Global warming, and the driving need to go green, would have piqued the interest of Henry Ford and his fellow travellers, and what we need today is a new generation of Henry Fords, who will revolutionise the industry with fresh thinking and innovative solutions. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) may be part of the answer, so this single photograph of a spark plug re-ignites our pride in our heritage, and our faith in the future. The brand name of this plug is indeed appropriate, as all of us who want to leave something worthwhile to our grandchildren should become Champions of the Future. There are many initiatives for change in which we can participate, whilst still not forgetting our roots. There are also many ideas that have yet to see the light of day, which will also come from us remembering our
defining days. The ideas are out there, but just need to be taken from brain wave to theoretical application, and eventually reality in practice. ABR’s readers form a significant block of the “cultural creatives”, and we trust that the cover photograph and the cover feature on page 16 will inspire and spark our readers to become part of the ideas revolution, and to come up with solutions whilst keeping their feet on the ground. So go for it!
Whilst this issue of ABR is jam packed with information, our monthly contribution cannot do justice to the wealth of information available on a daily basis, so don’t forget to get your daily fix on our website. Make sure that you make regular visits to www.abrbuzz.co.za
2 6 12 10 12 14 16 20 22 26 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 43 46 The Phoenix What’s the Buzz Cover Feature Show Time AAMA Alert Vehicle Launch Cover feature Personal Profile Auto Topical Frankly Speaking Tony’s Take The Chery Story Weighty Issues Training Initiatives Parts Pricing Tyre Safety Intelli-Driving e-CAR Customer C.A.R.E. 48 50 52 54 56 58 59 60 62 63 64 66 78 82 84 85 86 88
19 69 74
Tyre Talk Top Class Topics Capricorn Insights Corporate Conscience Entrepreneurship ITS South Africa AIDC Quiz Wilde Things Burford on Brands Consumer Protection Act Industry Update Partinform Midas Awards Motorsport Sponsorship Fast Wheels Midas Sport The Fink The Last Writes
The publisher and contributors have done their best to ensure the accuracy of the articles and cannot accept responsibility for any loss or inconvenience sustained by any reader as a result of information or advice in Automotive Business Review. The information provided and opinions expressed in this publication are provided in good faith and do not necessaraly represent the opinion of the publisher. No article may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission from the publisher, except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
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Official Mouthpiece of
Suzuki Records 10 000th Sale
Suzuki Auto South Africa (SASA) had every reason to celebrate in September: the company recorded its 10 000th unit sale, only 29 months after commencing operations in South Africa. The milestone not only confirms Suzuki Auto SA’s status as a significant player on the SA motoring landscape, but also underscores the growing demand for the marque’s innovative range of passenger cars and all-terrainers. Suzuki Auto SA was officially launched in June 2008 with a choice of two model ranges: the fleet-footed, stylish Swift subcompact hatchback, and the trend-setting SX4 lifestyle hatch. At the time, the retail and service network consisted of just 15 dealers countrywide, which has now grown to 23 with two more dealerships opening soon. Since then, the brand has shown consistent growth, despite the far-reaching impact of the global recession, which saw the SA market slump to levels well below those envisioned by Suzuki Auto SA’s initial business plan. “We are both ecstatic and humbled by the on-going, growing demand for Suzuki’s range of vehicles,” says Kazuyuki Yamashita, managing director of Suzuki Auto SA. “It vindicates our decision to do business here”. Since mid-2008, the Suzuki model range has already grown to include the Jimny 4x4, the Grand Vitara all-wheel drive SUV, and the Alto supermini hatchback. In addition, the SX4 range has been updated, and now includes both all-wheel drive and CVT versions. The 10 000th Suzuki to be sold locally under the auspices of Suzuki Auto SA was a Swift GLS m/t which was handed over to its lucky owner, Ms. Melanie Savvides, by Suzuki Johannesburg South on Thursday 23 September 2010.
TYRE VIBRATION HAS MANY CAUSES
Tyre vibration can result from many causes and may even be a warning sign of impending tyre failure. This is according to Mandy Lovell, Public Relations Manager for Bridgestone SA. She said that damage incurred during the tyres life was the most common reason for tyre vibrations. “Tyres are manufactured to stringent quality control and dimensional standards, and nowadays it’s almost unheard of for a factory defect to be the cause of tyre vibration,” she commented. A common reason for tyre vibrations is external tyre bulges caused by air leaking through the tyre’s construction from an internal cut. Such cuts often result from driving into pavements or through potholes. An additional cause of vibration may be that the tyre is beginning to disintegrate due to extreme road damage or severe under-inflation. “If you find your car has a vibration or ‘shimmy’ while driving, don’t automatically assume the worst,” Lovell commented. “One of the most common causes of vibration is incorrect wheel balancing, which is simple and cheap to rectify. But it’s also possible that your problem is being caused by worn shock absorbers, wheel bearings, or suspension components,” she added. She advised motorists who were struggling with a vibration problem to first check the basics like tyre pressures and wheel balancing, as well as ensuring that no tyre damage is present. “If that doesn’t solve the problem, consult a fitment centre or workshop. Vibrations may be more than a tyre problem – they may be a warning that safety-critical components are reaching the end of their service life,” she concluded.
World Record for the Mazda MX-5
Mazda has broken a world record with its cult roadster MX-5, and entered the Guinness Book of World Records™. On 18 September 2010, 459 officially recognised vehicles formed the longest continuous MX-5 parade of all time at the grounds of the UNESCO Zollverein World Heritage site in Essen – clearly breaking the former world record of 249 vehicles set in New Zealand. The last seats in MX-5 world record parade were auctioned off at eBay for a good cause. This included co-pilot next to German actor Ralf Bauer, and one other Mazda MX-5.
BMW Classic branches out into classic car trade
BMW Classic is offering classic BMW automobiles for sale. A BMW M1 and a BMW 3.0 CSL are to be sold by Bonhams auction house in Dubai this October. The two rarities hail from the company’s own collection and rank among the icons of BMW’s automotive heritage. The auction of these two cars by Bonhams in Dubai will be the first time any model from the company’s own collection has been put up for sale.
2010 Paris Motor Show Highlights: Alfa's innovative TCT twin clutch automatic transmission
KenKen 9 x 9
How to Play: Like Sudoku, even though difficulty may vary from puzzle to puzzle, the rules for playing KenKen are fairly simple: For a 3 x 3 puzzle, fill in with the numbers 1-9.
• Do not repeat a number in any row or column. • The numbers in each heavily outlined set of squares, called cages, must combine (in any order) to produce the target number in the top corner of the cage using the mathematical operation indicated. • Cages with just one box should be filled in with the target number in the top corner. • A number can be repeated within a cage as long as it is not in the same row or column. Answer on page 30
ce of Tradeat Relevan Reinforced Shows echanika Autom
Howard Keeg takes a look at the Automechanika 2010 held in Frankfurt am Main from 14 to 19 September 2010
n the past I was one of the more vocal sceptics of the relevance of trade shows, but after recently attending the Automechanika Frankfurt a.k.a. the world’s leading trade fair for the automotive market, as the guys from Messe Frankfurt call it, and an objective analysis of what I had experienced, I can now honestly say that as a platform for someone to say something or talk to a broad audience of current customers, potential customers, and customers you haven’t even dreamed of, there is no better way. This analysis applies to all well run shows, but the Frankfurt event dwarfs them all. Just take in these stats – 4 486 exhibitors from 76 countries from Albania to Vietnam, covering parts & systems, repair & maintenance, accessories & tuning, service stations & car wash, plus IT & Management. This bi-annual event attracted 155 000 visitors from 180 different countries. This meant that for six high intensity days the show halls at Messe Frankfurt were transformed into a multi-national and cosmopolitan glad fest and talk fest, and naturally, some big deals were done. Space constraints preclude a full analysis, but over the next couple of months I shall try to bring a flavour of the show to ABR’s readers. For now, our thoughts turn to Automechanika South Africa which will be held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from 9 to 11 March 2011. This show will never reach the dimensions of its German juggernaut cousin, but it does play an important role for the automotive market in South Africa, and particularly for those who are interested in doing business north of the Limpopo. Add to this the planned two day conference being arranged by the RMI (Retail Motor Industry Organisation) which will run in conjunction with the show, and the relevance of Automechanika SA becomes even more significant. More on this in future issues of ABR. For those wanting more information go to www.automechanikasa.co.za. Pula Dippenaar and Philip Otto were at the Automechanika in Frankfurt to drum up support for the South African event.
AAMA CREATES AWARENESS OF THE ISSUES OF THE DAY
e have been banging on about counterfeit parts in quite a few AAMA Alerts this year, and for good reason. The problem is; what does the man in the street do about it, particularly if he has suspicions that he has bought a pig in a poke? Of course, he could go to the nearest police station, and lay criminal charges, or employ an expensive lawyer to pursue the case. Those with a more dramatic bent may even go as far as to employ a gumshoe (private detective for those not familiar with Peter Cheyney novels) to do some investigative work. But for those living in the real world the best option is to go to the RMI website at www.rmi.org.za and to click on Counterfeit Reporting (third from bottom on left hand side, just above Consumer Protection Act), and to fill in the fields as designated. The opening quote comes from this webpage, and the RMI (Retail Motor Industry Organisation) has created this reporting method to allow for inexpensive whistle blowing. You do have to provide your details, so if you want to remain anonymous or provide more detail, alternatively you can contact Twala Boco on 011 886 6300 or e-mail email@example.com. The quote ends with, “For peace of mind, always buy parts from RMI members”, so ABR asked Twala Boco, Director of Quality and Standards at the RMI, about the significance of this statement.
“When it comes to vehicle maintenance, there is a tendency towards consumers trying to save a few Rands in their initial determination. There is nothing wrong with taking your vehicle to an independent workshop as opposed to an OEM authorised workshop, and whilst it is tempting to go for cheaper replacement parts during vehicle service, be warned that if those counterfeits parts are installed, vehicle performance, reliability and your safety are severely compromised. In addition, be warned that parts displaying a reputable company logo on them may not always be the real thing. These parts termed counterfeit are manufactured by unscrupulous people using inferior products to produce the parts. They also replicate reputable-brand manufacturer identities by reproducing their logo/branding onto their products/packaging”.
Twala says that all RMI members have to live by the constitution and rules of the RMI, and they also have to accept the sanction placed on them if found guilty of an offence. If a member has been caught doing something naughty, i.e. dealing in counterfeit product, this matter is discussed at the national executive meeting of the MPEA (Motor Parts and Equipment Association), a business association incorporated into the RMI. Depending on the severity of the situation, Twala assures us that action will be
taken, appropriately and accordingly. Even if the misdemeanour has been carried out by a non-RMI member, this information is relayed to the manufacturers whose names are being misused, for action from their side. Thus, the RMI Counterfeit Reporting mechanism is an effective means to fighting corruption and counterfeiting, so make use of it. Counterfeiting is a cancer in our society, and needs to be eradicated – and the good citizens of this country can play a significant role in reporting any such activity.
An Intelligent Hybrid
by Gavin Foster
Some folk drive a hybrid car because it feels so different to anything they’ve ever been in before. It constantly reminds them and their travelling companions that they’re wafting along in a complicated and expensive piece of machinery that is greener and thus more politically correct than just about every other car on the road. Honda’s new CR-Z Coupe caters for the rest of us, though – people who simply enjoy driving cars and don’t like the experience tinkered with. The Honda’s clean and green, but it feels more like a sports car than a highly sanitised exercise in environmental friendliness. It uses the electric motor as a useful adjunct to the primary petrol engine rather than a replacement, and the six speed manual gearbox banishes any hint of the illusion that you’re travelling in a four-wheeled scooter with a permanently slipping clutch. There’s no doubt that Honda did the right thing by equipping the world’s first hybrid sports coupe with a crisp six speed manual gearbox instead of the continuously variable transmissions that are commonplace on so many of its rivals.
he CR-Z’s primary power source is Honda’s tried and trusted 1,5 litre i-VTEC engine as used in the Jazz, with the valve gear adapted to deactivate one inlet valve at low engine speeds for faster combustion, higher exhaust gas recirculation, and cleaner burning. This and other small changes lead to the engine producing 84 kW at 6100 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. When more grunt is required the electric motor located between the engine and clutch chips in an additional 10 kW of power, which isn’t that significant, but the 78,4 Nm of torque that the 100.8 volt nickel metal hydride battery brings to the party from 1000 engine rpm onwards most certainly is. The combined power and torque figures of 91 kW at 6100 rpm and 174 Nm from 1000 rpm to 1500 rpm (these figures don’t really add up as some grunt is lost along the way) place the little car’s performance up there with that of a conventional 1,8 litre modern petrol-engined car, giving a top speed of 200 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of 10 seconds. That’s not particularly brisk for a sports coupe, but it’s very quick indeed for a car that sips a claimed average of just 5 litres per 100 km and beats the new carbon tax with a CO2 emission figure of 117 g/km. The Honda boasts what the factory calls the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system with a 3-Mode Drive System allowing the driver to select Economy, Normal or Sport modes. Sport mode, with its snappier throttle response and tauter steering action is by far the most fun, but for the morning school run the Normal mode would be more than adequate, and bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions would make the very stingy Econ mode the setting of choice for anybody serious about saving fuel, money and a couple of trees every month. The rest of the car is – well, it’s a Honda, which means a lot. It’s stylish, well built and equipped, practical – if you don’t need to cart four adults around too often – and safe. Above all, it’s actually fun, which is unusual in anything so politically correct. At R299 900 with a 3 year / 100 000 km warranty and a 5 year / 90 000 km service plan it’s also not ridiculously expensive.
When ABR was casting around for a title to this cover feature, many options where available and appropriate, from the heritage loaded “The Legend of Federal-Mogul”, to the descriptive “Technology & Ingenuity”, and the evocative “Opportunity in Adversity”, or even the latest appropriate slogan, “Driving Excellence”, but after long deliberation we plumped for “A Company in Motion”.
“A Company in Motion” was the slogan of Federal-Mogul in the 1970’s, coined because it represented at the time both growing sales and the company’s rapidly expanding portfolio of industries. ABR’s own heritage of Words in Action encourages us to see even more in this description, as motion can also signify action and the core functions of bearings, pistons, other automotive parts, and indeed the automobile. Thus, Federal-Mogul can aptly be described as a company in motion, and to corral all these reflections we can safely say that the legend of Federal-Mogul has been built on technology and ingenuity, whilst identifying opportunity in adversity, and culminating in a company that is always in motion. There is, of course, much more to Federal-Mogul than just a collection of descriptive words. The Muzzy-Lyon Company was founded in 1899 in Detroit, America by J. Howard Muzzy and
Edward F. Lyon as a modest mill supply business, to be later merged with the Federal Bearing & Bushing Company in 1924 to become Federal-Mogul, whose growth was driven by innovation, acquisition, diversification, mergers, and internationalisation. Serendipity also played its role. The expansion of highways and automobile manufacturing was critical to Federal-Mogul’s survival in its formative years. The Federal Road Aid Act of 1916 and the signing of the 1921 Federal Highway Act by President Woodrow Wilson were two stellar events, both in America’s automotive history and in Federal-Mogul’s relentless march to prosperity. As the number of cars on the roads increased, and high temperatures and high speeds placed more stress on bearings, research and development became key factors to automotive component manufacturers’ survival. In hindsight, Federal-Mogul’s focus on R&D since 1929 was in equal parts a masterstroke and a necessity.
The company was also quick to recognise the need to service the aftermarket, and thus by the mid 1920’s they had already entered the replacement parts industry, and by 1930 had begun the extension of their branch network with the aim of improving service levels to the burgeoning car park across the width and depth of the emerging powerhouse of the USA. Not that it was all a bed of roses. To get to where it is today, Federal-Mogul had to survive two world wars, a depression, big and small recessions, labour disputes and the rise of unionism in the 1930’s and militant labour activism in the 1960’s, various other challenges, and most recently, Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing for voluntary protection under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code in October 2001, and the subsequent reorganisation and regeneration of Federal-Mogul, has become a rallying call for what the company stands for today, and provides a fitting metaphor for its history of struggle and triumph. But the true story of Federal-Mogul is its success built on the key pillars of marketing and distribution, and the identification with the needs of the customer, epitomised by CEO at the time Dennis Gormley’s announcement in 1990 that “the elimination of time in dealing with the development, manufacturing, distribution and administrative needs of our customers is our major priority”. This strategy of time-based management rather than cost-based management, high quality, outstanding customer service and continuous improvement, still resonates strongly in the organisation, and will be the main ingredient of future success.
History, Innovation, Invention, Longevity, Heritage, Perseverance, Sustainability – in one picture
he cover photograph signifies many things. Firstly, it shows the heritage of Federal-Mogul. Secondly, it shows continuity and sustainability. Thirdly, it makes the statement that good design is everlasting. This photo is also a strong testament to Federal-Mogul’s commitment to the aftermarket. Over 100 years after the Champion Spark Plug Company produced the first plug for Henry Ford’s iconic Model T, Federal-Mogul is still manufacturing the identical plug, packaged in the original box, and in the original wrapping, and shipping this product from America to local Model T Fords and beyond, servicing the hundreds of Model T Ford associations and clubs across the globe. The first Model T Ford left the factory on 27 September 1908, whilst the last Model T Ford was manufactured in 1927. The significance of this car was that it was the first automobile to be mass produced on an assembly line with completely interchangeable parts, including the spark plug. And finally, this picture tells a thousand words, demonstrating the history and heritage of Federal-Mogul, a saga of growth built on innovation and acquisition. Federal-Mogul purchased Cooper Industries Inc. in 1998, and by so doing bought a company that was founded in 1833, but which only came of age in 1989 when it acquired the Champion Spark Plug Company in that year, a company with its own unique heritage, having been founded by Albert Champion in 1903.
This is not the actual size in fact, it is much smaller
Contrast the Model T plug with the modern plug used in today’s Formula 1 cars – which disproves the adage that size counts. The Model T had a top speed of 72 kph; whereas today’s Formula 1 cars can reach 415 kph on a long straight.
Supporting Motor Racing
otor racing was popular in the United States even before there were race tracks. Henry Ford was one of the motor racing pioneers, so it is not surprising that automotive manufacturers often entered the early races as testimony to their cars’ performance. Component manufacturers were not far behind, as makers of tyres, shock absorbers, headlights, bearings and other products advertised their victories. Federal-Mogul was a vibrant part of this activity, and many of their ads during the 1920s and 1930s proclaimed the success of racing cars using Federal-Mogul bearings. Federal-Mogul Aftermarket Southern Africa continues this tradition in their own inimitable way, focusing on young talent and nurturing them for greater things. Taking a leaf out of the Champion Young Racers Programme, which was initiated in America and Europe in 2007, Federal-Mogul Aftermarket Southern Africa emulated this in 2008 and chose the Engen VW Polo Cup to nurture young talent, and has had success with Gennaro Bonafede and Devin Robertson, young racers who will go on to bigger things. Federal-Mogul also looks for other avenues to promote these goals, and as a platform for their high performance parts.
Driving Excellence – the Legend of Federal-Mogul
n 1999, to celebrate 100 years of innovation in automotive markets, Federal-Mogul commissioned Jeffrey L. Rodengen to write a detailed history of the company. This book, titled “The Legend of Federal-Mogul”, has become a collector’s item, and makes for an enthralling read. Now, 11 years later, the legend lives on, allowing Federal-Mogul’s President and Chief Executive Officer, José Maria Alapont, to stand up at the Automechanika Frankfurt at a press conference on the Federal-Mogul stand on 15 September 2010, and to proclaim that Federal-Mogul has built on 111 years of automotive leadership, and remains a leading supplier of powertrain and vehicle safety technologies for all major original equipment manufacturers and that these products are offered through globally recognised brands within the worldwide aftermarket. Alapont gave a wide ranging overview of the company’s activities, and touched on the growing trend of price sensitive consumers who are looking for a lower price point for vehicle repairs. He said that Federal-Mogul is addressing this dynamic through major strategies which leverage F-M’s extensive global presence, customised according to specific regional market differences. Alapont ended on an upbeat note, “Federal-Mogul has a leading and dynamic original equipment and aftermarket presence in the global automotive markets. Our customer, product and market diversity is a strength that can be leveraged by our customers to increase their competitiveness and response to market trends. José Maria Alapont makes a point at the press conference on 15 September 2010
No more than 5% of our annual revenue comes from any single customer, and our products are present on over 250 vehicle platforms and 700 powertrains currently in production. We are financially strong, prepared for the future and ready to support our leading customers as they embrace the complexity of future vehicles and powertrains, both foreign and domestic, in stable and mature markets, and in the developing BRIC and other markets. In summary, F-M is a world-class, leading and diversified company capable of generating Sustainable Global Profitable Growth, with our strong global presence, extensive portfolio and deep technical capability”.
by Roger McCleery
MD OF CONTINENTAL TYRE
ontinental Tyre (previously Gentyre) opened for business 24 years ago in South Africa when the first high performance tyres appeared on locally manufactured Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen saloon cars. Since that time Continental tyres built in Port Elizabeth to German standards, are the only tyres recommended by all South African manufacturers for fitment to all their models. Continental tyres hold every South African high speed and endurance record for cars and bakkies. They have won 18 South African Production Car titles on standard road-going tyres. An Opel Rekord travelled 600 000 kms on a Moon Mission in one year. Conti also manufactured the highest speed rated tyre ever manufactured in this country for passenger cars. They developed a hard-wearing white sidewall taxi tyre with the right construction for our roads and overloading. The company was also the first to design and make a recreational vehicle (RV) on/off road tyre for use in this country. At the other end of the scale, Continental Tyre is the only Tyre Company to make a racing slick tyre with compounds suitable for South African motor racing. Standard truck tyres were also provided for Super Truck Racing Internationally by Conti with not one failure in twelve years, despite speeds of 160 kmh. Now firmly established as one of the Big Four International Tyre Companies in South Africa, Continental Tyre has always had a common denominator – the MD is an experienced tyre man. The latest incumbent with a lifetime of tyre industry experience is Dieter Horni (59), who hails from Frankfurt in Germany. So how did you find Continental Tyre and South Africa when you got here? Very exciting. It is different, and a new experience with varied regulations for tyres. You have to have an open mind to know this business, as it is most complex in South Africa. Continental Tyre going forward? We are working on a lot of things out of our state of the art facility in PE. We want to improve and progress our Conti Partner dealers which have been successful over the last few years. We want a committed Partner to influence the market and to go after every sale in an intelligent way. Continental has improved its distribution to make it more efficient in South Africa. New product coming? Well, we are sole suppliers for high performance Mercedes Benz SLS sports car with its 19” and 20” low profile, ContiSportContact 5P tyres. The car is fitted with the highest speed rated tyres we make. A new locally made range of heavy duty truck tyres is in the offing. It features the latest tyre technology that will give truck operators more mileage and better fuel consumption due to its low rolling resistance, and of course, lower CO2 emissions. This will suit African conditions with its special needs. Tyres you manufacture at the Continental Factory in PE? We have + 240 articles of all makes and sizes of tyres for cars, bakkies and heavy commercials and buses, plus of course many tyres for specialised needs and uses for the likes of forklifts, mining vehicles and tractors. Any additional mould needs a minimum of 2500 tyres to justify its cost. Anything over and above the tyres we make we import from Continental Tyre Factories situated around the world. Exports? We export to sub-Saharan Africa through distributors there. went through a year of overall training, particularly in production, customer service and central order desk. From there it was into Sales in Frankfurt and here I joined the then Controlled Distribution of Continental AG - Vergoelst. After being an Area Sales Manager for 3 years I was responsible for Marketing until the end of 1989. Then you went to another company? I went to Pirelli for four years from 1990 to 1994 and enjoyed another culture and the Italian way of thinking. Eventually I headed up Distribution for Germany. After that it was back to Continental. I went into the commercial vehicle tyre business looking after sales in Southern Germany, then all of Germany, as the most important market in Europe , later also in addition responsible for Austria and Switzerland, the so called D-A-C-H Region What made you come to South Africa? Since the late 60’s at school it was my dream to come here. In 2001 I made my first visit to South Africa, to Guguletu, PE (invited by Dr. Reese a former MD of CTSA) and Cape Town, and I was hooked. Any mentors in your career? Yes – three. The two former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt, who were symbols for an open mindedness to change in Germany in the 70’s. There was also Alfred Herrhausen, the former CEO of Deutsche Bank, who was killed by the Red Army faction. His philosophy, which I have always followed, was - What we think – say. What we say – do. What we do – be.” Married? Yes, to Monika. I have four children. Victoria (9) and Frederic (6) in South Africa with us. And two in Germany – Felix (26) just finished his diploma in Logistics and Henrietta (29) is writing her doctorate in economics
On a personal level, where did you grow up? In the town of Wetzlar, about 60 km north of Frankfurt. It is a town famous for Leica cameras and binoculars and also Buderus heating systems. School? In Wetzlar where I wanted to be an historian. Further education? First I went to do my military service, was promoted to lieutenant on missiles. From there it was on to university, where I got a degree in Economics. Sports? Handball was and is my passion but I also participated in rowing and played soccer and was a coach of a youth team. How did you get into the tyre business? In 1978 I applied for a job in the Marketing Department of Continental AG. My application was successful and I
Will a Weaker Rand Really Help?
by Tony Twine, Senior Economist, Director – Econometrix (Pty) Ltd
After representations in various shapes and sizes to government departments and agencies from interested parties in the mining and manufacturing sectors of the economy, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made a guarded statement about National Treasury’s intention to assist the Reserve Bank to accumulate foreign exchange reserves, with the heavy proviso of “when it is able to do so.” The intention, it would seem, would be to weaken the foreign exchange value of the Rand, assisting those industries’ Rand revenues and export sales opportunities.
income statement, but who cares because the foreign currency denominated profits of the unit would fall, as would the profits already being generated by all the preexisting export values when translated to foreign currency units. Component exports could react in several ways. If hard currency prices for exports remain the same, then there are more Rands for local producers, but no volume increases. The Rands may go to support already inefficient production practices in SA, or pad the pockets of local shareholders, or provide a slimmer padding for foreign shareholders because of the weakened exchange rate. Alternatively, foreign currency export prices could fall, export volumes increase, and the South African factors of production not benefit because of Rand revenue increases proportionally smaller than the valuation of the Rand. Meanwhile, because the suppliers of both locally assembled and imported vehicles to the domestic market are already cost and price structured to survive in a foreign exchange rate environment far worse than the average for 2009, prices of imported vehicles or vehicles built predominantly from imported kits, would not leap upwards, and consequently any decrease in demand for OE imports and imported vehicles, would not react in volume terms. Imported replacement parts would probably escalate sharply in Rand terms, but these are grudge purchases, rather than discretionary ones, and their volumes would be unlike to fall under increasing price pressure. Regrettably, a weakening of the Rand can be seen to provide some short term relief to an undefined mixture of interests, made up of equity holders and employees of the component side of the local automotive manufacturing industry, but this would only be temporary, until rising imported goods prices pushed up the general price level of confronting all South Africans, eroding those temporary gains. Wherever the next free lunch is being served, it does not seem to be wrapped in more Rand per foreign currency unit.
“When it is able to” may be interpreted in many ways. Presumably such a capacity does not include periods when the local government is borrowing to cover its own deficits, and would effectively be forced to buy US government paper to store the foreign exchange reserves which the Reserve bank would be accumulating. This looks like a difficult political point to sell back home at the Politbureau. But, let us assume for a moment that the Rand could be magically weakened. 5% or 10% weaker would not make much difference, so let us consider something meaningful in the order of magnitude of 20 to 25%, which would put the Rand at, say, R9.00/US$. The attached table profiles the South African Automotive Sector’s MIDP linked imports and exports since 2005. A cursory inspection shows an international trade deficit for the industry of R18.9bn during 2009, when the US Dollar bought R8.28. Now assume the trade position has zero exchange rate price elasticity, and move the Rand/$ rate to R9.00 from the 2009 actual level of R8.28. The automotive trade deficit would then be valued at R20.5bn for 2009 volumes. The big question is, what would happen to the volumes if the Rand was too weak? It is certainly not clear that vehicle exports would increase in number as trade in the global supply chains is probably not denominated in Rands, so the price of a South African made vehicle in Guatemala would not change because the Rand is weaker. More Rands would accrue in the South African vehicle manufacturer’s
THE STIG IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE STIG - CASTROL DRIVER RANKINGS SHOWS THERE ARE 767 BETTER QUALIFIED CANDIDATES
The identity of the track hero, the Stig, has been revealed as Le Mans Series driver Ben Collins. Top Gear need not panic though; since Ben currently sits 768th in the Castrol Driver Rankings, the world’s most comprehensive driver rankings, there are in fact hundreds of other drivers who could happily qualify as replacements. Currently led by Sebastian Vettel, the Castrol Driver Rankings include all of the major motorsport series including Formula 1, the World Rally Championship and the World Touring Car Championship. Whilst the likes of Lewis Hamilton (4th) and Sebastien Loeb (2nd) might not be able to find time to be the Stig, there are plenty of other drivers further down the list that do have the right credentials. To see the full Castrol Rankings and register for weekly updates, please go to: http://www.castroldriverrankings.com
ICELAND TO ANTARCTICA – ARCTIC TRUCKS TO BUILD HILUX VEHICLES FOR ANTARCTICA IN SOUTH AFRICA
Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) and Arctic Trucks, the legendary converters of Hilux and other Toyota products, have signed an agreement to convert six South African built Hilux pick-ups for use in Antarctica. Of these vehicles two will undergo full AT44 conversions. Another two will be converted to AT44 specification, but with full 6x6 configuration. These four Hilux vehicles will operate as back up vehicles in the gruelling Antarctic Ski Challenge to the South Pole, to be held at the end of the year as part of the Extreme World Races series. The fifth Hilux, also to AT44 specification, will be built for the Indian National Centre Antarctic and Ocean Research, while Hilux number six will be built to AT38 specification.
SKF South Africa’s Junior Lions - a roar to be reckoned with at the Gothia Cup in Sweden
weden has been hosting the Gothia Cup for the past 30 years and South Africa’s winners of the SKF ‘Meet the World Tournament’ South Africa, the Junior Lions, who left local shores to compete with some of best juniors in the world, played a game that thrilled supporters that came to Sweden from far and wide to watch the 2010 Gothia Cup. The Junior Lions finished in the top 16 out of 144 teams, the spectators loved them and they remained firm favourites of a soccer crowd that clearly recognised the talent, passion and heart that South African youngsters displayed. The Junior Lions received a rapturous welcome from proud South Africans when they returned to local shores on Monday 26th July 2010.
by Frank Beeton
Volkswagen is now investing serious money in its North American plant (due to commence production in 2011), and a new midsized sedan model specifically aimed at the US market. It is imperative that it gets this strategy right, because a less than successful American enterprise could generate negative global consequences. Although there is, superficially, very little similarity between Volkswagen’s in-house North American venture and the failed DaimlerChrysler partnership, it is important to recognise the cultural cross-currents that eventually brought down the latter. The volume potential offered by broader participation in the US market was also the main driver behind Daimler’s decision to engage with Chrysler, but the impact of inadequate performance in that market generated enormous stress in the DaimlerChrysler family when the European “parent” was seen to be disadvantaged by the insatiable financial demands of the American “child”. VW is, of course, a major volume player in the world market, so is unlikely to be as vulnerable to a mediocre American performance as Daimler, whose exposure was raised to intolerable levels because Chrysler’s volumes made up the majority of group global output. However, the massive business swings that can occur in North America have the potential to put VW very much on the back foot at inconvenient times. It is also interesting to note that VW intends to build 30% of its American market sedan model with clean diesel engines. Unlike their European counterparts, Americans have shown very little inclination to buy diesel cars up to now, and while companies such as Mercedes-Benz have made major Stateside efforts to educate luxury car buyers about the efficiency of these engines, their impact on the broader market has been minimal. Americans have chosen to address their environmental and petroleum dependency concerns mainly through petrol-electric hybrids, while looking forward to the imminent availability of plug-in vehicles. The diesel option still appears to be well off the radar screen. One of the more bizarre outcomes of Volkswagen’s “empire building” is the recent announcement that group member Scania, has signed a development agreement with Porsche Engineering Group GmbH to develop the next generation of Scania truck cabs. This Porsche operation provides highly advanced engineering services in areas such as material analysis, structural testing, production equipment design and logistics for automotive and other industries. Stand by for one racy truck cab design coming up!
Earlier this year, I asked the question: “Why do motor manufacturers make such an issue of pursuing global leadership, rather than just growing organically, and maximising profit?” Much of the discussion in that particular article was prompted by Volkswagen’s much-publicised corporate objective of being “World Number One” by 2018, and the well-documented trials and tribulations that have beset Toyota since it arrived in the premier position.
• • • •
t seems that I am not the only person to question the wisdom of Volkswagen’s ambitions. Writing in the Detroit Free Press at the end of August, correspondent Mark Phelan was somewhat more direct in his questioning of Volkswagen’s “risky moves” than I had dared to be. He defined these as, and I quote:
“Spending billions of dollars on a new plant and vehicles for the US, Trying to buy Alfa Romeo from Fiat, Threatening to shut down one of its own brands, and Hiring engineers, designers and senior executives en masse”.
The strategic actions to which he was referring, inter alia, relate to VW’s new assembly plant currently under construction north of Chattanooga, the unconfirmed reports that the German company would like to prise Alfa Romeo from its current Fiat ownership, reportedly unsuccessful efforts to redefine Seat’s image as a sporty Mediterranean brand (like Alfa), VW’s recent purchase of a 90% shareholding in styling house ItalDesign, and the redeployment of Porsche management personnel across the broader group. Phelan sums it up:” It’s virtually inconceivable that all those plans will come off smoothly at the same time. The situation becomes really fraught if several plans go awry simultaneously. Mistakes can pile up catastrophically when corporate resources are stretched thin. Ask Toyota”. While the other elements listed here will undoubtedly play their part, the world leadership strategy leans very heavily on VW expanding its presence in North America, and this is where the main areas of risk apparently lie. The global production volume gap between VW and Toyota in 2009 was around 1,5 million units, but in more “normal” conditions, this could be as much as 3 million, which would require VW to increase the size of its base business by nearly 50%. To do this fairly quickly, it needs to tap new market positions, such as that to be exploited by the Amarok “robust pickup”, and improve its performance in a seriously big incremental geographic market, with North America presenting as the most obvious target. Phelan says: “The Volkswagen brand does not understand American buyers. There’s a disconnect between VW’s key models – the Passat and Golf – and what American buyers expect from VW and how much they’re willing to pay for it. That was never more obvious than a couple of years ago, when VW fruitlessly revived the Rabbit name because they thought that was the way to sell more Golf hatchbacks”.
Nissan1400 fever rocks Mokopane!
The infield of the Trever Els oval raceway just outside of Mokopane trembled to the tune of meticulously tuned engines on Saturday 28th August, as the sun glinted off a healthy crowd of South African legends each built to a unique formula and specification, but sharing an important common bond. The Nissan brand affixed to the nose, as well as a well-earned reputation for total dependability and strength far beyond the cute but racy looks. Despite one of the vehicles boasting a power output of 1000 horsepower on the wheels, this isn’t a convention of throbbing GT-R supercars. No, this is Mokopane’s homage to the epic Nissan 1400 bakkie, perhaps better known as the venerable Champ. Although boasting dainty dimensions and a budget list price, this vehicle also packs one of the largest hearts in the business, and has been both trusted work partner and weekend toy for many of the down-to-Earth residents of this small Limpopo community, and many others like it, since 1971. This gathering of all incarnations of Nissan 1400 halftonner (model name B140) was arranged to celebrate this legendary LCV, which endured for nearly four decades as the ideal dual-purpose work-and-play half-ton offering in the South African market. This lovable workhorse was only recently replaced by the new Nissan NP200, now with an even larger, more robust load area than ever before but the same DNA. Whether working or playing, the old B140 and new NP200 are peerless in their strength, reliability, and unique sense of panache when the time comes to kick back and enjoy life.
AUTOMOTION: IS THIS INDUSTRY HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION?
Automotive manufacturers have just come out of a damaging strike and labour has initiated additional strike actions in the component and motor retail sectors. Against the backdrop of crippling public sector mass action there is a tendency to ask questions about whether government, industry and labour have done enough to mitigate the effects of the recession. A key issue to be considered by the automotive industry is also whether all stakeholders are doing the right things. This issue will be hotly debated by a panel of labour and skills experts including Cedric Gina, President of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA at the AIDC's Automotive Industry Conference 2010 (AIC). The Conference will again include strong representation from industry, government and labour to provide meaningful and topical debate! This year's AIC will take place on 3 and 4 November 2010 at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Gauteng. Under the theme 'Gearing out of the Recession - What's the Plan' the conference will address vital issues affecting the sustainability and growth of the industry.
If the Tyre is lacking Air it reaches for the Phone
Continental is making driving safer and more economical for the future with a new application that reports the tyre pressure directly to a smart phone. The vehicle electronic is connected wirelessly with the driver’s smart phone, therefore making speedy data exchange possible. The Continental Interior Division’s “Filling Assistant” specifies the exact inflation pressure of each tyre. So when adding air, the optimum tire pressure can be achieved, even when inflation pumps at the filling station do not measure the pressure accurately. In addition, a brief honk and blink signal can be given to confirm when the tire has been inflated to the correct pressure level. Technical requirements for the system are a tyre pressure monitoring system with the corresponding sensors in the tyre and factory-integrated vehicle electronics with a wireless interface. First series production of the Filling Assistant in new vehicles is expected from 2013 onwards.
by Tony Twine
Dressed up as it has been in the full regalia of demands for economic resources, the World Cup interrupted strike season of 2010 has been a more intensely political affair than South African employers have been used to since the 1980’s. The term “political” applies in several senses, and is not intended to be disparaging, but more a statement of simple fact.
but the stock build up that had been available before the strike at the assembly plants in July and August was not available as a buffer in September because of the demands made by the pre-emptive buying ahead of the emissions tax introduction on 1st September. The political gain for both the strikes against the assemblers and later against the component and retail ends of the automotive production column are probably motivated by the inverse of the government sector strike – new motor sales volumes have increased well ahead of expectations during the first eight months of 2010, and second quarter 2010 motor retail trade revenue was 17.7% higher than a year earlier. This has provided fertile ground for soliciting double digit pay increases. This is probably another relatively shrewd piece of political timing in terms of cornering resources for a year’s time and beyond, when sales and economic growth may not be anything like as spectacular as they have been so far during 2010 On a lighter note, a TV news producer contacted our office a few days before this was written, saying that there had been moves in the deadlock over the motor industry strike. The information was that employers had offered a 10% increase, but that the unions had rejected it, saying that they would hold out of a double digit increase. So much for maths literacy! One remembers a placard displayed in the 1980’s strike which broke the British Coal Miners resolve. It proclaimed that “10% of nothing is nothing! We demand 20%!” Some may be dumbstruck by the hard line attitudes of the strikes, but you have to admire the sense of political timing.
n the first place, economics is said to be the study and practice of applying limited resources to best satisfy an infinite number and variety of wants and needs. Quite obviously, the fact that resources are limited indicates that only some wants and some needs will be satisfied, and some of them rather less completely than others. Politics is the art of allocating those resources to create the means of satisfying an identified sub-set of all the wants and needs of a particular public. This is as true of politics in social groups (including our marriages), as it is of politics in corporate and business settings, as well as the politics of local and higher levels of government. Able political leaders at all these levels, defined as those who survive any length of time, will keep an eye on both sides of the economic function, namely the available resources as well as the wants and needs of their various publics. This desire for political survival by political players may point to the underlying reason for the tenacity of the public sector strike of 2010. Just less than a year ago, at the Medium Term Budget Framework speech of 2009, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan indicated National Treasury’s expectation that the Government Debt to GDP ratio would rise from just over 22% at the end of 2008 to around 43% by 2013. It does not take rocket science to work out that the bill to finance the additional debt will rise to more than double its current level and to probably even more than that as government demand for capital will influence both capital and money market rates upwards. Remember that the nominal GDP is getting bigger over that time as well, so that having twice the ratio of debt on a bigger base number with higher interest rates points to a surge in government’s interest bill. If government is spending more of its income on servicing its debt (not paying it off, just servicing it), there will be less current government income available to pay for other government expenses, in which salaries and wages have a budgeted level of 32% share for 2010/11. We can be assured that organised labour can do this arithmetic as easily as we can, and has decided to strike, both literally and figuratively, while the iron is hot, and there is still some spare government resource to be demanded. The government unions may well have been asking for next year’s increase a year in advance, while there are still funds available, cornering resources before it is too late. The strike amongst unionised workers in the component manufacturing industry and the downstream retail end of the motor trade, appears to have been at least as damaging to the vehicle assemblers as it has been to the head and tail of the motor sector snake. Without parts to assemble, assembly lines ground to a halt,
from page 8
A series of articles on the rise of the Chery automobile
by Howard Keeg
Simply Unbelievable Value
The Chery Tiggo has been a familiar sight on South African roads since early 2008, so this budget SUV is no longer a curiosity. ABR did two articles on the Chery last year – the first one was in May 2009 on the 2.0 TX and its owner Johann Penning, who was as happy as a pig in compromised manure. The second article in September 2009 was my assessment of the 1.6 TX after it had joined its bigger brother as an even less expensive contributor to the Tiggo range.
or that article I took the 1.6 litre powered Tiggo on a run down to Durban, and I quote from that critique as follows, “this compact SUV does all that is expected of it and cruises happily up hill and dale at 120/130kph in fifth gear, with fourth gear only required up such obstacles as van Reenen’s Pass, which is not an issue as the speed limit of 80kph presented absolutely no problems for this eager little warrior”. (Note from editor: what Mr Keeg did not mention in his column was that he managed to pick up a speeding fine on the uphill on van Reenen’s, which confirms his prognosis – and this was subsequently docked from his pay after heated discussions). The price at the time was R164 900, which made the Tiggo SUV Simply Unbelievable Value, and today this vehicle remains the benchmark for budget SUV’s. However, the vehicle that I took down to Durban had less than 5 000km on the clock, so for this article I requested an older vehicle with a higher mileage so that I could ascertain the aging characteristics of this Imperial McCarthy backed vehicle. I was duly presented with a car straight out of their staff fleet (and everyone knows how company fleet cars are treated!) with 33 000 km of wear and tear. I can happily report that the Tiggo still drove exactly as new, without rattles or squeaks or any other mechanical maladies, and its fuel consumption still as thrifty as before. The interior and exterior remained in pristine condition, apart from some stains on the upholstery – not the car’s fault I’m afraid, but rather that of some sloppy staff member. This bodes well for the resale value of these vehicles, and a further reason to acclaim its Simply Unbelievable Value. I conclude by repeating what I said some 13 months ago, “this SUV is not an expensive latest generation mortgage consuming Sandton zooming past the Joneses chariot. The corollary to this law is that you have to shelve your Jeremy Clarkson alter ego and bring to the fore your humbler side, the part of you that relates to the common man, and to be a well-respected man about town driving a wellrespected SUV around the said town”.
Seeking the Devil
by Frank Beeton
In all the years that I have been involved with analysing and forecasting the South African Truck Market for commercial vehicles over 3,5 tons Gross Vehicle Mass, the Year 2010 has presented one of the most challenging scenarios to understand, and predict. In last month’s Weighty Issues, I bemoaned the lack of rational direction currently prevailing in the 2010 South African Truck Market for vehicles over 3 500 kg Gross Vehicle Mass, so this month we will seek the Devil in the Detail. To do this, we will examine the trends emerging among the different vehicle application classes. The accompanying chart traces the quarterly market shares of the seven application splits recognised in the monthly market statistics gathered by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa. After disregarding the nondescript category labeled “Other”, which contains miniscule volumes of fire engines, off roaders and specialist cleansing vehicles, we can turn our attention to the remaining categories listed below, and discuss how each has fared in terms of market share, and the environmental factors that have influenced the shape and direction of its penetration curve.
• Buses –World Cup preparations and BRT implementation from the third quarter of 2009 pushed the market share of Bus sales up from around 5% of the market to above 10% for the final two quarters of 2009, and the first of 2010. Subsequently this category has fallen back to less elevated levels as SWC played out at the end of the study period. Freight Carriers – this category consists of rigid load carrying vehicles used in the distribution and public service sectors, plus some long-distance linehaul applications. It has operated in a band between 40 and 50% market share, with peaks in the second quarter of 2009, and the second and (incomplete) third quarters of 2010. The 2009 peak reflects financing difficulties in the Truck-Tractor category while the 2010 peak is a response to the beneficial impact of SWC, where a large proportion of these vehicles were employed in supporting that event. Mixers – a relatively small, and very specialised category used exclusively for the delivery of ready mixed concrete to construction sites. There has been no notable deviation in its market share performance during the study period. Panel Vans –They were contained in a band between 19% and 11% market share during the study period, but the steady decline suffered since the fourth quarter of 2009 is puzzling, as these ready-to-use load carriers would have presented as “excellent” panic-buy options as SWC 2010 approached. But, as we said last month, there did not appear to have been any panic buying during the first half of 2010! • Tippers – these units are employed on construction sites, moving displaced earth or rock, or for the delivery of boughtin materials. The slight and steady loss of market share, from around 8% to 5% during the study period, reflects the rundown of stock as SWC-related projects were completed. Truck-Tractor – on average, these vehicles are the biggest, and most expensive, in this study, used primarily in the longdistance haulage of goods and commodities, with secondary usage in construction and mining. While contained in the 2030% band throughout, a noticeable dip in market share in the second quarter of 2009 provided evidence of the business asset financing difficulties prevailing at that time. The subsequent recovery has been gradual, but undeniable, as the financial environment normalised.
So, have we found the Devil? It’s difficult to say, because he is a master of disguise! However, this study does suggest some interesting conclusions, the most important of which may be: 1. No evidence of panic buying immediately before SWC 2010, 2. A strong performance by those categories rationally supportive of SWC 2010, and 3. A recovery in the financing environment. Although these conclusions were fairly predictable, this exercise could be of use in providing us with a useful base for the assessment of market performance as 2010 rolls out. Watch this space!
AA Training Academy:
Strategically up skilling technicians for a sustainable future
The AA Training Academy is widely acknowledged as the frontrunner in addressing the serious issue that is the shortage of skilled artisans and technicians in the automotive industry. Established in 2006, the Academy aims to ensure that the industry is able to not only meet demand but also that the quality of service is secured. “The aim is to essentially up skill a workforce with a solid educational background which we see as a sustainable investment for the future of the industry,” says Derek Hall Jones, Head of the AA Technical Division.
ow in its fourth year of operation, the Academy is Merseta accredited with facilities in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Both facilities offer apprenticeships for the following: Automotive Electrician, Automotive Engine Fitter, Diesel Mechanic and Motor Mechanic. Though the apprenticeship programme forms the core of our academy, we also offer short courses for artisans who want to keep abreast of new technologies and up skill themselves in specialised auto electrical fields as well as mechanical technology. “We work under the pretext of instilling a higher level of discipline into our programme with more stringent selection processes, essentially to shift the mindset that this is an “easy” trade,” says Derek Hall Jones, Head of the AA Technical Division.
Current industry trends have seen skilled mechanics being head hunted within the industry, which means the cost of labour is becoming increasingly competitive and costs are being driven higher. Companies like Volvo have identified the need to invest a significant amount of time and effort into developing technicians from scratch and have acknowledged the merit of the Academy, with 53 of their own apprentices currently on the programme. “The decision to send our staff to the AA Training Academy was an easy one, because not only does the AA recognise our need to get the best training for our apprentices, but they also understand that this is essential for us from a business perspective. When we give them feedback and recommendations, they act on them with the utmost professionalism,” says Steve Griffin, Competence Development Manager at Volvo Southern Africa. Volvo has also donated parts to the Academy on which apprentices are trained, which ensures that all equipment used is of the best quality, ensuring only the highest standards for a top level education.
Citroën Gets Good Marks from Kinsey
by Gerhard Horn
The economic climate has once again become favourable for those who find themselves in need of a new vehicle, but the very fact that motorists had to change their habits and outlook during the tough times of 2008 and 2009 highlighted a few things. Customers, as an example, are more careful when buying something and are looking much deeper into all variables before making a final decision.
his is why the Kinsey report has become more relevant than ever before. The base price of vehicles is easy to find, but what if you want to know what the parts will cost when they need to be replaced?
cerned. Now that the general public has become more cautious with their hard earned bucks, they will perhaps start taking note as well. Traditionally, the French manufacturers have not done well in this survey. The high price of imported parts, combined with the fact that the home-grown manufacturers made their parts cheaper right here, left them at the bottom of the pack. In 2008 the Citroën C1 1.0 had a parts basket that made up 44.47% of its selling price. More than double the Volkswagen Citi 1.4 Sport's percentage of 19.92%. Not a great performance from Citroën, but the news does get better. A whole lot better...
The Kinsey Reports on car parts prices began in 1990. The details are quite complicated, but it basically boils down to a system whereby various manufacturers are compared according to the prices of parts in their vehicle. A vehicle is then given a percentage figure to show how much of the retail price is made up by the parts basket. This report has become a yardstick for price comparison and regulation, especially where fleet operators are con-
These Citroën’s that were on display at the launch of Citroën’s revamped fleet initiatives at a function in Johannesburg on 20 September 2010 are not just a range of stunning vehicles at very good prices offered by Citroën SA – they also offer great fleet deals and great parts basket prices. Vive la Valeur. The 2010 Kinsey report data was recently released to the motoring media. It analyses a vehicle in three specific categories; service parts, mechanical parts and crash parts. The totals in each category are added together to get a number. The number is compared to the retail price to get the percentage. The C1 performed noticeably better this time round. Its parts basket, including service parts, mechanical parts and crash parts made up 153.56% of the retail price. This figure seems impossible, equating to more than the retail price, but remember that three different categories, making up a significant portion of the entire car, which would not normally be replaced in one fell swoop, are added up. And the C1 compares favourably against its competitors. The big news is the fact that Citroën has become highly competitive in this regard. No longer are the parts horribly expensive when compared to the others, but they're right there with them. In the entry-level segment, Citroën gave an average performance. They are, however, very competitive in crash parts pricing. The crash parts subtotal is the best in the category, even beating the Toyota Yaris by R25 000. That's a massive figure to take into account, especially at budget level. This reduction in price of the C1's parts is paltry compared to the rest of Citroën's range of passenger vehicles. Not only are they extremely competitive, but in most cases they obliterate the competition. The Citroën C5 has a percentage of 45.63%, the lowest in the junior executive segment. The closest competitor, the Audi A4 3.0 Quattro, comes in at 46.27%. The Kinsey Report states that no gearbox prices were available for both these models, which puts things into perspective, but even with the cost of a gearbox removed from the competitors, the Citroen still beats them comfortably. The brand-new DS3 performed remarkable as well. The parts used in this funky, premium hatch make up 49.53% of the retail
price. This might sound like a high figure, but once you take the competition's figures into account, it becomes a completely different story. Take the Mini Cooper for example. The total price of all three categories combined comes to R289 385.01, or 135.23% of the retail price, in Kinsey lingo. The rest of the range did not go down without a fight either. The Citroën C3 Attraction competed in the largest group against some very established competition. In the servicing parts section, the one most relevant to the buying public, it came out just behind the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Aveo. This is quite a victory for Citroën when you take a gander at the long list of competition. It may not have beaten the Chevy and the Ford, but it left the Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen Polo with something to think about. It's the same story with the C4 and C3 Picasso. Both offer excellent value in the crash parts pricing section with a convincing lead over the rest of the pack. The service parts for the C4 are well ahead of the Mazda 3 and Golf 6 and just a tiny bit better than the Ford Focus and Renault Megané. The C3 Picasso kept things average in the mechanical parts section, but claimed a highly respectable second place in the service section. All of this can only lead to one assumption; since 2008, Citroen have worked hard to make an improvement on the price of their parts. The high prices have been slashed and are undoubtedly more competitive than ever before. Combine this with Citroen's re-alignment of their vehicle pricing this year; and suddenly the French manufacturers are looking like a bit of a bargain. If nothing else, they have busted the myth that French cars are expensive to keep running. It'll be hard for the buying public to walk past an offer like this. Fantastic cars, good prices, great servicing cost; what more does one need?
n the past few issues we have been discussing the responsibilities of the workshop and the tyre staff. We mentioned the responsibility of management in getting the staff trained and giving them some status. But we have not looked at all those involved yet - we’ve left the most important for last - the drivers. Drivers obviously carry the most responsibility of all. But unfortunately they are also poorly informed, totally untrained and, if what we recently witnessed the driver of a yellow courier van doing is representative of general road behaviour, completely undisciplined. And yet it is the approach of the driver which determines the life of the tyres. Their driving style has a direct effect on the way the tyres last. Their attention to looking after the tyres during, before and after driving is a road safety function. But, how many know this? Which manager takes the time and trouble to really look at the quality of their drivers? Not many that we are aware of or have ever seen. However, let’s look at the driver’s responsibility to tyre management and maintenance. As mentioned, drivers are the most important factor in preserving tyre life and preventing tyre damage. They are closer to the tyres at all times than anyone in the fleet, and their actions impact directly and immediately on their wellbeing. They should be checking the tyres for damage before every trip; checking their inflation pressures each week and they should be watching the decreasing tread depth all the time. They should also be checking for irregular wear and driving with due consideration of the tyres at all times. Very little of the above checks are happening on a regular basis. In fact it has got to the stage that many drivers refuse to check their vehicles because it’s “not their job”. Management should not accept this and rather include these tyre safety checks in their job descriptions. If a driver isn’t prepared to take responsibility for his vehicle, he shouldn’t be allowed to drive it on the roads.
and Their Contribution to Safety in Motoring www.bridgestone.co.za
Fleet owners and managers need to start merging those two thoughts and they need to get their staff communicating that thinking down the lines. By connecting safety to tyres, the importance of tyres will be elevated in the minds of all the staff. Once the mindset is in place the maintenance and management and care of the most safety critical items in your fleets will be elevated to an acceptable standard. The importance will be realised and the safety of the whole fleet will improve. This will result in improved economy of tyre usage, and an improved bottom line. It is a win situation all round. Road safety is a dire concern in this country and does not seem to get the attention it deserves. Drivers are more irresponsible with worsening driving habits and like several things in life; the individual usually believes that he alone can’t make a difference. This is a problem to be faced and corrected because each one of us can make a difference. Fleet owners are in control of more vehicles, and they can take the lead instead of setting a poor example. We need just one fleet to take up the challenge and adopt an internal culture of thinking about SAFETY first. The best place to start is with the product that is most overlooked and the most safety critical. Proper tyre maintenance results in less downtime, improved bottom line, more reliability which equals better service delivery and improved ROAD SAFETY. And all it takes to achieve this is staff training and discipline and a change of mindset. Tyres and safety – one thought, one goal.
This month we are going to look at communication. The communication needed between the people responsible for the maintenance of tyres in your fleet.
And now for the communication we mentioned earlier. The workshop has obvious areas of tyre maintenance that should be part of their regular responsibilities. Then there are the functions that have to be communicated to the workshop by the tyre staff; and in the same way they should be communicated to them by the drivers. Equally the workshop will observe tyre or mechanical concerns which may have an effect on the tyres which they need to communicate to the tyre department, and/or the drivers. For tyres to be well maintained, a team approach is required, and the team needs to communicate well. A breakdown in communication could mean a breakdown at the roadside. Even worse it could end in an accident. We’ve said it before and we will keep saying it; tyres are the only physical contact a vehicle has with the road surface. Tyres are safety critical items, they give you control and they need to be maintained and looked after. Fleet owners need to adopt a new approach. They need to look at driver training, they need to re-write the job descriptions and they need to get the communication channels open and working. They need to start thinking and preaching safety. Safety and tyres should always be one thought.
Stay Alert, Stay Alive, and Go Green
by Austin Gamble
The Stay Alert, Stay Alive project is starting to grow legs, and the legs are green! This was clear at a function at the Wanderers Club held on 30 August 2010, to bring the message of environmental awareness home to the leaders of tomorrow.
hat originally started out as a road safety initiative, Stay Alert, Stay Alive is becoming much bigger. And to my mind, much better. The road safety aspect is still the raison d’etre, but now the element of eco-driving, intelli-driving, and all the good things associated with being a “cultural creative” are being added. Avis, Pick ‘n Pay, Scania, Nikon, Eco-Drive, Willard, Food & Trees for Africa, Monroe, BP, and others are all pitching in with the green message. The message is one of environmental awareness, sustainability, and most importantly, the need to educate the children of today, so that they become the responsible leaders of tomorrow. Not just responsible leaders, but also role models, each and every one of them. This is vital, because our generation has blown it.
Eugene Herbert, CEO of RAC Driving Solutions, with Wayne Duvenhage, CEO of Avis, at the Stay Alert, Stay Alive function
As I drove away in my 4 litre SUV, to cover the next motorsport event, which to get to I needed to board a very environmentally unfriendly Boeing aircraft, I got stuck in traffic. While intermittently idling away and/or edging forward on the highway for two hours while SANRAL fiddles around on the roads (can’t you guys just work a little bit faster and a little bit more intelligently) to allow even more traffic on our roads so we can pollute some more, I glugged a beer and threw the can out of the car window, and I pondered about corporate responsibility. Okay, I didn’t glug a beer and I definitely did not throw the can out of the window (some idiots do this!), but you get the point. The point is that i-driving should mean intelli-driving and not idiot-driving. Avis gets the point, so it was a pleasure to hear CEO Wayne Duvenhage give his angle on corporate responsibility. ABR hopes to give our readers much more from Wayne in the future, but as an appetiser I give you some of the points he made. He says that it is all about making this planet (our only planet, so listen up folks) and our world more habitable. And the key question he posed is “what does all this green talk mean?” It is easy to talk green, but it is our responsibility to ask for substantiation. There is a lot of mystery surrounding green issues, and Wayne says that the way to demystify is to talk hard facts, and to act on these facts. For Avis South Africa, it all started in the 1970’s when then CEO Glenn van Heerden started to get Avis involved in nature conservation, a “green” issue that goes back to the efforts of politicians such as Paul Kruger and Teddy Roosevelt. Noteworthy, but not new, and done when the concept of global warming could only be found in esoteric scientific tomes. It has only been in the past five years or so that Avis started to debate internally the role that they could play in environmental awareness, and very importantly, as Wayne will repeatedly tell you, a meaningful role. Much more on this in future issues of ABR, a future brought to us all by far thinking businessmen such as Wayne Duvenhage.
The Glenstantia Primary School Senior Choir put the message into music.
A Man with a Brand
Joao Amorim is a self-made businessman, and has found success in his endeavours. He works hard and he plays hard. Having established Rustenburg Auto Electrical some 28 years ago, Joao is now able to proudly say that it is the foremost independent automotive workshop in the fastest growing town in South Africa. Whilst still not having the time to take long holidays, Joao occasionally spoils himself with two day breaks to indulge his passions for flying, biking, fly fishing, scuba diving and skiing. In short, Joao and his wife and constant companion, Cathy, enjoy life to the full.
Joao and Cathy Amorim work as a successful husband and wife team, and together they have moulded a support crew of handpicked technicians and admin staff. Their business philosophy is based on the sound principles of honesty, hard work, dedication, customer care and loyalty. Loyalty to staff, customers, and, of course, self and family. This loyalty is the driving force behind his success, and the rationale for not resting on one’s laurels. Rustenburg Auto Electrical is always a hive of activity, and not just with the repairing and servicing of cars. Joao is always re-inventing his business, and revamping and improving on a continual basis. Having qualified as a Bosch System Technician over 20 years ago, he has had the benefit of learning the “Bosch way”, i.e. professionalism, technical compeAlways look- tence, and always ing ahead, staying abreast of and thinking the latest advances. of his Thus it was a nocustomers, brainer when the eJoao has CAR workshop installed power concept was introback-up, just duced in 2004, Cathy and Joao Amorim in their inviting reception area in case with Rustenburg Auto Electrical one of the first to join. Joao and Cathy related to the national identity, the national and regional advertising, the catchy e-CAR name, the affordable workshop model, and the other good things that go with a world class concept, but the most important thing was that “it is lonely being a man without a brand”. The good news is that the decision taken some six years ago has brought its rewards for all and sundry, and like the biblical story of how the multitudes were fed with just five loaves and two fish, Joao has fed many fellow citizens of Rustenburg with e-CAR ads, promotions, and word of mouth endorsements from satisfied customers. The Rustenburg motorists now know that e-CAR means good service and value for money in this platinum inspired town.
The recently revamped customer counter is indicative of Rustenburg Auto Electrical never resting on its laurels
To join the fastest growing workshop network in South Africa and to add a new dimension to your business, contact Wilfried Langenbach at 086 000 3227 (086 000 ECAR)
Customer C.A.R.E. Programme
– sponsored by Federal-Mogul
Module Sixteen - THE HUT SYSTEM
Rules and Regulations
To succeed, the Hut System needs to follow the C3 cardinal rule, which is COMMUNICATION, CO-OPERATION and COORDINATION. I cannot think of a single company, government department, or even a household that would not benefit from the C3 rule. To succeed and prosper, there are further rules and regulations that need to be strictly adhered to. These are, in no particular order of importance; 1. Each hut must have a leader, who must be respected by the team. 2. Each and every member of the kraal is important, therefore respect must be shown by and to each and every member of the kraal. 3. Every specific function must have an owner (leader), with a specific team, whose members may sometimes be drawn from numerous other huts. 4. The owners concentrate on keeping the hut clean, and also in keeping the area in front of the hut clean. 5. Team members may not sweep in front of other people’s huts, unless specifically requested by the owner of that hut. 6. When a hut is not clean, or the area in front of that hut is not clean, then every kraal member has the right to discuss this with the “owner” of that hut, but it has to be discussed according to the rules of the kraal, and with PHAMBILI UBUNTU. * 7. If the hut stays dirty, despite numerous attempts at communication, then a delegation (minimum 3 people) is entitled to go to the paramount chief (the chief executive) to discuss the situation. The paramount chief will make a decision, based on the FACTS, and should always strive for a SOLOMONIC result, with the interests of the kraal being, eh, paramount. 8. The paramount chief must always seek harmony in the kraal. 9. Sometimes, the paramount chief will not agree with what is happening in a hut, and will then have to take arbitrary action. N.B. This should be a very rare occurrence! If not, then there will be something seriously wrong with either the kraal, or the paramount chief, or both! 10. ALL DECISIONS, and I repeat, ALL DECISIONS taken by the huts, must be taken for the principal benefit of the customer. The customer, need I remind you, is the one actually paying for the existence of the kraal. Follow these rules, and you will have a very successful kraal. * PHAMBILI UBUNTU, literally translated, means to go forward with dignity.
1. Why is it important that the huts concentrate on keeping their own huts clean? Discuss. 2. What is your interpretation of the phrase, “going forward with dignity”? Discuss. 3. What do you understand by the term, “the customer is paying for the existence of the kraal”? Discuss.
by Alwyn Viljoen
New tender deadline
The deadline for provincial tenders to transport and process waste tyre has been postponed from the original August deadline to “possibly during October/ November 2010”. Provincial transporters will have until next year September to get their logistics in place to collect tyres.
Hermann Erdmann, spokesman for the Tyre Dealers and Fitment Association , has reacted strongly against the report in ABR that their Integrated Industry waste tyre management plan includes a proposal to see the unofficial re-grooving of old tyres (which happens daily in townships) made official. The TDAFA does not support re-grooving of tyres. With the introduction of the TDAFA proposed Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan training, safer processes and standards will make provision for the upliftment of these illegal re-groovers to operate in other areas within this industry within the legal parameters and given the various business opportunity arising for the previously disadvantaged. Illegal re-grooving of tyres is not supported by the Tyre Dealers and Fitment Association and ABR apologises for the mistake.
Help tyres gardens take root
At the time of print, government was still dithering on finally approving a national waste tyre management plan. Meanwhile, the Johannesburg Greenhouse project is creating backyard vegetable gardens in old tyres and they welcome partners who can help their initiative to feed the nation take root in other areas. Contact Zini Them on 011-720-3773.
“The problem that we have is that at the moment there are no DEA approved tyre producer management plans. – SATRP”
Tyres Burning in Limbo
The Vatican’s International Theological Commission officially denied the existence of limbo, the outer circle of hell, on April 20, 2007. It hasn’t helped our tyre industry much. Alwyn Viljoen tells why…
year after the Department of Environmental Affair’s September deadline for tyre producers to submit their plans to manage waste tyres, the bulk of SA’s annual waste tyre crop are still being dumped in landfills, or worse, regrooved and sold informally. For those not embroiled in the tyre recycling saga, all tyre manufacturers and importers must subscribe to a plan, according to the Waste Tyre Regulation (WTR) of 2009. Para 6.7 of these regulations states a tyre producer may not manufacture, import tyres or vehicles fitted with tyres, or distribute or sell tyres, unless they can demonstrate that they either have a management plan approved by the Minister, or belong to an existing management plan approved by the Minister. The section-21 SA Tyre Recycling Programme Company (SATRP) has submitted an integrated plan which is widely expected to become the national norm. Environmental Affair’s chief director of communications, Albi Modise said: “Of the four Integrated Industry Waste management plans which were received, only one met the criteria for
preparation of waste tyre management plans, as set out in the Waste Tyre Regulations.” This plan has been under review for several months, with no deadline in sight. While the review drags on, the entire tyre industry hangs in limbo. As the SATRP website explains: “The problem that we have is that at the moment there are no DEA approved tyre producer management plans, therefore the tyre dealer will be obliged to dispose of the waste tyres in terms of the General Prohibitions of the WTR, regulation 4.” This regulation allows for waste tyres to be disposed of by recycling or energy recovery if authorised by law or disposal at a landfill site. The SATRP’s plan favours burning them. Small wonder then that everyone, especially the Earthlife Africa Toxics Group, are so keen to hear the results of the first trialburn of old tyres at the new Port Shepstone NPC kiln near Port Shepstone. Environmental groups opposed to the burning of tyres raised concerns over toxic smoke and the possibility that a green fee will in fact pay the cement companies to save substantially on their coal costs by burning tyres.
Giovanni Lodetti, plant manager at the NPC-Cimpor plant at Simuma near Port Shepstone, told ABR that trial was conducted specifically to assess what effect it would have on their smoke if they mixed tyres with coal in the 1450 degrees Celsius kiln. “We are excited and upbeat over the anticipated results, which are currently being analysed locally and overseas as case studies have shown that mixing old commercial tyres into coal kilns typically has no impact on the baseline emission results,” Lodetti said. Independent research confirms his statement. European results show that a tyre-coal mix can even reduce cement kiln emission levels, with the bonus that none of the energy locked up in tyres end up the landfills. Bandag SA, which specialises in truck tyre retreads, does make a strong argument to use more retreads before burning tyres. The group has a proven best practise in the U.S. called “reduce, re-use and recycle” which, Bandag claims, reuses about 75% of the material in more than 14 million medium truck tires that are being retreaded annually in the U.S. The saga continues.
South African Drivers Hope to Explode out of the Blocks at the TNT Drive Me Challenge
6 October 2010 is an auspicious day for Elliot Tau, winner of the inaugural South African TNT Drive Me Challenge. As the sun rises on the airfield at Valkenburg, Netherlands, where the event will be held, Elliot and his co-driver Kobus Fourie, will be girding their loins to take on the other TNT teams from across the globe, as they compete in the fourth annual international TNT Drive Me Challenge.
lliot and South Africa’s runner-up Lefa Mathibela have been taking intensive lessons from MasterDrive this past month, in preparation for this keenly contested event. Lefa is on standby just in case, but judging by Elliot’s resolve when ABR caught up with him on 21st September during a training session, wild horses will not keep him away from doing South Africa proud. The training is focused on ecodriving and precision driving, which constitutes 75% of the marks allocated Nick Osborne and Derek Kirkby use the Edenvale in the competition. The remaining 25% Hyperama parking area for parallel parking, ally docking, and position of vehicle training, whilst is allocated to tasks and customer care, eco-driving skills are imparted on the road. which the guys are already well versed in, to which any TNT customer shall attest. Eco-driving is a big factor, and this is where MasterDrive plays a big role in inculcating habits that are seldom adhered to by the majority of drivers in this country. It is all about using less fuel and caring for the environment. ABR spoke to Nick Osborne, MasterDrive Instructor, and Derek Kirkby, MasterDrive Team Manager, about these concepts. They confirmed that the biggest challenge as driving instructors is to alter existing driving skills. They encourage gear changes at 2 500 revs, a keen anticipation of traffic and conditions, smooth driving, and the avoidance of excessive idling (maximum 40 seconds per stop). They do have other tips, but for the moment these remain the preserve of the TNT drivers. The MasterDrive fundis confirmed that whilst Elliot and Lefa had good driving skills, they initially lacked ecoawareness, but with each training session they were getting better, and whilst not yet at 100%, the understanding of the concepts would put them in good stead for the day of the event and future competitions. As Nick put it, “Elliot is well prepared, and the only concerns that we have is the possibility that he will be disadvantaged with an unfamiliar left-hand drive, and rookie nerves are always a factor”. Lefa Mathibela and Elliot Tau take a break from the intensive training. Elliot confided that he was not yet nervous, but maybe he will be on the day of the competition. With passport and visa in his pocket, he was looking forward to doing well in the competition, and promised to do his best for his country. He had learnt a lot in the training, and was now up to speed “on stuff I was not aware of ”. Despite being the bridesmaid, Lefa was taking the training very seriously. He confirmed that he saw the training as important for next year’s challenge, and that everything he was now learning he “could apply on the road, and I am already applying what I’ve learnt on the road, which makes me a skilled driver in all the aspects”.
Permatex – for Professionals
The modern engine is an engineering marvel, compared to engines of yore. Advances, particularly in the last 10 to 15 years, have been remarkable. This progress has however come at a price. Not a prohibitive price, TopClass MD, Richard Pinard but the modern engine is rather finicky, and needs to be cared for like a thoroughbred horse. And engine electronics mean that durability, performance, fuel consumption, and other aspects are reliant on finely calibrated sensors that work well in optimum conditions, but play up when confronted with incorrect input or foreign substances. It is thus incumbent on the professional automotive technician to take cognisance of this, and when undertaking repairs to ensure that only the finest materials and parts are used.
elp is at hand for these professional technicians, and has been around for over a century. Since 1909, quality Permatex® products have been used in workshops, garages, and racing circuits around the world. Permatex offers a wide range of adhesives, sealants, gasket makers, hand cleaners, lubricants, appearance parts, specialty repair kits, and additives. This ongoing success has been built on always ensuring the right product for the vehicles of the time, and in the words of Andy Robinson, Permatex General Manager, “providing best-in-the-business performance and value”. But what exactly defines best-in-thebusiness? When it comes to gasket makers, gasket removers and carburettor cleaners, best-in-business means that a professional automotive technician can use these products in the knowledge that they are safe for both older engines and modern engines. Particularly, and crucially, Permatex products are safe for the modern engine.
The Permatex Ultra Series RTV Silicone Gasket Makers
The Permatex Ultra Series RTV Silicone Gasket Makers are non-corrosive, low odour, vibration resistant, and guaranteed not to leak. They also have outstanding resistance to oils and cooling fluids. The most important characteristic of Permatex gasket makers is that they are sensor safe, as modern engines can be damaged by acid substances in silicone. And curing time is very important, as uncured silicone can mix with engine oil and clog oil galleries – this can lead to engine failure. Inferior products can thus lead to engine failure, so the professional automotive technician cannot afford to take chances with inferior product, and needs to use best-inthe-business, i.e. Permatex.
Permatex Gasket Remover
When it comes to removing gaskets, similar principles apply. Permatex Gasket Remover quickly removes all solvent based gasketing adhesives and sealants. Speed is of the essence, and the fast-foaming action of this innovative product penetrates the most stubborn or baked-on gaskets in 15 to 20 minutes. It also prepares the flange for the new gasket, and by reducing the need for scraping and grinding, it eliminates any potential damage to the flanges.
The Permatex Motor Muscle® Throttle Body, Carb and Choke Cleaner
This OEM certified product cleans and dissolves residue and performance robbing deposits on air intakes, carburettors, chokes and throttle bodies. Once again, because of modern technology throttle body cleaners must be sensor safe, and naturally, Permatex fits the bill. The professional automotive technician understands that throttle bodies get dirty from the engine gas recirculation and thus to maintain performance they should be cleaned as part of the normal maintenance procedure.
Gearing up for Growth
Deon Barkhuizen has gearbox oil running through his veins, and gearbox DNA in his genes, having inherited his passion for transmissions and the like from his father Chris, who worked at Gearmax for 30 years. Therefore, it is not surprising that, since its establishment in 1999, Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre has established itself as one of the leading gearbox outfits in South Africa.
eon also cut his teeth at Gearmax, and proved his mettle when managing the Samcor (Ford) remanufacturing contract. When he established Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre, his main aim was to deliver the right product for the aftermarket, and to provide service excellence. This aim was achieved by building around him a handpicked team of specialist staff with a hands-on focused approach. The team, with Deon serving as Managing Director, included his father Chris (Technical Director), who joined in 2004, Ferdie Victor (Workshop Director), who joined in 2003 after an eight year stint with Land Rover Pretoria, and Wimpie Geldenhuys (Financial Director). This executive team runs a tight ship, and Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre serves as a beacon for all Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi and other brand owners who need specialised assistance on manual and automatic transmissions, transfer cases, front and rear axles, and propshafts. Commercial and industrial applications are also catered for. The commitment to quality and customer satisfaction soon led to Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre being appointed as an approved supplier to Land Rover South Africa in 2004, and today the company supports all local products with genuine Land Rover parts in conjunction with Land Rover SA, supplying all remanufactured and reconditioned units directly to the Land Rover SA warehouse. With this pedigree behind them, Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre has now been contracted by the SANDF (South African National Defence Force) to maintain their fleet of Land Rover Defenders, bumper to bumper, in their operations in Africa, with a team of specialists flying regularly to remote parts of Africa to do the necessary maintenance. Their fame has spread far and wide, and Deon and his executive are now looking at additional overseas business ventures. There are several unsung heroes in this scenario, not least being the Capricorn Society. Membership of this co-operative minded company has allowed Deon and management to concentrate on the operational aspects of the business, with the knowledge that the back office needs are in good hands.
Wimpie Geldenhuys, Deon Barkhuizen and Chris Barkhuizen
They come from far and wide to get their Land Rovers serviced at Centurion Gearbox & Diff Centre Wimpie Geldenhuys, Financial Director, tells ABR that having all the purchases under one account has streamlined the supply side of the business, and he also appreciates the Capricorn clout which allows him to buy at competitive prices. Another well received perk is the year end dividends, and the options allowed with regard to disbursement. The ability to buy capital equipment through the Capricorn financing system is highly prized by Wimpie, and he truly values the immense support that he receives from Andre Changuion and the other Capricorn staff members, coupled with the personal attention. Wimpie says that in the seven years that he has interacted with Capricorn, he has never had an issue. Truly remarkable in this day and age. The biggest accolade Deon, Chris, Victor and Wimpie leave for last, “Capricorn is not just a business, they are friends”.
To join Capricorn Society Limited call André Changuion on 083 287 3498 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website on www.capricorn.com.au
The Rotary Club of Johannesburg presents its 2009 Achiever of the Year Award
The Rotary Club of Johannesburg, established in 1921, making it the oldest Rotary Club in Africa, presents an award each year to someone who has made a contribution to our society, and thus someone who has made a difference. This award, known as the Achiever of the Year Award, is becoming something of an institution, and the announcement of the recipient is eagerly awaited.
To get some sense of the import of this award, just take a look at recent awardees: 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 The helicopter squadrons and crews of the SAAF who played a vital role in the Mozambique flood rescues Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni for his achievements in creating monetary stability Constitutional Court Judge Zak Yacoob for his contributions to creating a just South Africa Rugby World Cup Winning Springbok Coach Jake White Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille for being recognised as Global Mayor of the Year
or 2009, the award was made at the Johannesburg Country Club on 26 August 2010, and the recipient was Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. This being a 2009 award, he got the nod in recognition of his leadership and work in refining the South African tax system during his years at SARS. The collection of taxes will never be a popular pastime, but it is a necessary “evil”, and as the nomination for the award came from a tax practitioner, certain efficiencies in the system have obviously delighted those close to the coalface. The outcome, as the Minister stated in his acceptance speech, has made South Africa the envy of the developed world, having achieved the status some years ago of being a politically and fiscally sovereign nation.
The e-filing system developed under Gordhan’s reign has served bigger purposes, as it has served as an electronic platform for many government departments, which eventually has to translate into sorely needed efficiencies. He lauded South Africa as a nation of miracles, not least being the recent World Cup under the “fiefdom” of FIFA, and he called for South Africans to adopt the spirit of Rotarians, and the adoption of the highest ethical standards, a sense of community, and a symbol of responsibility. He warned that we must not adopt the “Wall Street Spirit of Greed and Self ”, as corruption is a growing industry in South Africa. We must not let profit be the prime motivator, and the Rotary community is a trigger to our consciences. As Mandela says, “The good people must stand up for what is right – we all have this responsibility”. We all need to build an ethical society, and to strive for a society that ensures we all live well, but in a modest manner. The Minister pointed out that we live in uncertain times, with talk of double dip and bungee recessions, newly coined terms to explain the erratic economic numbers being bandied about. We are seeing a shift in the centre of gravity, as the world moves away from Eurocentric and Western thinking.
Minister Pravin Gordhan receives the Rotary Club of Johannesburg Achiever of the Year Award 2009 from Past President Neil van Santen
South Africa needs to take cognisance of this, and to confront the challenges going forward. Unemployment is the biggest challenge. With four million unemployed youth, we need to become imaginative about solving unemployment. The youth are the future, but we are not giving them a future. The burden falls upon the business community to mentor these youth. Those with the wherewithal must take the lead. Wise words indeed, and well worth heeding, from the Sate President down to the small employer. All can make a difference.
Success & Failure Two Sides of the Same Entrepreneurial Coin
Pavlo Phitidis is a Director of Aurik, an organisation that works with entrepreneurs and their businesses to grow them into assets of commercial value. www.aurik.co.za
re you successful and what does it mean? The definition of success varies from person to person, but here, I am referring to business success. Commercial success does not come for free for most of us. For the majority, we have to do things differently and start taking risks which, of course, increases the risk of failure. Unfortunately, talking about failure is taboo when in fact success and failure are two sides of the same entrepreneurial coin. That South Africans have an extremely low tolerance for entrepreneurial failure is evident in the way whispered dinner party conversations gleefully report the failures of colleagues, friends and relatives. Of course, this might have something to do with the nature of human beings. Could someone else’s failure simply make us feel better because had the potentially successful individual actually succeeded it might have drawn attention to our own mediocrity? It is interesting to note that a recent study found that it’s not having bundles of money that makes people happy, but rather having bundles more than the next person. It’s not just individuals who refuse to tolerate the failures of those brave enough to try, but the entire South African legal and business establishment. As long as no fraud was involved, those who were trying to create a better future for themselves, their families and erstwhile employees should be rehabilitated quicker and they should not be pulverized into the ground. Few people realize that Silicon Valley venture capitalists actually look for signs of early failure when entrepreneurs come to them for funding. Entrepreneurial failure is viewed as a badge of honour in the US because it points to a valuable learning curve. However, this is only true if the entrepreneur has dealt with early failure in a constructive way. By Pavlo Phitidis, CEO at Aurik Business Incubator The converse of the above is a victim mindset which results from the failure to take responsibility for an unsuccessful venture. The result of the latter is disempowerment and long-term failure whereas the result of the former is empowerment and long-term success. We should, of course, look at how the initial failure occurred. If the failure was due to the entrepreneur being reckless and possibly squandering other people’s hard-earned money, then that is certainly no badge of honour. However, if the overly-eager entrepreneur took on a mammoth task that was simply too much, too soon, and then following
This implies that the entrepreneur has come to terms with and taken responsibility for failure. He has attributed little blame to others, he now has insight into what went wrong and he has progressed further after failure than before things went awry.
failure, took steps to determine what had gone wrong, then that indicates the required thinking of an eventually successful entrepreneur. Generally, we need to encourage a culture that acknowledges entrepreneurs, whether they fail or succeed, push the boundaries of economic activity that will ultimately build a bigger economy with more opportunities for all of us. If the wagon trail started out on the American East Coast aiming for California but ended up in Oklahoma, that’s still further than having stayed put. Entrepreneurs, for all their efforts, should be lauded as explorers expanding the limits of human economic activity and service to society by providing better quality, greater access and improved pricing through commercializing their innovation. World history is littered with voyages of discovery that went horribly wrong at the time but still turned out to have a positive impact on human progress later on. Christopher Columbus might not have found the sea route to India but he landed somewhere that proved to be rather important to the world’s economy a few hundred years later. The way South African culture and indeed the media shun entrepreneurial flops is discouraging more of us from becoming entrepreneurs because the shame of failure increases the risk involved in leaving that comfortable corporate job. Let’s encourage more South Africans to take the entrepreneurial plunge, creating much-needed formal employment for the less-risk averse. Then should they fail, let’s give our economic explorers a short, sharp kick – not to knock them to the ground, but to encourage them to get up and try again! By bringing the valuable experience of failure to bear, the entrepreneur outsmarts and outclasses the armchair critic who can only point out what others are doing wrong, without ever taking on the risk of potential failure in the hope of eventual success.
by Austin Gamble
At its AGM on 25 August 2010 ITS South Africa elected its new board for 2010/2011. The AGM was also an opportunity for ITSSA to confer on guest speaker Jack van der Merwe, better known as Mr. Gautrain, a certificate of appreciation for making the Gautrain dream come true.
ITS South Africa Elects New Board
(TCI-Techso) (Tollink) (Syntell) Immediate Past President President Vice President Chief Executive (City of Durban) (SANRAL) (Johannesburg Road Agency) (City of Cape Town) (ITS-Engineers) (TMT)
The elected board and management team is:
Mthembeni Mkhize Peter Filbey Andrew Houliston Dr. Paul Vorster Andrew Aucamp Gail Bester Andrew Bodibe Peter Sole Jan Coetzee Darryl Thomas
Jack van der Merwe, in his keynote address, revealed a detail that upon reflection is far more exceptional than the Gautrain engineering project. He disclosed that the Auditor General, in a very brief audit report, recently gave the Gautrain project, in all its manifestations, a clean bill of health, i.e. totally unqualified. This is indeed rare in South Africa, as rare as the Dodo. Thank goodness there are still people like Jack van der Merwe around. Taking some questions from ABR and Engineering News, Jack also assured the august audience that he is talking to Bombela, the Gautrain operating company, about many issues, and the good news is that operating times of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. is just around the corner – once again, thank goodness that there are still sensible people like Jack van der Merwe around – rare, but not extinct. With regard to air passengers being able to book in at Sandton Station, Jack said that this is on the cards, but only after the full Gautrain project is complete. He also revealed that the Gautrain is waiting for a permit, to allow it to expand to eight carriages, as opposed to the current four carriages. Passenger numbers are holding steady at 76 400 per week, which is spot on with the original predictions. Before embarking on an experiential visit from the Sandton Station to OR Tambo Airport, the delegates were intrigued to learn from a presentation by Sport & Traffic Technologies that there are currently 11 218 parking bays with sensors (those red and green lights) deployed at OR Tambo Airport, and that they are delivering 99,998% accuracy. This translates into a 7% better utilisation of the parking areas, and of course increased turnover for ACSA. This project paid for itself in 18 months, but unfortunately will not result in parking tariffs coming down – if you believed that ACSA would be that altruistic then you will also believe in the tooth fairy.
The newly elected ITS South Africa Board with Dr. Paul Vorster, Chief Executive of ITSSA (Jan Coetzee and Gail Bester were absent)
Mthembeni Mkhize (TCITechso) Immediate Past President of ITSSA, presents the certificate of appreciation to Jack van der Merwe.
by Roger McCleery
Roger McCleery asks the questions
See how many of these 20 Questions you can answer.
1. What was the biggest selling passenger car in South Africa in August? 2. Who leads the Moto GP Championship after Misano? 3. Where does he come from? 4. What is the name of the new bakkie from Volkswagen? 5. Who is the fastest man ever in an MG? 6. Who is the second fastest man to drive an MG? 7. What company makes a model called Livina? 8. What is the name of the suburb of Modena where Ferraris are manufactured? 9. Name two South Africans who have won their home Formula 1 GPs. 10. What country built the first dual carriage freeway? 11. For what purpose? 12. Name three Jewish Formula 1 Grand Prix drivers. 13. Where was the first Formula 1 World Championship race held in the USA? 14. The Alfa Romeo pre-war Grand Prix cars were stored where during WWI? 15. What motorcycle uses Desmodromic valve gear? 16. General Koos de la Rey and the Foster Gang drove similar cars. What were they? 17. What Nationality was Ferdinand Porsche? 18. What is the maximum distance for a Formula 1 Grand Prix? 19. How many drivers could win the 2010 World F1 Championship with 5 GP’s to go? 20. Route 66 in the USA runs between which two major cities?
Answers on page 84
by Fingal Wilde
Calling the Kettle Black
behaviour of ministers and ANC heavyweights. These are issues that will eventually bring down the emperors. Even Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi has identified this as the Achilles Heel of the current regime, in his vivid portrayal of their venality and greed; “We're headed for a predator state where a powerful, corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas are increasingly using the state to get rich,” says Vavi. What is just as bad, even though modest in comparison to what is going on in the offices of the state, is the lifestyle of the newly rich and facetiously famous political elite. Elite as in defining our “leaders”, rather than e-lite as describing their contribution to the country. It still boggles my mind that a communist gets a R1,2 million car with indecent haste as soon as he has his hands on the levers of power, whilst a perfectly functional vehicle for a fraction of the price would be more appropriate, both as a way to proclaim his non-bourgeois roots, and some sort of perfunctory nod to the situation on the country. And then our newly created Generals in the police farce who spend taxpayers money like water to get into plush offices, and to divert some of the budget to political cronies. This, Minister Gordhan, should be exercising your mind, and focusing your tongue, rather than what is happening thousands of miles away. Please clean your own doorstep before judging others. Otherwise it is like the pot calling the kettle black at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending some delightful time with some well- informed people, and in listening to an erudite Finance Minister give a well-constructed acceptance speech at the Johannesburg Rotary Club’s Achiever of the Year Award function, held at the very colonial Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
ll very civilised, and all so lovely. The peasants may have been revolting, but we were insulated from the hoi polloi. As the King of Id said when told that the peasants were revolting, “I agree”. But, as I drove home, I was not in a good mood. I was, if the truth be told, in a foul mood. The company had been good, the gourmet quality food was being happily digested, and the excellent wine was being eagerly processed into high quality urine, so what was the disconnect? It was the comments made by Minister Gordhan! He had said all the right things about his tenure at SARS, and he had made all the politically correct noises around the on-going strikes, and he had set the right tone for the evening with the obligatory plaudits for his hosts. Question time had also been handled adroitly, with nary a foot been put wrong, or going near the mouth area. But, it was one comment, neatly finessed into his speech, which was catching in the craw. The comment was that we must not descend to the level of the Western world, and that we must not adopt the “Wall Street spirit of greed and self ”! Reasonably innocuous, I hear you say. After all, those nasty bankers and financiers did take us into a very uncomfortable recession. True, but when the messenger is part of something far worse, I simply cannot take these words without a large pinch of salt. Make that a cellar of salt. Before you get onto your lofty stallion, hear me out. This gentleman has been the Minister of Finance for the past two years, and whilst his budgets have been received with general approval, it is what he is presiding over that gets my processed urea into a froth. He may not be guilty of the corruption and falsehoods that have become the norm at the Union Buildings, but he is guilty of presiding over a particularly nasty era in our country’s leaders custodianship of our finances and moral fibre, with very little objection, or maybe even more necessary, outright condemnation. Forget the disgraceful shenanigans around the Imperial Crown Trading acquisition of mining rights, or the tenderpreneur
by Adrian Burford
crat, Count Enrico Baracca, the father of Francesco Baracca, Italy’s top-scoring ace in WWI who in 1918 had been shot down in his SPAD biplane. ate for a brand which majors on horsepower. And boy, have they stuck to their knitting, keeping car buffs on the edge of their seat for more than 50 years as they’ve eagerly awaited the reveal of the company’s next sports car. I’d never say never, but diesel power and SUVs still seem as alien to Ferrari as diplomacy to Bob Mugabe, and I hope I don’t see Ferrari’s Cayenne in my lifetime. And I’m sure Enzo would’ve felt the same. So we’ve had a steady diet of mid-engined, two-seater supercars: 308, 365, 512, 348, Testarossa, 355, 360, 430 and most recently, the 458. There have been some extraordinary front-engined GTs over the years too; like the gorgeous 275, the original Daytona, the 456, the 550 and the 575. One of the earliest, the 500 Superfast, is my personal favourite. Then there were the even more exotic supercars: going back to the 250 GTO (for Gran Turismo Omologato) of 1962, the 288 GTO two decades later, and on to the almost visceral F40 and F50 which celebrated the number of years that Ferrari had existed, even if in the case of the latter it wasn’t quite correct! That would be 1947 – if one agrees that the production of the first road car marks the true start of the Ferrari brand – but who would want to argue? An automotive world without Ferrari would be almost unimaginable.
Ferrari, for all its visual drama and iconic sports car status, always seems to be in the news, and not always for the right reasons. At least that’s how it is in the world of Formula One: the scarlet cars are never far from the limelight.
aybe it is because, to quote Bernie Eccelstone, “if there are no fires in F1, we will light them’ (a line I have unashamedly lifted from Roger McCleery’s motorsport column in the September issue of ABR!). Or maybe it is the tradition of wine at lunchtime at the Ferrari factory or maybe it is merely that Latin temperament. And one suspects that, even if it isn’t actually going on in public, then the screaming and shouting and wild gesticulating is still happening behind the scenes: I grew up with a couple of Italian families and it was often like that, though it never changed the fact that they all loved one another dearly. Enzo Ferrari was a family man, attending races with his father in his formative years and the patriarch (who owned a metalworking business) was also one of the first people in the region to own a car, so Enzo’s fascination with the wheeled beast started early. With the war out of the way – the young Enzo was conscripted and worked as a blacksmith – he started to pursue his ambition of being a race driver. By 1920 he was working for Alfa Romeo and racing their cars, finishing second in the Targa Florio at the end of that year. His career as a driver was reasonably successful and in 1923 the prancing black horse became his trademark. In that year he won the Circuito del Savio, an event which took place near Ravenna in North-eastern Italy. After the race he met a local aristo-
Baracca’s insignia had been a red horse on a white background and the Countess Paolina – Francesco’s mother - suggested that Enzo use this emblem on his race cars to bring him good luck. He considered this offer a great honour though he opted for a black horse on a canary yellow, shield-shaped background, which was the colour of his home town of Modena. The ‘Cavallino Rampante’ has gone on to become what is arguably the most instantly recognisable car badge in the world. The Italian colours; red, green and white, still form a band across the top of the rectangular badge on Ferrari road cars and on most of the race cars the letters SF – Scuderia Ferrari – has been added. Literally translated it means ‘Ferrari stable’ or ‘Ferrari stud’, which is rather appropri-
Consumer Protection Act ABR brings you a series of articles on the Consumer Protection Act.
Ready or not, the Consumer Act will start
Like the non-existent road traffic adjudicator, the act to protect buyers is not exactly ready to roll, but the show will go on. Alwyn Viljoen reveals more.
The Consumer Protection Act is due to come into effect on October 24. Several legal experts have however been questioning the viability of this implementation date while supporting regulations and administrative structures, as required by the Act, have yet to be created. Similar shortcomings are already nullifying all summonses issued for the Administra-tive Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto). As things stand, Aarto simply does not have appointed officials to deal with appeals. Yet, despite the glaring lack of any supporting framework for the consumer act, Daan Steenkamp of TMJ attorneys advised traders they “had best ready themselves for its implementation”. (And Steenkamp should know – TMJ can trace its roots back to 1898, when the first partner R Tomlinson opened his office in Durban.) As Steenkamp explained, the Consumer Act aims “to protect the ordinary consumer in his dealings with (regular) suppliers of goods or services in South Africa”. “The protection covers services, goods, franchise agreements and services rendered by clubs to their members. Larger – more sophisticated – consumers such as trusts and companies with high turnovers, are not protected. “Many suppliers have standard terms upon which they sell their wares. Typically these are printed on the rear of the invoice and limit the seller's liability resulting from the underperformance of the product,” he said. Asked if such conditions would be acceptable in future, Steenkamp advised “only if the consumer were to read these prior to signing and paying.” He warned that the so-called “tees and cees” should also be couched in simple language.
“One-sided and inequitable conditions are prohibited (by the Consumer Act). Conditions which limit the liability of a supplier or require an admission by the consumer must pertinently be brought to his attention”. Are people who sell their second-hand cars to a buyer, using a CNA-type standard contract on a voetstoots-basis subject to the Act? The short answer is “no”. Such a sale is a once-off transaction and the seller is not a dealer under the Act. Steenkamp
buyer that ABS does not, in fact, stop a vehicle over a shorter distance, and that the new Amarok even has a button to switch the ABS off to enable vastly shorter stopping distances on gravel. This of course changes the entire sales pitch. At least, Volkswagen made things easier with an entertaining website that show just how much shorter legendary Sarel van der Merwe managed to stop the
“Puffery, deceptive statements and even the failure to correct misunderstanding is prohibited”
Amarok on gravel while an anxious rally racer Gugu Zulu stands in the breaking zone… wearing only his BMW helmet. And even if a dealer's standard contract was deemed fair to date, it does not make the deal compliant with the new Consumer Act.
said that a sale by a second-hand car dealer to a man-in-the-street is, however, subject to the Act. “In addition to the above, the presale conduct of the agent would be controlled. “Puffery (exaggeration), deceptive statements and even the failure to correct misunderstanding is prohibited. To take a practical example, lets say a bakkie-buyer innocently asks a salesperson how ABS will make Volkswagen’s new Amarok stop quicker – a common enough misunderstanding among the buying public. The salesman now has to educate the “The pre-sale promises, the presentation and timing of the conclusion of the contract will need to be considered. This will require additional training of agents in addition to a revamp of existing contracts,” Steenkamp concluded.
A New Era Dawns
bration double cele ards had a his birthday Johan Richt 8 was also – Sep
8 September 2010 was a red letter day for Nissan Diesel (make that UD Trucks), as this day marked the official changeover from Nissan Diesel to the UD Trucks brand in South Africa. On hand to witness the ceremony were overseas dignitaries, management, staff, guests and the media.
s Johan Richards, CEO of UD Trucks, said at the well-attended ceremony, “the journey starts here”. Johan added that UD Trucks starts from a strong platform, particularly with its African footprint. Already the top truck exporter into Africa, UD Trucks have done extensive research into the challenges of selling new trucks into this vast continent, focusing on the fuel quality challenges and the many variants needed to satisfy these markets. Although dominated by used vehicles, things are changing, and UD Trucks are upgrading their dealerships and getting the fundamentals right – value for money product, customer support and providing a transport solution that is passionate, professional and dependable. ABR was there to take in the flavour:
Some gues ts dropped in unexpec tedly
to be the obus Wiese ter than K r for heavy trucks Who bet bassado brand am
tively CFO respec CEO and m Nissan Diesel e, ues Carels angeover fro s and Jacq ch an Richard officially mark the cks Joh cks, to UD Tru of UD Tru
Some of the co mpensations fo r the particip ants were beau tiful sunsets
Geely Returns the Lowest Fuel Consumption in its Class in Total Economy Run
A lone Geely MK2 1.5 GT Hatch, driven by veteran motor sport commentator and broadcaster Roger McCleery and navigated by a lesser known journalist, returned the lowest fuel consumption in its class in the 34th Total Economy Run, which took place took place early September in the eastern Free State.
ctual fuel consumption achieved over the 1 100-km two-day event was a class-winning 5,715 litres per 100 km. Unfortunately, a small error which had no bearing on the consumption, brought a penalty of an astonishing 10 litres, which resulted in them not winning the class. John Jessup, CEO of Geely South Africa, was delighted with the result. “We’re very happy that our car performed so well and we’ll definitely be supporting the Total Economy Run next year, with more vehicles.” Geely is the largest privately-run car manufacturer in China and recently announced new representatives in South Africa in the form of the Hallmark Motor Group, a sister company of the JSE-listed transportation, supply chain and logistics service provider Cargo Carriers and the family owned Magic Group, who each hold 50%. Both companies have extensive motor interests via franchised dealerships of Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai and General Motors. gement gine mana that the en e to ensure ered with p ies was ther Technolog systems were not tam Launch
rough ng was tho Scrutineeri
SA. om Geely van Wyk fr Andre leery with Roger McC
Piet Retief, Polokwane, Pietersburg, Pofadder, Port Elizabeth, Pinetown, Pretoria, you name it, one day Partinform will make its way to you. Parys South Africa definitely. Paris France maybe, because Partinform made its international debut on Wednesday 15 September 2010, when it hosted a networking event at the Automechanika Frankfurt. Not the Frankfort in the Free Sate, but the real deal in the state of Hesse, Germany. And the general consensus was that this event was also the real deal.
rankfurt am Main has become the exhibition capital of Europe, and the Automechanika held every two years in this commercial hub has become the pilgrimage of choice for the automotive aftermarket community east of the Cape Verde Islands, and even some from the new world that Christopher Columbus stumbled upon. South Africa punches above its weight in this endeavour, and it was for this reason that Partinform, the marketing arm of AAMA (Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Association), decided to do a Mohammed move on the mountain, and to go where the action was. Unlike the traditional Partinform show format that takes place locally, the international event focused on networking and a brief overview of the purpose of AAMA and Partinform, as the profile of the Automechanika visitor was significantly different to that of the local Partinform guests. The local version is aimed at the retailers and fitters of automotive parts, thus the recipe is a mixture of information, one on one technical interaction, the introduction of new parts and new ranges, and important advice on the merits of quality branded parts vs. parts of unknown origin and dubious quality. And very importantly, the ramifications of dealing in inferior product are spelt out, with specific reference to the impending Consumer Protection Act. The international visitors, comprising procurement personnel from wholesalers and retailers with reputations to uphold, are fully aware of these issues, and thus do not need specific advice on the ramifications, but a gentle reminder is not totally pointless. The fact that so many South Africans from the automotive aftermarket were together in one place was key to the function been held, and with over 60 high profile visitors attending the event, some serious networking took place.
Either way, Partinform plays a key role in facilitating debate, whether it is with a mobile mechanic or a procurement director, and the opportunity to educate one or one hundred is eagerly seized upon. Thus, two Partinform events took place within 24 fours of each other – the first in Polokwane, Limpopo, at 17h30 on Tuesday 14 September 2010, and the second in Frankfurt, Germany at 16h00 on Wednesday 15 September. Automotive Business Review, the official mouthpiece of AAMA and Partinform, was at both events to take in the action.
olokwane may not be an international metropolis, but it does serve as the business centre of the Limpopo Province, South Africa’s northernmost province. With over 10% of the population of our country, the majority of whom are dependent on the much maligned taxi industry for their daily transport, Limpopo is an important constituency for AAMA. With the yoke of responsibility of transporting five million commuters comfortably and safely, the taxi fraternity and its parts suppliers need all the help they can get with regard to information and advice on quality replacement parts, and the Partinform Trade Show was the ideal place to get this information. All the Partinform members were out in force to get the message of quality branded product across and the ancillary message of reliability, safety and value for money.
Retailer of the Show
After the votes were in, Far North Midas in Mokopane took the “Retailer of the Show” award. ABR spoke to Wessel Botha and asked about his secret of success. Wessel said that the kudos belonged to his team. “We are a young and dynamic team. We enjoy our training to improve the standards and to improve product knowledge. We offer quality and we take pride in our customer service”. Well done Wessel, and good luck in the “Retailer of the Year” competition, which goes to the wire at the Soweto Partinform on 9 November 2010. The Retailer of the Year wins a Forza Racing Experience on 25 November 2010.
Phaahla Teneson of Autozone Polokwane was the quiz king of the night, and he wins a drive in a Ferrari racing car at the Zwartkops Race Track on 25 November 2010. Phaahla also got the thumbs up from the Partinform ladies.
Co m p e t i t i o n Co r n e r
ABR readers also get a chance to win a Forza Racing Experience on 25 November 2010. The winners will be announced in our November 2010 issue. All you need to do is to answer three simple questions, and fax to 086 6579 289 or e-mail email@example.com Name and Surname: 1. Where did the first international Partinform networking event take place? Company: Position: Postal Address: 3. Which retailer took the “Retailer of the Show” award at the Polokwane Partinform Trade Show? Contact Tel.no’s: e-mail address:
2. What brand of spark plug features on the front cover of this month’s ABR issue?
rankf form F tin
Amidst the glitz and glamour of the world’s biggest parts event, generally recognised as Automechanika Frankfurt, one could find hidden gems across the 11 halls, not least in Hall 1.2, which housed the South African Pavilion. This was the venue for the inaugural Partinform Networking Event, where South African visitors to this iconic bi-annual shopping frenzy could rest their weary legs after two hard days of pounding the hundreds upon hundreds of aisles (45km of walking if you do the whole nine yards), and to compare their copious notes and to swap blister remedies. As the event was primarily a networking affair speeches were kept to a minimum, with Colin Murphy, Chairman of Partinform, enforcing a strict two minute maximum for the two mini-speeches from himself and Malcolm Perrie, Chairman of AAMA. ABR shall also observe this rule, by keeping our words in action to a minimum, and giving our readers a taste of the evening:
, welartinform irman of P the rphy, Cha e merits of Colin Mu sketched th g and guests and networkin comed the at, both in nd outform the goals a Partinform e outlined issues ods. H ed on the show meth and touch artinform sed to when comes of P ay as oppo dustry tod in 6, whilst an in 198 facing the ginally beg sponsiori the legal re Partinform g between nufacguishin facing ma also distin imperatives uct. He d moral otive prod bilities an s of autom ch and importer turers and ility that ea e responsib th e fence, sides of th emphasised from both eeds and of us, ts of the n every one g all aspec d ultimeetin market, an carries in otive after e autom st, from a wants of th the motori d user, i.e. en t. mately the safety aspec ance and perform
Malcolm Perrie, Chairman of AAMA, took the opportunity to give some background on AAMA (Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Association), and its purpose. Basically, AAMA is a group of component manufacturers that focus on the aftermarket and who promote quality and premium brands. The four legs of AAMA are • • Training – the pooling of skills and resources to promote training and to support the product Legal action – outlawing of counterfeit and grey imports; development and setting of standards, specifically in safety critical components; activities around the Consumer Protection Act Logistics – commercial enablement to assist the distribution of products Trade shows (Partinform) where AAMA reaches the “guys that throw the box away”, or conversely “to reach the guys that import the box that you want to throw away”.
The event attracted some big hitters. Here Dr Norman Lamprecht of NAAMSA and Roger Pitot of NAACAM are flanked by the dti’s Trade and Investment champions Vusi Mweli and Moloko Leshaba. Vusi is the Director: Export Development and Moloko is the Deputy Director: Export Promotion
A common feature between the local and international Partinforms was the chance to win a drive in a Ferrari courtesy of the Ferrari Driving Experience. This time a business card was drawn out the hat and the lucky winner was Peter Newbery of Alfa Brakes.
South Africa 2011
9.3. – 11.3.2011, Johannesburg Expo Centre
Philip/ Karen: 011 494 5002/3
The South African AAMA Connection
Not only was AAMA involved with a Partinform function, but their overseas principals were also prominent at Automechanika in one way or the other – ABR went in search of these global giants:
Other Automechanika Highlights
The South African Connection continued with ABR advertisers and friends. Our intrepid reporters were on the scent and came upon these interesting elements at the show.
Prakash Bhagwan and Yusuf Joosub from Euroquip were there to visit their main suppliers.
Garret and Libby Hinkley from Intrade flank Alfred Wimmer of Victor Reinz Germany
e everytrying to se quences of fellow was found conse This is the e day. This poor in need of ing in on e halls, desperately th th t wandering refreshmen
Randy Kim, Export Manager of Parts-Mall Corporation, took the time to tell ABR that he was at Automechanika because it is the biggest and the best, and allows him to meet his customers from Europe and the Middle East/Africa. It is also a great forum to look for new customers. Parts-Mall focuses on its own brand, and offers reliable quality at affordable prices, which caters for the new market dynamic. Randy says that the future looks good, and that Parts-Mall has its own sales branches in Malaysia and South Africa, which is proving to be a good business model as it relies on local knowledge and develops reliable customers in each market. Randy intends to expand this concept to other countries, as it has proved to be an excellent template.
WATS Bloemfontein 21st Oct 2010! – “It’s All Systems Go!”
There will be a strong focus on Vehicle Diagnostic Scanners, Auto Electrical Training, New Products & Technology, Parts, Tools & Garage Equipment at the very first Workshop Aftermarket & Technology Show (WATS) taking place at Ilanga Estate in Bloemfontein on 21st October from 16:00 to 22:00. Live Diagnostic Scanning demonstrations will be done on actual vehicles during the course of the evening by the Major Diagnostic Scanner suppliers in RSA. The WATS Expo, which from it’s inception in 2005 has enjoyed the full endorsement of the Retail Motor Industry of S.A. is this year privileged, to have for the first time worked side by side with RMI Regional Manager for the Free State Mr. Louis van Huyssteen & his Dynamic Team. We take this opportunity to thank everyone at the RMI Free State offices & Jeanne Esterhuizen for their untiring help to make this event a success. This show offers Visitors & Exhibitors the best in: • • • • • • Valuable exposure to the Automotive Aftermarket for suppliers & visitors alike. The launching of new product brands. Networking with quality clients and suppliers face to face. Minimal staff absence & overhead for exhibitors on this one day only event. (Fast & Furious) Modern & vibrant atmosphere. Meet the Editors & Staff of some of the top SA Trade Magazine’s.
This fantastic opportunity should not to be missed by any member of the SA motor industry, as companies will showcase their products & technology to the Automotive Aftermarket of the Free State. There has NEVER before been a TECHNOLOGY expo of this type in BLOEMFONTEIN or the Free State!!. • • • • • FREE Boerie rolls & Beer/coldrinks to visitors/exhibitors @ 18h00. Gorgeous Girls giving away T-shirts in a way you would never expect! Prizes to be Won! Cash Bar will also be available. FREE ENTRANCE with SECURE PARKING!
Free State – Don’t Miss this one!
For further information visit www.wats.co.za where you can register, as a visitor or exhibitor, on-line. Contact Miranda on: 082 9680 214 & firstname.lastname@example.org or Johann on: 082 5515 061 & email@example.com
Thanks Very Much, Chaps
The automotive aftermarket is a very important part of the South African automotive industry. It often plays Cinderella to the glamour boy OEMs, but when it comes to keeping the vast majority of the country’s car parc on the roads and in good condition, the manufacturers, importers, and distributors in the aftermarket play the absolutely vital role. The executives are normally busy as bees, but every now and then they come together to network and to tell war stories. One of these opportunities is the Midas Group Supplier Acknowledgement & Appreciation Awards Evening.
hus, on Monday evening, 30 August 2010, if anyone wanted to discuss matters automotive aftermarket with the movers and shakers in the industry, the perfect place to be was the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg. The who’s who of the industry assembled to hear who had received the nod from the imperial Midas Group, now part of the impressive Imperial empire. Warren Espinoza, COO, took the opportunity to give the glitterati an update on how life was going under the Imperial umbrella, emphasising that it has been business as usual. He applauded the Imperial hands off style, with the benefit of the head office boys looking after the onerous tasks such as managing risk and observing corporate governance rules, whilst leaving the guys on the front line to do what they do best – operate. And the very good news was that whilst the amalgamation of Imperial Autoparts did put pressure on margins in an increasingly competitive environment, the aggressive reduction of overheads and the growth in market share more than made up for this, with Midas achieving its profit budget, and the concomitant benefit of a positive cash flow. Midas is thus in a good space, improving its warehouse capacity nationwide, and is prepared to invest in additional inventory ranges. The message from the COO is that the Midas Group is financially secure, and with the stated intent to grow market share via aggressive trading, leveraging off its relationship with suppliers, in sync and in partnership. He stressed that Midas offers impressive distribution benefits for its suppliers, whilst also realising its obligations which translates into a responsible roll out of private label brands. Of course, the suppliers also had to play their role, which Warren went through meticulously:
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Availability of product Proactive range development Technological savvy Cataloguing, both paper and digital Warehouse friendly packaging Brand promotion – through advertising! (ed’s strong comment) A fair and equitable playing field Disciplined and fair distribution policies Pricing to allow margins Facilitation of training Feedback on market performance and market dynamics Quality product (an absolute given today) Social and environmental awareness
Warren Espinoza COO of the Midas Group Protection Act as the most important issue facing the industry, and gave the assurance that Midas has embraced this act and is following the guidelines of the RMI. He called on the industry to work together on the solutions and initiatives to satisfy the requirements of the CPA. He touched on other issues of the day, and the proactive response Midas is taking to address them.
A casual glance would immediately confirm that these are simply elements of best practice, which basically means that any supplier with its act together would not see any of this as onerous. Warren then went on to a brief SWOT analysis of what is facing the industry. He identified the imminent Consumer
Included in these were: Training - Midas has received Merseta accreditation for its diesel training centre and is putting a big effort into developing on-line training modules. He reiterated Midas’ commitment to the industry as a whole, and the need for a collective effort to address the critical skills shortage in the country. BBBEE – This is becoming a bit of a hoary annual, but remains a priority to Midas. Midas is aggressively targeting a rating of 5, which will require its suppliers to be rated as low as possible. This is something everyone can benefit from, as the downstream customer base will also gain from progress on this front.
read the aforesaid to identify your strengths and weaknesses. The bulk of this article could be called “Midas Awards 101”, so go for it and good luck next year.
Going Green – This is no longer the flavour of the month. It is going to be flavour of the decade and beyond. Midas has embraced this philosophy and has measured its carbon footprint. 600 tons per month is the startling sum calculated by the boffins, and Midas is to move strongly to reduce this. The ultimate goal is to be carbon neutral, but the road will be long and hard. Midas has already identified the three pillars of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and in future will apply all the necessary technologies to play its role in the fight against global warming. Then it was onto the reason why all the suits were there - the awards. Congratulations from ABR to the winners, and for those who did not make it, just
The winners, from left to right, Philip Lutz and Megan Naiker, representing Monroe Shock Absorbers, winner of the NAPA – Category A award; Wilfred Gruzd of Stingray, winner of the Midas Group – Category B award; Len Terblanche and Tim Langdon, representing Luk Clutches, winner of the Midas Group – Category A award; Colin Preddy of GoodYear RAM, winner of the NAPA – Category B award; Sam Hazley of Sam Hazley, winner of the Auxiliary Supplier award; and Glen Ross of Everspark, winner of the International Supplier award. JP Landman, well known political commentator and avid fan of Carte Blanche, kept the audience enthralled with his pithy comments under the title of “Where the Hell is the World Cup?” His presentation focused on the two forces that drive the modern state: 1. Open society dynamics 2. Economic growth As South Africa is under serious threat on point number one, JP Landman extolled the virtues of an independent media, effective institutions, property rights, the diversity of voices, and businesses being operated independent of the state. He did admit J.P. Landman, doing what political commentators do best, closing his eyes and that the downside of a vigorous media included looking to the future. cynical comment confused with investigative journalism, and the fact that the media tends to talk only about what is wrong, rather than what works, and of course, the terrific urge to always report out of context. He gave as an example the good news that only a third of the cabinet is stealing, which the media ignores, focusing only on the third that steal, whilst not emphasising that two thirds do not steal! With regard to economic growth, the fact is that South Africa’s per capita income grew by 27% in the last 16 years, and that the odds are strong that this will be repeated over the next 16 years, if not quicker. The dynamic driving this is both GDP growth and a declining birth rate, so all power to the elbows of the emancipated women of South Africa.
The Power of Evolution ...
“Supplying customers with trucks that satisfy their unique operational requirements has always been at the core of MAN Nutzfahrzeuge’s business strategy. For almost a century, MAN has cultivated a truck engineering DNA based on ever-changing market requirements, one that is constantly evolving to meet the challenges MAN products face in the course of their daily duties around the world, from the Gobi Desert in China to the rain forests of Brazil,” says Thomas Hemmerich, Head of Global Sales and Marketing, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge.
“MAN’s multi-million Euro R&D initiatives constantly drive its technological developments, which are guided principally by what its customers are demanding across diverse heavy-duty truck markets around the world. The new MAN TGS WW (WorldWide) is the second series in the Trucknology Generation®, exemplifying this dedication to ‘tailor-made’ trucking solutions and continuous improvement – a premium technology truck, with the right breeding for Africa. The new MAN TGS WW is a refinement of the TGA, equipped with MAN’s latest Trucknology® features as well as upgrades to certain components to better serve South African operators. First and foremost, the TGS, like the TGA, is a ‘driver’s truck’, a sophisticated workhorse and luxury home-from-home, making it ideal for long haul duty,” adds Hemmerich. To be released in South Africa in September 2010, the MAN TGS WW range of premiumclass extra-heavy duty trucks is based on its immediate predecessor, the MAN TGA, released locally in 2005 and now a household name amongst local transport operators. While the term ‘facelift’ could be applied to the TGS WW range, each derivative has its proven TGA lineage and has undergone extensive development and testing in South Africa to ensure optimum performance in diverse local applications.
At the media launch on 2 September 2010, Johan Cloete, Management Board Member (Truck Sales – SRA), MAN Truck & Bus SA (Pty) Ltd, welcomes the new CEO, Markus Geyer.
Monroe / Napa Okavango Challenge
It started in 2008 with an excursion into the Kalahari. Last year saw our intrepid motormen take on the Sani Pass Challenge, and for this year it was the Okavango.
e are talking about the Napa and PIA Monroe customers who achieved the best results against sales targets set over a three to five month period. The winners get a fully paid for five day excursion to different parts of southern Africa led by the experienced Alex Smit of Eco 4x4 Africa. Monroe have chosen this event because it is a good fit with their dedicated and extensive range of off-road shock absorbers, from the price competitive Gas-Magnums through to the imported high pressure gas mono-tubes, and to the premium elite triple-tube nine-way adjustable gas Ranchos. ABR was there to wish the winners bon-voyage at OR Tambo airport on 2 September 2010. Awaiting the lucky group was an action packed schedule, including Maun, the Delta channels, the Moremi National Park, the Audi wildlife camp, and Bird Island. Five days away for these hard working guys may be a shock to the system, but they will be sure to strut their stuff when they get home. Philip Lutz of Tenneco said that “the event went off very well and all the customers had a great time more dry and dusty than expected (very fine white dust that got everywhere). In true African style, we had a number of vehicle breakdowns which were handled in "African time" - but they actually added to the flavour of the event and became discussion points. Anthony dos Santos of Suburban Motor Spares in Cape Town, one of the lucky participants, commented, “I really enjoyed the trip. It was a typical African experience, and the hiccups added to the adventure”.
Applying Objectivity to Motorsport Sponsorship
Some commentators refer to motorsport sponsorship as a bottomless pit in which to throw vast amounts of money, whilst some say it is a great way to strengthen your brand. Both of these views have an element of truth, and both can be challenged. The bottom line is that motorsport sponsorship can be effective and reasonably cost effective, if approached with a specific objective, and tackled with a mixture of smarts and caution.
here are many horror stories, most of them anecdotal, about companies or their chief executives blowing significant portions of their marketing budgets on weird and whacky sponsorships, from putting money into the Flat Earth Society to throwing shareholder funds at three legged midgets attempting to climbing Mount Everest in their underwear. Motorsport sponsorship can, and does, sometime descend to the realms of the twilight zone, and many wads of notes have been passed to wily old racing practitioners, or breathlessly handed to the “agents” of the latest Schumacher wunderkind, only for tears and recriminations to be the only return on investment. This is what was going through my mind on the morning of 28 August 2010 as I made my way to Zwartkops Raceway to spend a morning with the SP Race Engineering team, and to “Satisfy your need for Speed”. SP Race Engineering is the official motorsport partner of Subaru Southern Africa, and the purpose of the event was to thank the sponsors for their previous largesse and to encourage the continuity of the bonds of loyalty and reciprocity. Carel Pienaar, who heads up SP Race Engineering, told ABR that he had decided, after an exemplary record in the WesBank V8 Supercar series (championship title with Hennie Groenewald behind the wheel in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), it was time to make space for the perennial runners up, and to move onto the leading formula class is motorsport racing in South Africa, which is the Bridgestone Production Car series. 2010 has been the year to suss things out, and as Carel says, “in 2011 we will mount a total onslaught on the Class A championship”. A formidable challenge, as these are the most advanced and complex production cars on the planet, and being the top formula, it is highly competitive. The intriguing thing about the “competitive” nature of production cars is that the competitiveness is primarily artificial, as it comes less from the speed and performance of the vehicles, or the talents of the drivers and their teams, but more from the regulations applied to the formula, which apparently is the critical aspect in keeping the races interesting and unpredictable. The tweaking of the rules, practically on a race to race basis, makes it doubly difficult for the production teams and Subaru seems to have the biggest challenge. The Impreza STi’s, if left unregulated, would blow the rest of the field away, with the benefit of a racing DNA built up over decades on the rallying circuit, and a forced induction engine and 4WD that literally gives it an enormous three second per lap advantage on the small Zwartkops circuit, and much more on the longer tracks such as Kyalami and East London.
Never let it be said that motor racing is not hard work – ABR caught Richard Pinard, Hennie Groenewald and Dawie Olivier after scores of laps of thrilling the sponsors. Tired, but still smiling, they and Grant Bowring had some time for the camera.
Some of the Midas support team
The sponsors with their cars:
Kevin Hollow ay, Timken Techn ical Sales Man ager
s r Inland Sale ’ Executive fo Simon, Midas Ernest
Thus, power has to be restricted and weight added, to spare the blushes of the BMW’s, Audis and Nissans. And, if the racing is not up to spectator standard, the rules are tweaked again. Not entirely satisfactory to have the fate of the championship more in the hands of the officials than the drivers, but apparently necessary to keep the stands full. But back to the reason I was there, to get some sense of the rationale behind motorsport sponsorship. Midas, Sasol and Timken, the three primary sponsors, were there to explain. I think that the Sasol presentation encompassed what everyone was saying: • • • • • a platform to showcase performance and technology opportunity for research and development onsorship Motorsport Sp an experiential platform sol’s Head of t, Sa Dean Somerse a networking platform to reinforce and maintain awareness of the brand and its involvement in motorsport
For the final word, ABR spoke to Grant Bowring, Marketing Director, Subaru Southern Africa. From Subaru’s perspective, Grant explained that production cars is a business, and that it teaches and encourages camaraderie, promotes relationship building, and very importantly, creates heroes. The real buzz for him is that no matter where Subaru races, people are shouting for the team and the drivers – and that is what it is all about! ABR sees no argument with that, but we would like to add our penny’s worth. If you are in sponsorship, always leave some budget to leverage off the money spent. It is no use just racing on the track and thrilling a very small niche market. Then you are wasting your money. Spend a little more to tell the broader automotive community and the even broader public out there about your exploits. That is the role of magazines such as ABR – we are your voice to the industry, and beyond. Use us, and then your sponsorship spend starts to gain traction.
An eager crowd waiting for a spin around Zwartkops
With the European GP season over for 2010 and with five races to go, there are five drivers who can lift the title after nineteen events on 14th November in Abu Dhabi.
here were four drivers in with a chance at the start of Round 14 at the Cathedral of Speed in the Royal Park at Monza. That is until Alonso and Ferrari came good and won the Italian Grand Prix to go ahead of reigning champion, Jensen Button and Sebastian Vettel, who although desperately quick, has had a few serious bloops along the way in his Red Bull. What a place for Ferrari and the Spanish twice-World Champion to start a serious com-back in the front of the faithful “Tifosi”, who flocked to the winner’s podium at Monza in their tens of thousands. If you ever want to see just one Grand Prix in your lifetime and to experience what GP racing and Ferrari mean to a nation, get to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The Tifosi just love their motor racing. No. Are fanatic about their motor racing and know everything about it. Rightfully so as it is a nation that has done so much for two and four wheeler sport in the world. Hopefully the remaining Grands Prix in Singapore, Japan and Korea for the first time, Brazil and Abu Dhabi will be free of controversy, normally initiated by the stewards. Let’s see all the drama unfold on the track as 24 very talented drivers in superb motor cars fight put these final five GP's. Of the five drivers, who has the best chance of being the World Champion in 2010? Leading after Monza, is Australian Mark Webber (Red Bull), with 187 points, who has won four Grands Prix (Spain, Monaco, Britain and Hungary). He seems the most consistent and level headed of the lot. Will he join other great Australian World Champions, Jack Brabham and Alan Jones and lift the title? Close on Webber’s heels is super-fast 2008 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) with 182 points. He has had three wins (Turkey, Canada and Belgium). He also consistently shows flashes of brilliance. In third there is twice World Champion, Fernando Alonso (166 points) from Spain with three wins as well – Bahrain, Germany and Italy. If his Ferrari and team keep up their current form, he could with a bit of help from the opposition, take his 3rd world title. As Spaniards seem to win everything these days – tennis, golf, motor cycling, it would only be right that he adds to their list of successes. Fourth with two wins under his belt is rainmaster and reigning World Champion, Jensen Button (McLaren)
F1 TITLE RACE HOTTING UP
by Roger McCleery
from England with 165 points. If the heavens do open at any of the remaining five races, Jensen is in with a chance due to his smooth driving style that works in the wet and saves tyres. Also provided Vettel doesn’t punch him off the track, as he did at Spa in the rain. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) with 163 points, who won going away in boring processions in Malaysia and Valencia, shows how not to win a World Championship. Pole positions, bad starts, collisions and a bad attitude at times, caused by not knowing some obscure rules enforced by the Formula 1 suits, sees him currently in 5th. So the pressure is certainly on these talented men and all the others in the line-up and their teams that build and maintain these incredibly fast and capable pieces of racing hardware. To make it exciting for all of us, pray for rain. Then everybody in the team gets involved and not just the driver and pit-crew. It also brings on more drama. Of the circuits, Singapore at night should be a processional bore, except if a team plans to crash and block the track and bring out the safety car. Suzuka is one of the traditional great circuits and it will live up to its reputation of being brilliant and quick. Korea is an unknown, if the circuit is in fact finished in time. Interlagos will also be another classic, whilst Abu Dhabi with the best facilities will finish the season hopefully as a nail-biting decider for the title. Teams, despite the rules, must decide on their Number 1 driver for the run-in to the end of the year. Ferrari paid $100 000 to announce theirs was Alonso, when Massa was told to move over for him in Germany. Red Bull must back Webber, although Vettel will be the hell-in. McLaren, who always say their drivers are free to race as they wish, have got to make Hamilton their first choice. Although this time it is difficult with two World Champions in the line-up and Button their Number 1 hope if it rains. I am sure team instructions in time will be forgotten about or dropped as a rule in the future. It is going to be an intriguing end to a dramatic season on this circuit.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Volkswagen Polo Vivo Jorge Lorenzo Majorca (Spain) Amarok Phil Hill Stirling Moss Nissan Maranello 9. Jody Scheckter and Buller Meyer (both from East London) 10. Germany 11. Primarily to create jobs and move military transport quickly 12. Jody Scheckter / Stirling Moss / Eddie Keizan 13. Indianapolis at the Indy 500 14. Walled up in a cheese factory 15. Ducati 16. Grey Daimlers 17. Austrian
From page 59
18. 305 km plus a lap 19. 5 20. Chicago to LA
A series of articles on Midas motorsport initiatives in 2010
Midas Sport makes motorsport magic by Steve Wicks
Automotive spares giant Midas returned to motorsport this year with a unique three pronged circuit racing plan.
idas entered the Bridgestone Production Car arena with Richard Pinard who initially raced a Lotus Exige. It also secured naming rights for the 2010 Formula Ford championship which coincided with the introduction of the Duratec engine and in addition to taking the naming rights, Midas also backed the car driven by former champion Robert Wolk. Having started the year racing the nimble supercharged Midas Sport Lotus Exige in the Bridgestone Production Car championship, Richard Pinard switched to a Subaru Impreza STI after the fourth round. “The Lotus was prepared by Carel Pienaar’s SP Engineering team which also prepares the Subaru Impreza STIs driven by Hennie Groenewald and Dawie Olivier, so from an engineering and preparation point of view it just makes a lot of sense to concentrate on one type of car,” said Pinard. Despite the lack of seat time, Pinard quickly got to grips with the handling of a four wheel drive and was delighted with sixth place in his debut race. He went one better in race two where he came home fifth. He was looking forward to the longer third race, but the slippery track at turn one caught him out and he retired. Next stop was Zwartkops where niggling handling issues and a down on power motor kept him out of the top six but as he points out, “these all-wheel-drive cars are a different kettle of fish and the technique needed to get the best out of them is different compared a front or rear wheel drive cars, so the seat time is valuable. We’ve found some power and I’m looking forward to the Cape Town race.” The Midas Formula Ford series has risen to become the most important single-seater category of racing in South Africa and the quality of racing does its status justice.
In the middle part of the season he won six races on the trot to claim the title with a round to spare. “The car has been good, but it wasn’t an easy championship as the competition was tough,” said Wolk who won a kart championship before moving to Formula Ford where he won the title in 2004, 2005 and 2008. Now an integral part of South African motoring culture, Midas is a retail store designed around the needs of any vehicle owner focusing on various product ranges from parts and accessories through to lifestyle equipment. There are over 265 franchised outlets in Southern Africa, including Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius and of course South Africa.
A fully paid drive in the internationally acclaimed Formula Ford Festival in England is the prize for winning the championship one of the reasons why Midas Formula Ford has attracted the cream of South Africa’s young drivers. Thanks to unrivalled dedication, Robert Wolk booked his spot on the grid for the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch on 16th 17th October. Driving the Midas Sport liveried Mygale, Wolk has been in a class of his own this year and clinched the Midas Formula Ford championship to bring his tally of his F/Ford titles to four.
Letters to the Editor
“My liege, and madam, to expostulate what majesty should be, what duty is, what day is day, night night, and time is time, were nothing but to waste night, day, and time; therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble son is mad. . . .”
revity is the soul of wit, and also the soul of readers’ letters. Therefore, this month’s “Letter to the Editor” winner is Sifiso Khumalo, who via this on-line query through www.abrbuzz.co.za even outdoes Polonius. Sifiso’s query was short and to the point, “What is the economic behaviour in term automobile industry? What is concentration ratio? How much does it contribute to GDP?” So short, that it required a keen mind to provide an answer, so we went to our economic guru Tony Twine to provide the answers. “Hi Sifiso, The economics of the SA motor industry cannot easily be summarised – I reckon there are probably 50 or more post graduate theses written every year at South African universities, and I am aware of more that get generated at foreign universities. I am able to assist with part of your enquiry, in terms of contribution to GDP, for which please see the attached copy of our Revs newsletter for April 2010. I am not familiar with the “concentration” measure, as this tends to be a little too micro economic for my office. If you can indicate what you need to calculate it, I may be able to help you with basic data. I hope this helps. Regards, Tony Twine” Tony is always ready to educate, no matter where the query comes from, and the Revs newsletter for April 2010 provided Sifiso with an array of data and graphs to satisfy the most enquiring mind. Space constraints do not allow for this to be duplicated on our Fink page, so we leave you with Tony’s conclusion and outlook: “The South African motor sector once again lived up to its reputation of being an exaggerated barometer of overall economic activity within the country. With the economy spending the first half of the year in recessionary conditions, and struggling to move out of the trough created by negative growth since just after the mid-point of 2008 during the second half of 2009, the performance of the automotive sector was further debilitated by the crunch on automotive demand which set in around the world at much the same time. There was literally nowhere for the domestic sector to look for additional turnover or value added, and the inevitable result was a decline in the sectors proportional contribution to GDP, which ultimately recorded levels last seen when the domestic economy was very close to being in a recession in the last years of the 1990’s. The decline in GDP contribution reflects a decline in the sum of the values of rewards to the factors of production of the sector, including the remuneration of labour, returns to capital, and profits to entrepreneurs within the industry. Inevitably, this led to business closures in both the manufacturing and retail ends of the sector’s production spectrum. 2010 has begun with three months of significantly restored domestic demand in the new vehicle market, which has been accompanied by even bigger increases in exports of vehicle units. It is believed that the used vehicle market is continuing to enjoy useful growth in unit sales, which are believed to have increased during 2009, despite revenue to the used vehicle trade having reduced that year. Sales of accessories within the automotive trade have not reduced throughout the downturn in the activities of both the sector and the domestic economy at large, and there appears to be no particular reason to suspect that they will do so during the course of 2010. The only cause for concern may well be that the maintenance, service and repair activities of the retail end of the automotive sector may continue to show signs of revenue and value added contraction during 2010, driven by the simple fact that sales of new vehicles, which inevitably drive the volumes through trade workshops, have fallen significantly over the past three years. Nevertheless, the value added by the vertically integrated automotive sector is likely to grow in both real and nominal terms during 2010, as well as increasing the share of value added within the domestic economy. This is likely to be assisted by recovering global demand for automotive products, and an already visible increase in South Africa’s exports, at least at the CBU vehicle end of the product spectrum. GDP share levels of at least the proportion of 2007 (6.7%) could be restored.”
Win a Midas Voucher
The FINK is looking for letters to the Editor. The more the merrier, and the more thought provoking of these shall find their way into ABR. The best letter will win a Midas voucher to the value of R500. So get out those pens and write to: The Fink P O Box 102 Wendywood, 2144 Or Fax 0866 579 289 Or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
The judges’ decision, no matter how one-eyed they are, will be final.
by Baron Claude Borlz
“For our more discerning readers .....”
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Some one liners that could get you into trouble:
In a pub quiz the other day I lost by one point. The question was where do women mostly have curly hair? Apparently, it's Africa.
And finally, some profound thoughts, courtesy of H L Mencken
One of the other questions was to name two things commonly found in cells. It appears that ‘A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around Nigerians and Zimbabweans is not the correct for a coffin’ answer.
“There is something even more valuable to civilisation than
My wife told me I was no longer romantic so I wisdom, and that is character” booked a table for the two of us on Valentine's Night. Problem was she sucks at snooker and “It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a darts. mistake.” You can say lots of bad things about paedophiles “The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the but at least they drive slowly past schools.
other fellow married her”
Just put a deposit down on a brand new Porsche and mentioned it on Facebook. I said "I can't “We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the wait for the new 911 to arrive !" Next thing I sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his know a couple of hundred bin Ladens have wife is beautiful and his children smart.” added me as a friend !!