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12 Pushing the Limits

20 Yank Tank
32 Alternative Fuels
46 Keeping Inflation at Bay
60 The Perfect Storm
68 Partinform Comes of Age

6 13 23

6 The Phoenix The Automotive Industry Roller Coaster

8 What’s the Buzz

12 Cover Story Pushing the Limits

18 Auto Topical The Best of Times ……

19 Lux Lite Peter’s Soap Box

20 Frankly Speaking Yank Tank

21 AIDC Quiz Trivia Motoring Quiz

22 Commercial Vehicle Comment Nissan Diesel Cautiously Optimistic

23 Engine Remanufacturing A Double Bonus

24 Bottom Line Basics Is There a Doctor in the House?

26 Informed Comment From Private Jets to Hybrid Cars

28 Tony’s Take Mickey Mouse Shows Less Interest

30 Burford on Brands A Sporting Heart Still Beats

32 The Tipping Point Alternative Fuels

33 Vehicle Evaluation Grand Vitara 2,4 Manual

34 Weighty Issues The National Department of Unresolved Problems

35 AutoZone Update Getting a Grip on Tools

36 Bike News Crème Buell

38 Personal Profile Q & A with Henri Meistre

42 Diamond Dialogues The Anti-Freeze Debate Hots Up

44 Capricorn Insights The Purple Patch Continues

Publishing Editor Intelli-Driving Editor Haw, Marcus Published by: Advertising Sales:
Graham Erasmus Eugene Herbert Keeg, Howard Trilogy Publishing Johannesburg Office:
083 709 8184 082 941 3785 Malan. Daniel Marlene Erasmus
Mather, Peter 082 837 2668
Commercial Vehicle Correspondents McCleery, Roger Durban Office:
Editor Beeton, Frank Twine, Tony Peter Mather
Alwyn Viljoen Borlz, Baron Claude Wilde, Fingal 082 456 8479
082 4589332 Burford, Adrian
Ford, Adam

33 54 78

Winner of the December 2008 Ian Flint, Protectall Tyre Bands

National Sales Manager
F1 watch competition
46 Autoglass Clarification Keeping Inflation at Bay

48 Current Affairs Know the Difference

50 Tyre Safety Tyres Contribution to Safety in Motoring

52 Top Class Topics The FTE Dictionary of Experts’ Tricks

54 Environmentally Speaking Caring for the Environment

74 Wilde Things A New Era for Africa?

58 Filter Facts It’s Not the Aircon!

60 Industry Comment The Perfect Storm

62 Euroquip News Watch This Space

64 Personal Profile Q & A with Manny de Canha

66 Internet Strategies The Spider and the Fly

68 Partinform Partinform Comes of Age

What’s in a Brand?
Frequently Asked Questions

74 Corporate Conscience It’s More Than Just Business

Treading a Conscientious Path

76 Fast Wheels Whither Formula 1?

77 A Word on cars Mazda’s Best Kept Secret

78 The Last Writes

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The Phoenix

The Automotive
Industry Roller
Having been involved in the automotive aftermarket since 1975, may I have the pre-
sumption to reveal as I enter my 35th year of participation in and observation of the
ups and downs of this addictive industry, my belief that I am eminently qualified to
comment on the current economic scenario, and to impart some sage advice to those
who say that all is gloom and doom, and that we’re done for. There is light at the
end of the tunnel; all you need is a torch to see it from where you’re standing, and
if you do not have a bright enough torch, I can arrange for an Australian cricket
spectator to lend you a laser pointer.
ranted, as we enter 2009, things are not good. Just stantial neck, and other bits of my anatomy, unfortunately not so

G read Brand Pretorius’ prognosis on page 60 to under-

stand the depth of the problem and to understand
that from a new vehicle sales perspective we are in a
perfect storm. Despite this, even from his straightened position,
Brand sees us starting to come out of the gale force winds in six
substantial, that those in the aftermarket who do not prepare and
plan for this upswing, will be left behind. You can take poison on
this prediction. So get out there and start marketing aggressively.
Let’s discuss this again in 2012.

to nine months, and he is even more upbeat, albeit nervously, Shades of

about 2010 and beyond. His observations are given credibility by
the simple fact that he has, like us weathered veterans, seen it all Dorian Grey
before and has observed the cyclical swings of an exhilarating and Being a modest fellow, I am com-
maddening industry that has had its fair share of highs and lows. ing under increasing pressure
It is from this premise that I wish, as editor of South Africa’s most from some of my more involved
prestigious and most influential aftermarket publication, to com- readers to disclose what I look
ment on the automotive aftermarket specifically. Before I make like. They are not satisfied with
my stunning observations, a little history if I may. In 1976, I was the phoenix representation, which
employed at the P&A Division of a leading original equipment relates to the origins of the maga-
manufacturer, when new vehicle sales took a nosedive, primarily zine. Their intense desire is to see the
as a result of the Soweto riots. Red ink and retrenchments were features of the pearls of wisdom spouter.
the order of the day, but what I remember most vividly was that The problem, as I see it, is the narcissistic nature of the publish-
the marines arrived in the form of parts and workshop sales that ing industry. Not just our little niche of automotive vanity is
kept the manufacturer and the bulk of the dealerships from see- affected, you merely have to peruse any publication, and the odds
ing their nether regions without the aid of a mirror. Similarly, in are very short that your reading space will be taken over by a
1985/86, it was the aftermarket that was the shock absorber touched-up mug shot of some aging prima donna. On this basis,
when new car sales took the hit after P.W. Botha’s Rubicon I have been tempted to ease my svelte figure into a flame retar-
speech, and the resultant interest rate hike into the stratosphere. dant racing suit, and to pose provocatively, draping my gorgeous
The scenario that I have just painted is the introduction to my and glistening form across the testosterone inducing lines of the
first point; that the automotive aftermarket may be less glam- latest throbbing V8 thunderbolt, sending our readers into
orous than its bigger brother, but it is the more stable sibling, apoplexies of lust and ecstasy. Alas, medical advice is that I sim-
handling ups and downs far more phlegmatically. My second ply cannot take the risk of an avalanche of lawssuit resulting from
point is that the aftermarket always tends to lag new car sales by all the coronary episodes, so I have had to plump for (Freudian
four to five years, which means that from an aftermarket perspec- slip?) a basic head and shoulders shot. Just this once, folks, I do
tive, the healthy new vehicle sales from 2004 to 2007 bodes well not want to spoil it for the others. And I have to defer to the seri-
for sales, and that we are just about to enter an upward phase in ous nature of this magazine. Next month, we’ll revert to the
2009, which should intensify and peak round about 2011 to phoenix, and leave the primping and posing to the Brad Pitt and
2012. Those who have not been around as long as us greybeards Angelina Jolie lookalikes.
may be sceptical, but I am prepared to put on the block my sub-

ABR’s webpage –

6 February 2009
What’s the Buzz?

GAUTRAINS ARE COMING HOME 18-21 2009. The worldwide KPMG survey has been conducted annual-
ly since 1999, with KPMG South Africa having arranged presentations
locally since 2002. The survey results will undoubtedly be the most
The first shipment of two completed rail cars arrived in Durban on 1
important to date as the world automotive industry faces the biggest
December 2008, and they are going to keep on coming. Each rail car
challenges to its survival in history. In fact, the current situation in the
measures 21 metres in length and weighs 46 tonnes, and they will be
automotive industry is so serious that the CEO of the Fiat Group,
transported as an abnormal load by road from Durban Harbour to
Sergio Marchionne, has gone so far as to say, in an article in Automotive
Gautrain’s train depot in Midrand. The Gautrain rail fleet will total 96
News, that it is possible there will be only six global volume manufactur-
Electrostar cars which will be operated as four-car train sets. Fifteen of
ers - those producing at least 5,5-million vehicles a year – within
the rail cars including all 10 airport rail cars are being manufactured and
the next two years.

Metro Police gets up AA’s Nose

completed in Derby, England. In Midrand, each rail car will undergo
extensive quality and safety testing, including 3 000km of test running
in the standard four-car train set configuration on the Gautrain test
track. During December 2008, ABR was privileged to see the transporta-
tion in action at van Reenen’s Pass. The AA has noted that the Johannesburg Metro Police is yet again sen-
sationalising speeding offences on the M71 near Leeuwkop Prison in
Kyalami, a section of road whose speed limits are inexplicably low, thus
making offenders out of drivers who may be proceeding in perfect safe-
ty. The M71 has recently been re-constructed into a wide, two-lane road,
with excellent visibility. The speed limit of 60 on this entire road is not
commensurate with the nature of the roadway. It also does not compare
with other, similar roadways which have higher speed limits, such as the
80km/h William Nicol Drive going through Johannesburg’s Northern
Suburbs, in itself a far more congested and dangerous road than the
M71. In particular, the adjacent R55, a mere two kilometres away, is
posted as 80km/h despite being a considerably inferior road. The AA’s
opinion is that the Metro’s selective enforcement of the M71’s speed
limit is cynical and serves little other purpose than to generate revenue
and publicity for the department. The AA calls on the authorities to
desist from the current inequitable speed trapping practices on the M71,
and adjust the posted speed limits to reflect the nature of the road and
the status quo on other similar roads.

Restored Manchester-Built Model A Ford Reflects

Company Heritage
Launched in America during December 1927, on the back of one of the
biggest advertising campaigns the world had ever seen, the Ford Model
A was an outstanding auto-
motive success, with more
than five million built by
the time production

Hyundai Genesis named 2009 North

ceased. Even today, it is
regarded as one of the most

American Car of the Year

popular collector cars in
the world, some half a mil-
lion thought to have been
restored, customised and After months of expert test-drives, critical acclaim and independent
preserved in the States, awards, the Hyundai Genesis took top honours in the most exclusive
although comparatively award in North America when it was named 2009 North American Car
rare in the rest of the of the Year. A jury of 50 independent automotive journalists evaluated all
world. The newly-restored the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2009 Hyundai Genesis
Model A owned by John as the best new model. The award was announced at a news conference
Falder, MD of Manchester England paint manufacturer HMG Paints, at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
holds a special place in the history of the company and the city itself.
Dating back to September 1930, it is amongst the last Model As to have
been built at Ford’s Trafford Park, Manchester plant, before production
was transferred to Dagenham, and it first took to the road during the
very same year that HMG was founded by Harold Marcel Guest and
John’s grandfather, Herbert Falder. It also featured a unique contempo-
rary ‘hatchback’ design, with a rear opening door to facilitate its use as a
commercial traveller’s car.


The presentation of KPMG’s 2009 global
survey of automotive executives will be one (quickpic)
of several important events that will take
place during the staging of the first ever
Automechanika South Africa aftermarket For more “what’s the buzz” stories, go to
Gavin Maile of KPMG trade fair at Expo Centre, Nasrec, on March
February 2009
What’s the Buzz?

Chrysler ENVI – Plugged into the World (quickpic)

With its rapidly growing portfolio of ENVI-powered electric vehicles,

Chrysler LLC is inspiring a personal mobility revolution, creating a new
generation of responsible, no-compromise Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehi-
cles for consumers who care about the planet’s future and want to take care
of it. Chrysler recently introduced three advanced electric-vehicle proto-
types, while expressing its intention to broaden its all-electric and Range-
extended Electric Vehicle portfolio across its vehicle line-up. At the 2009
North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Company
unveiled updated versions of those vehicles – along with two new electric
vehicles – reinforcing a commitment to developing and bringing to market
a broad array of advanced electric vehicles for their brands. Chrysler will
produce at least one of these vehicles for North American markets in 2010
(and European markets after 2010); with at least three more models to fol-
low by 2013. Between its ENVI electric-drive vehicles and GEM neighbour-
hood electric vehicles, Chrysler expects to have 500 000 electric vehicles on
the road by 2013.




Toyota has displayed the Toyota FT-EV concept at the North American
International Auto Show, and has confirmed its plan to launch an urban
commuter battery-electric vehicle (BEV) by 2012. The FT-EV concept, as
well as the compressed natural gas powered Camry Hybrid concept display
at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, signal Toyota’s intention to broaden
the scope of its advanced alternative-fuel vehicle development. The concept
shares its platform with the revolutionary-new iQ urban commuter
vehicle. Already a huge hit in Japan, the iQ is lightweight and seats four
passengers in comfort and security, while delivering exceptional mileage,
sporty performance, unique refinements and a fun, youthful image.

President Obama Christens New Car at

Jan. 20 Inaugural Parade Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24
As Americans celebrated the inauguration of a new launched at McLaren Technology
president of the United States, another new Cadillac
graced Pennsylvania Avenue, leading the proceedings. Centre
President Barack Obama rode in an all-new Cadillac
Presidential Limousine, continuing a long tradition of
Cadillac limousines that have served many U.S.
presidents. “Cadillac is honoured to again provide a
new Presidential Limousine,” said Mark McNabb,
North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium
Channel. “This is a great American tradition that we’re
delighted to renew with an all-new car featuring the
best of Cadillac’s dramatic design and technology.” (quickpic)

he Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team launched the car it will

T campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship on 16 January

2009 at its headquarters in Woking, England. Unveiled by world champion
Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the new MP4-24
bears little resemblance to its world championship-winning predecessor due to
the introduction of a raft of new rules that have radically reshaped Formula 1 ahead of the
2009 season. Now featuring heavily revised bodywork, re-sculpted front and rear wings,
slick tyres and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the MP4-24 has been in develop-
ment since September 2007 in order to successfully accommodate the huge changes to the
(quickpic) technical regulations.

Seat Belt Insanity – Only four out of ten vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts, according to the Automobile
Association of South Africa and the Bridgestone-backed Committee for Active Road Safety (CARS). The two organisations have released new data
obtained from the AA’s quarterly seatbelt survey. The research, which was carried out early in December 2008, confirmed findings from the pre-
vious survey and gathered new data. A total of 3831 vehicles, containing 6987 occupants in all seating positions, were surveyed at six locations
across South Africa. “As with our previous survey in September 2008, the occupant most likely to wear a belt in South Africa is the driver,” said
AASA Head of Public Affairs, Rob Handfield – Jones. “The wearing rate for drivers has dropped from 64% to 56%. Rear occupant wearing rates
remain dire, with left and right rear occupants recording wearing rates of just 8% and 10% respectively.”

10 February 2009
What’s the Buzz?

Pure excitement and driving

Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are adding the crowning glory to the model
family of their highly successful SLR super sports car with a new, uncom-
promisingly spectacular car. There is neither a roof nor a windscreen to
separate the driver and passenger from the outside world; they enjoy unadul-
terated high-speed excitement with all the attributes of a speedster. The new
SLR Stirling Moss is also characterised by the most sophisticated technolo-
gy and a breathtaking design which reinterprets the SLR legend. With
478 kW/650 hp the SLR Stirling Moss accelerates its V8 supercharged
engine from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, and has a top
speed of 350 km/h – no other series-production car is at the same time so
open and so fast.


Franz Fehrenbach honoured by

ADAC as “Personality of the Year
The German Automobile Association (ADAC)
has awarded Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of
the Bosch board of management, its Yellow
Angel prize as “Personality of the Year 2009.”
In doing so, the executive committee of
Europe’s largest automobile club honoured
Fehrenbach for “the global corporation’s eco-
logically oriented innovative strength, for
which he has been responsible.” Fehrenbach had, they said, single-mindedly
driven Bosch’s transformation from automotive supplier to an environmen-
tal technology corporation.

solution on

For more “what’s the buzz” stories, go to
cover story

Pushing the Limits

Control Instruments Automotive, after a period of intense and frenetic
acquisition, followed by a well considered and controlled restructuring
and consolidation, is on a mission. From an outsider’s perspective, it may
have been difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff as CI Auto went about the busi-
ness of cementing the building blocks in place, which is a prerequisite for the next phase
of its expansion. These building blocks will enable CI Auto to go forward with confidence
and to put it in a position to gain leverage from its inherent strengths, to allow a
renewed, refreshed and dynamic management team to begin to push the limits.
BR’s cover photograph says it all. Three Pitts Specials, inspires confidence, and to allow a talented team to feed off each

A representing the Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team, pro-

vide a great metaphor for where CI Auto finds itself. To
attain the perfection of synchronised flight, and to per-
form daring aerobatic feats, requires the right mix. Firstly, tried
and tested aeroplanes; secondly, meticulous planning and prepa-
other as they begin to push the limits. The hiccups that CI Auto
customers experienced during this transitional phase was unfor-
tunately part of the process. Not that it was planned, but as
Robbie Burns was wont to say, “the best laid schemes of mice and
men gang aft agley”. One only needs to look at the opening of
ration; thirdly a talented team totally in sync with each other; Heathrow’s Terminal Five to fully appreciate this long revered
and finally a support structure that inspires total confidence. The quotation and to comprehend the trials and tribulations that
cherry on this cake is the marriage of skill, science and art, which goes into the selection and establishment of a talented team that
is an alchemic blend of knowing what needs to be done, with a is going to take you to the stars.
dash of gut feel and flair, making it all very exciting. The end The management team that has been tasked with taking CI Auto
result is a choreographed masterpiece. Mimicking this set-up, CI to new heights comprises seven dedicated and motivated people.
Auto has been preparing itself these past 18 months, to emulate Each one hand picked and each one fully aware of the responsi-
the Gabriel Wings Aerobatic Team, this time in a real life sce- bility resting on their shoulders. The aim of becoming the lead-
nario which is firmly rooted to the ground in reality. The consol- ing supplier of premium branded product to the automotive
idation of various manufacturing units, distribution hubs, aftermarket and selected original equipment manufacturers on
administrative and technical offices, and various other bits and the African continent is both simple and complex. The simplici-
pieces into one centralised location and one cohesive whole in ty is in the brief, the complexity in the execution. Either way,
City Deep, Johannesburg, has similarly required meticulous these men and women are up to it. The fulcrum for all these
planning and preparation, to establish a support structure that activities resides at marketing and sales levels.

12 February 2009
cover story
The Team

Grant Fraser – marketing director, CI Auto

he mantle of success or failure lies both heavily and ket growth, and ensuring that the operation and brands are posi-

T lightly on Grant Fraser’s shoulders. He is very con-

scious and very excited about where CI Auto current-
ly stands and the potential for growth that he envis-
ages for the next 18 to 24 months. He sees aggressive
marketing and smart product development as the keys to success.
The cornerstone brands that will underpin this envisaged growth
will be Gabriel, AutoExcel, Echlin, Autocom, Warn, VDO, Shurlok
tioned to capitalise on this is imperative.”

CI Auto estimates the market potential for its product portfolio

at R7,7 billion, of which R3,6 billion is in the lucrative aftermar-
ket channel (5-15 year age bracket). This aftermarket channel’s
strongest component areas are engine, electrical, service, drive
line, suspension & steering, body, wheel & brake and cooling.
and Touratech. Growing these brands to cater for the needs of the CI Auto is well placed in most of these areas and is looking to fill
latest car parc will be a priority, with the emphasis on range expan- the gaps. It is Grant’s belief that the market will be receptive to CI
sion and the updating of catalogues to assist CI Auto’s customers to Auto’s laser like focus on customer service, and his parting shot is
stay abreast of market trends and needs. However, new brands and a confident prognosis, “Overall, the mix is exciting. We live in an
new products will also be a priority and Grant shall for the rest of age of growth, change, and business revolution. E-commerce
2009 be travelling the globe looking for products that will enhance offers us opportunities, but our first priority is to rapidly grow
the CI Auto stable and they will also need to be integral to the next our basket of products to expand our potential customer base.”
generation car parc. The current car parc of 8,1 million vehicles, of
which 5,2 million (64%) is passenger vehicles, is already a veritable
goldmine. Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal are the
The Aftermarket
big three provinces, with 71% of the vehicles concentrated in these • 4400 garages and fuel stations (most with service
areas. In addition, the continent of Africa has plenty to offer for a workshops)
company that is looking to maintain growth momentum. Grant • 1800 specialised repairers
puts it succinctly, “Exports of automotive products from South • 1350 new car dealerships
Africa have shown rapid growth over the past decade and it is impor- • 1580 used vehicle outlets
tant to maintain the growth momentum.” The South African auto- • 300 component manufacturers
motive aftermarket is a wide and diverse group of product and serv- • 150 “other” manufacturers
ice providers (see box). Grant adds that “growth will increasingly be • 1700 tyre specialists and retreaders
measured in units, rather than turnover as end users switch to more • 480 engine reconditioners
affordable products during tough economic times. The commercial • 170 body builders
markets remain the strongest growing segment, and the primary • 2770 parts dealers
consideration in the current market is to access the impending mar- • 180 farm vehicle and equipment suppliers

February 2009 13
cover story
The Team
oy Hollins, the recently appointed sales director of CI Auto, has recognised

R the need to “drill down” into the market. He understands that he shares the
custodian duties with marketing director Grant Fraser on some very
special brands. Top of the pops is CI Auto’s flagship brand, Gabriel, South
Africa’s leading aftermarket shock absorber. To acknowledge this fact, CI Auto has
created a Ride Control Business Unit, which looks after the technologically advanced
Gabriel product range, which is engineered for South African conditions. A signifi-
cant nod to the importance of this technological edge, has been the appointment of
Sean Staley, a qualified engineer, as Gabriel’s national sales manager. Supporting Sean
is a team of regional sales managers, nurturing and looking after the needs of five
warehouse distributors and with a radically new approach. The focus is to cover the
entire channel, drilling down to spares shops, independents, fitment centres, and
touching everyone who touches a Gabriel shock, from counter hand to fitter. This
personal contact and cognitive interaction ensures that no longer will a counter hand
say, “a shock is a shock is a shock”! This new approach requires a rejuvenated sales
team. This is being achieved via incentives, training and a motivational programme
dubbed the “Gabriel Sales Warrior” programme. Many benefits
are to accrue from this approach, not least being a promo-
tional frenzy at grass roots level, buttressed by market intel-
ligence, technical feedback, product ideas, and more. In
addition, a very important benefit will be a refreshingly
Roy Hollins novel rapport between manufacturing and sales personnel.
– sales director,
CI Auto Over and above the efforts behind the Gabriel brand, CI Auto’s other products are
also receiving attention. The silo approach is out, with the traditional business units
being replaced with relevant component groups, all looked after by dedicated and
reinvigorated product/sales teams, sharing product knowledge and sales passion
which translates into happier customers. These product groups comprise Ride
Control, Drive Train, Ancillaries, Instrumentation and Leisure. Interacting with all
these business units, a dedicated and all encompassing support team provides logisti-
cal and administrative support, taking away the day to day hassles from the front line
soldiers and easing the sales process.

Ci Auto has also initiated a new focus on exports into the African market, covering
the entire automotive channel for OEM, P&A through to the independent work-
shops with the entire basket of product from the CI Auto stable. The mantra for all
CI Auto sales personnel shall be customer service in all its forms – availability, sup-
port, assistance, with a razor sharp desire to help.

Visitors to CI Auto’s
head office in Johannesburg
are left under no illusion
as to what CI Auto sells

February 2009
cover story
The Team
Marcel Mbuyu
– operations
director, Gabriel
“The Gabriel plant in Cape Town has
close to 50 years experience in manufac-
turing shockabsorbers for Southern
Africa, rest of Africa and exports to five
continents. The expertise gained over the years is enabling Gabriel
to cope very well with the huge proliferation of car models and
platforms through a rapid expansion of SKUs in the Gabriel cat-
alogue. The challenges of globalisation and cost pressures faced by
Gabriel have led the Gabriel operations team to accelerate the rate
of change required in production, the sourcing of quality compo-
Gerhard de Clerk nents from competitive sources around the world and the deploy-
– financial director, CI Auto ment of Lean Manufacturing Principles (fiercely eliminating
waste across the entire supply chain), an area in which Gabriel is
“ The key focus is to become cost effective in the running of a leader in implementation since the early 90s. The Team is cen-
the business. A lean and mean organisation is one that can tered on Quality and Process Improvement, Manufacturing and
cope with new demands without impacting service. Other Supply Chain management. All senior managers have several
imperatives are the protection of cash resources, embracing years of experience in manufacturing shockabsorbers.”
technology as a key driver, the development of staff, and a
customer orientation from everyone, from the sales force to Martha
the back office.”
– financial
executive, Gabriel
“The automotive industry is experienc-
ing a combination of pricing pressures
on two fronts. From the input side raw
material costs increased significantly during 2008, and from the
sales side consumers are becoming more price conscious. This
puts an onus on us to become very diligent in procurement prac-
tices and to be extremely efficient in production planning, as we
strive to satisfy these needs and wants.”

Anca Priscu
– new business
Richard Machanick executive, Gabriel
operations director, CI Auto
“New Business Development was
recently created by joining the commer-
“The reorganisation of the factory and warehouse has been a
huge challenge, but also a richly rewarding experience. cial and product engineering skills available in the Gabriel divi-
Productivity and service levels are improving and we foresee sion. The main objectives are to increase shock absorbers business
further improvements in 2009. We have developed a strong levels in all markets in which we operate by enriching our prod-
supply chain management team and in operations we have uct propositions and gaining new accounts, particularly outside
redirected and energised the workforce, with productivity the South-African borders. Thorough vehicle sales analysis and
and enthusiasm at levels one would have deemed impossible product research allow us to develop products that our customers
six months ago. Another enhancement has been the creation really need, in all automotive segments. For 2009 the focus
of a an “A” team that troubleshoots and resolves problems. remains on uncompromising product quality and reduced time
We now have a multi-skilled, flexible and motivated work- to market lead-time, topped by customer care. Despite the world
force, created by a move from conservative to progressive wide turmoil in the automotive industry, Gabriel will play an
management. We recognise the need and obligation to
increasing role in the sub-Saharan replacement parts market.
support the marketing and sales divisions by continually
imroving our customer service levels.” We are confident that our ability to read trends and adapt fast to
different market conditions will bring positive results.”

February 2009 15
cover story

One of CI Auto’s big strengths is its

world class brands
In 1900, Claude Foster, a The Autocom Echlin brand
pioneer in the automotive of original quality steering
parts industry, founded a com- and suspension components
pany in Cleveland, Ohio, that has been assembled and part
was named after its first product, Gabriel horns for horse-driv- manufactured since 1978 under technical agreement with major
en carriages. Foster later developed the first shock absorbing OEM European, Japanese and American steering and suspen-
device, the “Snubber,” for which he was granted the first U.S. sion manufacturers. The components are made from the highest
patent for a direct acting shock absorber in 1907. The rest is quality material and are consistently machined to the originally
history. Gabriel found its way to South Africa in 1935 and in
defined tolerances, making it one of the great suspension brands
2006 Gabriel SA was acquired by Control Instruments from
in South Africa.
ArvinMeritor, the USA parent. In the 1970’s and 1980’s the
Gabriel name became synonymous with technology-advanced
The AutoExcel range of auto
products such as Hijackers and Striders. In 1978, Gabriel
electrical components guaran-
introduced the first gas charged shock absorber developed and
produced in the U.S. Gabriel has consistently been in the fore- tees consistent performance
front of shock absorber innovation. and long life. Some of this
range is manufactured in-house while the rest is imported from
Europe, the Americas and the Far East. Over many years Acsa-
Founded in 1948 by Arthur Mag had become a strong and well-known brand in the automo-
Warn, Warn Industries began tive aftermarket. With the business growth in CI Automotive,
producing locking hubs for however, the need arose to rebrand Acsa-Mag products under a
surplus World War II Jeeps, con- new name: AutoExcel. The name was chosen to reflect the
verting thousands into industry which the brand serves, the quality customers have
useful, on-road vehicles. Originally based in Seattle, come to expect, and the customer service for which it is
Washington, Warn Industries' innovation revolutionised the hub renowned.
industry. The WARN® winch, developed in 1959, was the first
recreational winch. With pioneering features such as a rugged VDO (Verenigte Deuta Ota) is
drive train, the WARN winch quickly became the leading brand an iconic German instrumenta-
for off-road racers, avid four wheelers, weekend adventurers and tion brand. VDO South Africa
hard working ranchers. Continuing to diversify its product line was acquired by Control Instruments in 1987, a company which
the company also added fender flares and off-road accessory has been supplying transport control systems to companies in
products. WARN introduced the industry's first ATV winch and South Africa since 1948, including the world renowned Kienzle
was issued a patent in 1988. WARN entered the South African Tachograph. CI Auto is now custodian of this prestigious brand.
market in 1977.

Jack and Earl Echlin founded Echlin and Other significant

Echlin in San Francisco in 1924. They
made pistons, piston pins, and similar
CI Auto Brands
parts at first but then turned to manufac-
turing replacement parts such as ignitor
gears and oil pump gears. Eventually,
they bought the ignition business of
another company and went on to become one of the leading
U.S. ignition manufacturers. Echlin entered the South African
market in 1952, and CI Auto acquired the rights to the name
when it purchased Dana South Africa, thus gaining a
highly prized brand, well known as “the professional’s choice.”

“CI Auto’s brands will “Customer service in the

be our priority, in support of our brands will be
range expansion and our mantra”
superb cataloguing”
16 February 2009
Auto Topical

The best of times and the

by Tony Twine
worst of times…
2008 proved once again that the local motor industry, which is by no means unique in
global terms in this respect, is certainly no place for the faint hearted to try to earn a
living or build a career. It is probably also the most treacherous industry for anybody
who is trying to make predictions upon which to base business strategies – when you are
wrong you can be very, very wrong, and when you are right you are just plain lucky!!
hese statements may be very visibly confirmed by collapse in the Gold price and a 90% devaluation of the

T viewing the behavior of the curve running through

the accompanying graph, which traces the annual
rates of growth of reported NAAMSA passenger car
unit sales from one year to the next between 1961 and
2008. Harrowing as last year certainly was for participants in the
new vehicle markets, the decline in NAAMSA car unit sales of -
23.3% during the year turned out not to be the worst annual growth
Rand/Dollar exchange rate during 1985 had surely set the scene
for a collapse of confidence in the economy.

The fifth worst growth rate, -15%, in 1998 was driven once again
by a sharply weakening Rand, and the prime overdraft rate from
18.25% on 10th June to 25.5% by 31st August that year, as the
Reserve Bank tried to slug it out with foreign currency traders,
rate experienced since the beginning of the 1960’s, which dubious ending up with the SARB accumulating a foreign debt of $25bn
distinction belongs to 1985, which was equally unforgettable to in the space of a few months, the infamous “nett open forward
those who were around at the time and who have survived to witness position”, which took until 2001 to pay back. Amongst the best
the close run race for the most negative growth performance during performing years, the highest growth rates occurred in contiguous
2008. The small tables in the graphic spell out the five best growth years after the scare of 1961 was over, but 1963’s 35.7% and
years and the five worst growth years for these car sales since 1961. 1964’s 30.2% must be viewed against the low volume base which
It is interesting to reflect on the drivers of the worst and best per- existed in the early 1960’s (1961 saw just over 75 000 new cars
formances respectively, because they certainly are diverse. The sold). Those two high growth years were driven by the recovery
wooden spoon champion growth for 1985 was driven by sharp and confidence after the economy had survived “Republic-hood”,
increases in interest rates after the 1983/4 mini-boom, the Rubicon in an ongoing GDP growth environment of close to 6%pa.
speech, and a dramatic collapse in the exchange rate of the Rand, 1980’s 29.9% growth was on the back of the gold price boom,
which saw car prices escalate by 23% on average during the year. which saw the metal well on the way to an eventual turning point
In worst-but-one spot, 2008 saw the continuation of a two-year at $850. 1973 was a curious year to deliver a high car sales
economic slow down in SA, rising interest rates and, eventually, the growth performance, but was also helped by the gold price which
worst economic crisis in world terms since the 1930’s. rode upwards strongly on the back of inflation threats from an oil
price which moved from $2.50 to $8.50 in a matter of weeks dur-
Third worst spot was way back in the 1960’s with 1961 deliver- ing the first OPEC-inspired oil crisis. The fifth best growth rate
ing -22.9% growth on the back of the repercussions of the of 25.5% during 2005 came on the back of falling interest rates,
Sharpeville massacre and other township unrest during 1960, as rising consumer and business confidence levels, almost non-exis-
well as a dramatic slow-down in economic and fixed investment tent vehicle price inflation and economic growth at levels well
spending growth upon the news that SA would become an inde- above the 5%pa mark – the proximity of 2005 to 2008 is a
pendent republic on the 31st of May 1961. Those concerns were healthy reminder of how the boom-bust scenarios for the local
largely mirrored in 1976, with the June 16th Soweto uprising, motor industry evolved in rapid succession.
which spilled out over other urban Townships, but a sharp
One point is more than worth making –
the preliminary NAAMSA sales figures
for 2008 reflect 294 989 passenger cars
sold, excluding the over 34 000 from
the AMH stable and a few more from
completely impenetrable importers.
Before 2005, this would have been the
best car sales year ever, with earlier
record years spaced as far apart as 1981
and 2004, with NAAMSA car sales of
301 000 units each. But nobody will
remember the car market of 2008 with
any fondness, which just goes to show
that Einstein was right – everything is

18 February 2009
Lux Lite


by Peter Mather
Peter Mather has worked in the field of human capital development in the motor industry for the last twelve years and has
enjoyed great success in facilitating sales and leadership programmes within the industry.
i everyone, trust you had a great dream a little. Ask yourself what do I want to but let’s all take inspiration from the way our

H break and feel refreshed and

invigorated, ready for the chal-
lenges 2009 will bring us all.
After spending time at the end of 2008 chat-
ting to people within the automotive industry
achieve this year. Then build a workable plan
of action and share that with all your team
members and above all exude confidence so
that they become inspired by your leadership.
Having completed this step the next one is to
cricket team played in Australia. The greater
the challenge the greater the player and above
all the greater the rewards at the end of the
day. We can all recognise that incredible thing
called human spirit. Unleash the potential of
I was reminded of one of Paul Meyers great- build commitment from all your team mem- that collectively within your organisation and
est quotes taken from one of his most success- bers. This can sometimes be difficult and you the rest will follow. I look forward to interact-
ful programmes. Change Growth and are welcome to contact me for any advice I ing with all of you this year and welcome any
Progress are the order of the day. In looking at can help you with. Once you have commit- e mails regarding your teams successes and
the beginning of a new year I couldn’t think ment you need to set up an effective visual please if you are experiencing difficulties mail
of anything more apt to describe the way the measuring process of results within your busi- me, I maybe able to help. I have a full team of
industry must go in 2009. However in order ness and have each team member measure associates nationally and if you would like
for an industry to move towards this it is vital their own performance versus your expecta- someone to visit you to discuss ways of
that people in your organisation embrace this tions. By focusing on what can be done rather improving any facet of your business please
themselves in their own personal life. There is that what cant be done we steadily build contact me. Looking forward to a great year
no doubt that to succeed in 2009 we need to belief and confidence within the business. and who knows meeting some of you face to
understand what is required. Firstly if you are Finally reward success through powerful face in 2009. Above all have fun and live your
experiencing poor results don’t keep on doing recognition and only recognise achievements life to its fullest.
the same thing this year. Change to have any positively, avoid negative recognition at all
lasting impression must come from within. times. Through following these simple steps Visit or contact
Change yourself. Start by ridding yourself of you are able to insulate yourself from all the peter to register for my
negative perceptions and replace them with overall negative media hype going on around monthly newsletters or telephone 082 456
positive affirmations for success. Then start to you at present. Yes we are in challenging times 8479 for more details.
Frankly Speaking

Yank Tank
Just before South Africa shut down for the annual year-end holidays, we
witnessed the amazing events unfolding around the severely troubled
by Frank Beeton American motor industry. The most amazing of these were the efforts being
made by General Motors and Chrysler to obtain emergency government
funding to rescue their corporate cash flows, before they were predicted to disap-
pear completely around year-end. It seems that the Ford Motor Company was in a
slightly more favourable position, viewing any forthcoming government hand-out as a
“nice to have”, rather than a life-or-death necessity.

ndustry analysts and commentators were prolific in their stock build-up! Excess inventory is, of course, the mortal enemy

I efforts to dig out the reasons why this iconic and long-estab-
lished industry had got itself into such a potentially termi-
nal mess. The usual theories about inappropriate products,
excessive brand proliferation, slow reaction times, ineffective and
profligate management, inflexible and overpaid labour, and pro-
of positive cash flow. With the US market quite happy to go on
buying its unique domestic models, American manufacturers saw
little need to internationalise their products, or to reorientate
buyers through aggressive marketing action. This is not to say
that there has been no interplay at all between US plants and
gressively more stringent legislative demands on emissions and their offshore subsidiaries, but most of what has transpired up to
fuel economy were advanced and dissected. The real villain was, now has been very distinctly “off the radar”, hidden in vehicle
of course, the financial and economic crises which hit America, platforms and components that are not seen by the average buyer.
and the rest of the world during 2008, dramatically shrinking the Even when foreign models are sold in the US, they are usually
market for new vehicles. The final volume of just more than 13 heavily “Americanised”, and emerge materially different to equiv-
million cars and trucks finally sold in the US during 2008 was alents sold overseas.
nearly three million down on the equivalent 2007 volume, and
substantially less than the all-time record of 17,4 million units set The result of all this is that the American-owned industry has
in Year 2000. The one thing that an industry in transition does become increasingly isolated, living or dying according to the
not need is to have its principal market unexpectedly evaporate. whims of its own domestic market. The other problems put for-
Even if some of the accusations leveled against the US industry ward by the analyst community, if accurate, just exacerbate the
were accurate, vast businesses like the “Detroit Three” (recently problem. It is amazing to think that Henry Ford once supplied
demoted from “Big Three” by some American scribes) need time 90% of all the motor vehicles on Planet Earth, while to-day vehi-
to make profound adjustments. To be fair, all three of these man- cles of US origin are only bit players on four of the five conti-
ufacturers already had substantial return-to-profit strategies in nents. This will surely change, however, if General Motors, Ford
place long before the “Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis” hit, and were and Chrysler get the chance, and the market, to see their revival
busy with detailed action plans. Whether these plans were appro- strategies through. GM and Ford have declared the intent to use
priate has now become largely an academic question, because far more global product integration going forward, and Chrysler
they would have been made against the expectation of a “normal” is actively pursuing offshore partnerships, with both
market, and that, alas, no longer exists. Taking one step back- Renault/Nissan and Chinese manufacturers. The changes which
wards, it seems that the American motor industry’s major oppor- have taken place in the US heavy truck building industry form
tunity is also its biggest problem. The US light vehicle market has an interesting backdrop to this discussion. Once totally unique,
been historically the world’s largest, and, even in its emaciated with numerous independent indigenous chassis manufacturers
2008 state, is likely to have retained that status over a rapidly offering a highly rationalised catalogue of Cummins, Detroit
closing second placed China. A market of that magnitude has the Diesel, Caterpillar, Allison, Fuller, Spicer, Rockwell, and
potential to place enormous demands on its suppliers, because Hendrickson driveline components behind their individual
the rewards of success in the market are very considerable in vol- nameplates, we now have Freightliner, Western Star, and Mack
ume terms. This is the reason why foreign manufacturers such as foreign-owned, and increasingly moving towards specification
Toyota, Nissan, Daimler, BMW and Honda have established a profiles made up of components supplied by their European par-
substantial North American manufacturing presence to further ents, Daimler and Volvo. Even locally-owned PACCAR
their quests for increased business critical mass, and world mar- (Peterbilt/Freightliner) and Navistar International are increasing-
ket share. In order to do this, they have also created special mod- ly favouring “in-house” engine options, sourced from affiliated
els to pander to the preferences of American buyers. DAF and MAN respectively.
Unfortunately, these special models present as a two-pronged
threat to the indigenous American “Detroit Three”. Firstly, they The success of GM’s, Ford’s and Chrysler’s turnaround plans will
have eroded GM, Ford and Chrysler’s individual and collective depend heavily on what happens to the US economy, and, by
shares of their domestic market (in 2008, this trio accounted for inference, its automotive market. Optimists believe that some
just less than half of US light vehicle sales), and, secondly, they recovery may be possible later in 2009, and that would be good
have reinforced the perception that North America needs “spe- news indeed for the beleaguered motor industry. In the mean-
cial” products, and cannot be satisfied with the models developed time, expensive steps to develop new products (including a wave
for the rest of the world. In order to defend their positions, there- of electric vehicles), close under-utilised plants, adjust manpow-
fore, the US manufacturers have spent more time and effort er levels, cancel unpromising products and projects and stimulate
developing specific models for their home market, most of which sales, go on. Already the US government has provided the indus-
have negligible appeal beyond the shores of North America. try with loans of $US 25 billion for plant upgrades, and $US
While this strategy may work fine when the North American 17,4 billion in emergency funding. If things don’t improve soon,
market is running, come the downturn and………..immediate they’ll be back for more!

20 February 2009

by Roger McCleery


See how much you know about motoring.

1. What does the name of the former East German car, Trabant, mean?

2. What South African made sports car made its racing debut 50 years ago at Killarney, Cape Town?

3. Who invented the diesel engine?

4. Name two South Africans to have won their home Grands Prix.

5. In what towns or cities did they live?

6. What Italian tractor manufacturer started to manufacture cars in 1963?

7. In what year did Japanese luxury manufacturer Lexus first sell a car?

8. Name the bomber airfield used for the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the modern era in 1950?

9. What make of scooter sold more than 60 million?

10. One of every 15 cars sold in the world today is a what?

11. The letters of the car ‘MG’ stand for?

12. The letters ‘AC’ in the name AC Spark Plug formerly owned by General Motors stand for what?

13. Name the American founder of Nascar Stock Car Racing series in the USA.

14. Name the driver to give Williams its first Formula 1 Grand Prix win.

15. Who invented vulcanised rubber for tyres?

16. Who designed and built the Cobra sports car?

17. How many times did a 40-inch high car win Le Mans?

18. Name the car.

19. Who wrote the book “Unsafe At Any Speed” which eventually made seat belts compulsory in the States?

20. What were the first names of the Studebaker brothers?

Answers on p23
February 2009 21
Commercial Vehicle Comment

Nissan Diesel Cautiously

Optimistic about 2009
Nissan Diesel South Africa’s press briefing on 20th June 2009 was a breath of
fresh air for a media contingent expecting the worst, with a reasonably upbeat
prognosis for the truck market in 2009, providing a welcome counterbalance to
all the doom and gloom going around the industry. Johan Richards, chief
operating officer, put it succinctly, “We refuse to be sucked into the maelstrom
of negative thoughts and negative opinions. This type of thought process eventu-
ally becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.”
issan Diesel South Africa (NDSA)

Masato Takizawa, chief

executive of Nissan Diesel
N forecasts heavy duty sales of 30
000 units in 2009 – Medium
Commercial Vehicles 7 900,
Heavy Commercial Vehicles 6 350, Extra
Heavy Commercial Vehicles 13 940, and Buses
SA: “UD stands for 1 810; with NDSA’s share expected to be 4
053 units (13,5%). Whilst this prediction is
Ultimate Dependability” some 13,5% below 2008 sales, NDSA expects
the market to gain some traction during the
second half of 2009. This prognosis is based on
the expectation of interest rates coming down
Johan Richards, chief to 12,5% during the course of the year, infla-
tion averaging out at 6,7% and an increase in
operating office, the business confidence index.

“We’ve seen this movie Despite a stressful fourth quarter affected par-
before – Nissan Diesel ticularly by price increases, a global financial
meltdown, a rapidly depreciating exchange rate
remains very positive” and a plummeting all share index, NDSA can
still look back at 2008 with some satisfaction.
From a profit perspective, 2008 was the best
year ever for NDSA, and in the process it man-
aged to maintain its third position in market
share rankings behind Mercedes-Benz and
Raymond Schulz, manager: Toyota by make. On the global front, NDSA
marketing and retail services, retained its number one position as Nissan
Diesel’s top market outside of Japan. “Nissan
“A 10% increase in the price Diesel South Africa remains a dedicated truck
of a vehicle only translates into company that aims to provide profitable trans-
port solutions to its customers”, said Masato
a 2,1% increase in the lifetime Takizawa, chief executive of Nissan Diesel SA.
operating costs of a vehicle”. Rory Schulz, general manager: corporate plan-
ning and marketing, concedes that a lot hinges
on how the exchange rate behaves in 2009,
“The strength of the yen is creating cost pres-
Rory Schulz, general sures and our margins will continue to come
under pressure as long as this persists.”
manager: corporate Raymond Schulz, manager: marketing and
planning and mar- retail services, adds that price increases do not
keting, “Things will necessarily translate into a huge burden for
transporters, “A 10% increase in the price of a
ease up during the vehicle only translates into a 2,1% increase in
second half of 2009” the lifetime operating costs of a vehicle”.

22 February 2009
Engine Remanufacturing

A Double Bonus
In these days of environmental awareness, recycling and remanufacturing are
two activities that get five stars from the Al Gore brigade. The automotive
industry, in particular, has taken a lot of flak recently about the role it
plays in carbon emissions and global warming. There are, however, some good
news stories. Remtec is one of these.
emanufacturing of engines is South Africa and Nissan South Africa.

R not new. In actual fact, in the

1970’s there were quite a few
purely on the remanufacture of VW

Beetle engines. The problem was, and

Remtec gives its customers peace of mind
with a well equipped workshop, an adher-
ence to the highest quality standards, a
dedicated team, good availability, com-
petitive pricing and a 12 month / 100
still is, remanufacturing is not easy, par- 000 km warranty. Add to this full after
ticularly if you want to do the job prop- sales service and you get a pretty impres-
erly. Therefore, there are today less sive package. Remtec also does not let the
remanufacturers than some three decades grass grow from under its feet when it
ago. And, astonishingly, there is only one comes to delivery, striving to achieve
OE engine remanufacturer in South delivery of orders within 24 – 48 hours,
Africa, and that manufacturer is Remtec. thus reducing downtime significantly.
Before we go into this success story, let us
define what remanufacturing is. R. Lund, There are other reconditioners that may
an acknowledged guru, defines it as “… offer better prices, but this option does
an industrial process in which worn-out not represent a cost effective long term
products are restored to like-new condi- solution. Refurbished engines have only
tion. Through a series of industrial been repaired and brought back to
processes in a factory environment, a dis- running condition whereas Remtec
carded product is completely disassem- Remanufactured engines have been com-
bled. Useable parts are cleaned, refur- pletely restored to OEM specifications,
bished, and put into inventory. Then the process, and when done properly, it with all the parts being sourced from
product is reassembled from the old parts matches and even exceeds what cus- OEM approved suppliers. Peace of mind
(and where necessary, new parts) to pro- tomers’ expect from a new product. comes from the fact that Remtec
duce a unit fully equivalent and some- Remtec falls proudly into this category. Remanufactured engines have the equiv-
times superior in performance and The only OE engine remanufacturer in alent of a new product warranty, as
expected lifetime to the original new South Africa, with over 43 years experi- stringent standards have resulted in the
product.” ence in the industry, Remtec operates Remtec product being comparable to a
from a 6 000 m² facility in Port new product.
In the broader sense, remanufacturing Elizabeth, employing over 80 people.
encompasses the three key components Remtec is an approved remanufacturer So there you have it. Remtec gives
in the modern waste management hierar- for General Motors South Africa (Opel you a double bonus – OEM quality
chy; “reduce, reuse, recycle”. Essentially, and Isuzu); Volkswagen of South Africa; and environmentally acceptable!
remanufacturing goes further than these Ford Motor Company of Southern Visit for more
three imperatives, in that it is a complete Africa (Ford and Mazda); Land Rover information.

1. Servant 8. Silverstone 14. Clay Ragazzoni
2. Dart 9. Honda Cub 15. Charles Goodyear
3. Rudolph Diesel 10. Chevrolet 16. Carroll Shelby
4. Jody Scheckter and Buller Meyer 11. Morris Garages 17. 4 Times
5. East London 12. Arthur Champion – maker of 18. Ford GT40
6. Lamborghini Champion Spark Plugs 19. Ralph Nader
7. 1989 13. Bill France Snr. 20. Henry and Clement

February 2009 23
Bottom line basics
It’s been said a million times before that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This cliché takes on a new reso-
nance when describing the truck industry. Times may be tough, but trucks are tougher, and truckers are the toughest. This
industry is literally the wheels of the economy, so thank goodness that when the going gets tough, the toughest get going.
A critical element in this dynamic is the ability to keep costs down, and to ensure that operating costs are kept under tight
control. The first port of call in this endeavour is to protect against theft and misuse. ABR has commissioned Séan Jackson
of TRUCKTEK to give our readers a series of tips on Bottom Line Basics.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Séan Jackson does not mince his words. He describes the current situation in South
Africa as “an illness in the market”. He is referring to the large scale theft of fuel,
in various forms, from practically every fleet in the country. This theft is endemic,
and is impacting severely on the operating costs of fleets and is eroding profits to
a significant degree. It does not take a rocket scientist to realise the greater impact
on the economy as a whole.
onsidering that up to 40% of apportion blame? It is extremely difficult

C the operating costs of a fleet is

in the consumption of fuel,
and factoring in the conserva-
tive estimate that 30% of this fuel is being
lost to “fuel evaporation”, this translates
to gauge fuel losses, because of all the
variances – load, road conditions, driving
skills, vehicle condition, etc. The driver is
always the suspect, but how do you
into over 10% of fleet operating costs
going up in smoke, or more accurately, There are three realities in this the situa-
contributing to a burgeoning black mar- tion: Firstly, diesel has become a com-
ket in commodity trading. Any econo- modity, so there is no way you can stop
mist who cares to do the sums will come people trading in it. Secondly, the syndi-
to a staggeringly high figure, which means cates that are removing diesel from tanks
that here is an area where action can and and trucks throughout the country can-
must be taken. If not, crime does appear not be tracked, as they are doing it consis-
to pay. The industry is fully aware of the tently, regularly, and over extended peri-
situation, tackling the scourge with vari- ods, at a place and time of their choice.
ous measures of increasing sophistication. Thirdly; and this is the critical issue, and
Electronic fuel management systems have the essence of the problem; this is not an
been introduced, and monitoring tech- opportunistic crime. It is not the guy
niques have got so smart that many fleet punching holes in the tank, or removing
control centres can tell when a truck has a drain plug or sender unit; it is a sophis-
stopped, where it has stopped, and for ticated network of diesel “procurement
how long it has stopped. The guys in the specialists”. The bottom line is that a fuel
control centre can monitor the driver’s tank has to be accessed physically to put
efficiency, and even how much fuel is fuel in, and a fuel tank has to be accessed
being consumed at a given point in time. physically to get the fuel out. Two plus
“Electronic fuel management Individual tyre pressures can even be two equals four, i.e. the best preventative
monitored and fed back to the driver! All measure is to prevent the physical removal
systems have been introduced, good and well, and all sound measures to of fuel from the tank. How does one do
improve overall efficiency, but the brutal this? There are many contraptions on the
and monitoring techniques fact is that fuel theft is being committed market, some effective and many less
on a large and consistent scale, and this is effective, to address this. There are many
have got so smart that many being perpetrated by syndicates which considerations when fitting such a device,
remove fuel regularly from many trucks, which shall be discussed in the next issue
fleet control centres can tell and in quantities that may create some of ABR, but the key consideration when
head scratching at head office, but not so choosing a product is that it must not
when a truck has stopped, only deter, it must also enhance, and do
much that alarm bells are sounded. It’s a
where it has stopped, and for game of cat and mouse, and the mouse is the job properly.
winning. Even when the odd alarm bell
how long it has stopped.” does go off, it is usually after the fact, so Séan Jackson will be back with
very little can be done, as how does one his tough love next issue.

24 February 2009
Informed Comment
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax
and Advisory services. There are over 123,000 professionals working in over
140 countries worldwide.

From Private Jets to Hybrid Cars – is this

enough to secure a bailout for US automakers?
About the author: Daniel Malan is the KPMG Special Advisor on Ethics and Governance and Head
of the Unit for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. The
views and opinions of the author do not necessary reflect those of KPMG or the University of Stellenbosch
Business School. He can be contacted at

High costs and weak sales are threatening the survival of the three major US automakers. General
Motors, Chrysler and Ford have made it clear that they cannot survive without assistance from
government. And with the recent $700 billion bailout of financial institutions it might seem like a
reasonable thing to do. The CEOs of the three corporations have asked Capitol Hill for billions of
dollars in loans to prevent them from filing for bankruptcy. But many voices of protest have gone
up, and The Economist has stated categorically that a bailout will be a mistake. After an initial
request for $25 billion, the US Congress sent all three corporations back to do some
homework, and revised plans were submitted on December 2nd.

here were many things to con- business were you people in other than the exact form set forth in the report.

T sider with the development of

such new plans, not least of all
the need to get rid of the arro-
gance and big spender mentality that
probably contributed to the difficult posi-
innovation? If we give you another $25
billion, will you also do accounting?”
What caused the problems in the indus-
try? Friedman blames an un-innovative
business culture, visionless management
Must a certification filed during the tran-
sition period for a period ended before
August 29th include the statements set
forth in paragraphs (b)(4), (5) and (6) of
Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14?” So, if regula-
tion these corporations are in at the and overly generous labour contracts. But tion is not the solution, what about a
moment. A couple of months ago, all three perhaps the real issue at stake here is the bailout? A bailout also cannot provide a
CEOs travelled to Washington in private unethical, greedy and unsustainable busi- long term solution. In 1979 Chrysler was
jets (estimated cost: $20 000 per round ness practices that still characterise large given a $1.2 billion loan by the US
trip per CEO) to request tax payers’ money parts of many multinational corpora- Congress when they were struggling to
to bail them out. Next time round the tions. That rings a bell, doesn’t it? When survive in the midst of the oil crisis. The
CEO’s of both Ford and General Motors we think back to the collapse of Enron fact that the company repaid these loans
travelled to Washington in their respective and its aftermath we are reminded that and survived until today is used by some
companies’ hybrid cars to submit their more regulation is not the solution. to argue in favour of another bailout.
revised plans. This is a far cry from Bob Many people argue that the Sarbanes- But others disagree – in an upcoming
Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, Oxley Act distracted companies from get- book entitled “Bailout Nation”, Barry
who shared a few pearls of wisdom with ting back to basic, sound business prac- Ritholtz, owner of a New York based
journalists during a lunch earlier last year. tices in a post-Enron world. equity research firm argues that the
According to him, hybrid cars like those bailout actually helped cause the decline
manufactured by Toyota does not make This problem is demonstrated clearly by of the auto industry. A refusal to bail out
economic sense, global warming is a the following “frequently asked question” Chrysler in the 1970’s would have caused
“crock of s**t” and finally his view then from the SEC web site: “An issuer is filing introspection at all the major automak-
was that the best car dealers will thrive a Form 10-K report after August 29, ers, he argues, and helped them to focus
even in a sluggish economy. “They’ve got 2002, the date Rules 13a-14, 13a-15, on smaller, fuel-efficient cars and manu-
to isolate themselves from the economic 15d-14 and 15d-15 became effective, for facturing quality. Of course, the other
forecasts,” Lutz said, “and say, ‘I make my a period ending prior to the effective problem with a bailout strategy is not
own prosperity.’ ”The message that is date. Section V of Release No. 33-8124 unlike the problems associated with pay-
now coming from the big three corpora- provides that the certification required to ing ransom (or paying bribes, for that
tions is that they need the bailout to help be included with the report need contain matter). If you assist the automakers
them to innovate and thrive in future. only the statements set forth in para- themselves, why not their first-tier sup-
This has not convinced three times win- graphs (b)(1), (2) and (3) of Exchange pliers, who are most certainly also suffer-
ner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, Act Rules 13a-14 and 15d-14. However, ing at the moment. And what about the
Thomas Friedman, who wrote in the the instructions to Forms 10-Q, 10-QSB, retail industry that will have to survive
New York Times: “We have to subsidise 10-K, 10-KSB, 20-F and 40-F indicate until consumers can afford to spend
Detroit so that it will innovate? What that the required certification must be in again?

26 February 2009
A special case can still be made out for financial institutions,
because they are so integrated with the entire socio-econom-
ic system and the good institutions were just as threatened
as the bad ones when people started to lose faith in the sys-
tem. But if an automaker or a retailer fails as a business,
there will always be investors waiting in the wings who will
see an opportunity. The choice is not an easy one.
According to Prof. Ollie Williams, business ethics professor
at Notre Dame University, the ripple effect of the current
crisis on millions of Americans is something that the coun-
try cannot afford at the moment: “There is no question that
the industry itself has been poorly managed, and we can
expect major changes in management in the short term. In
many ways this is a “teachable moment”, a wake-up call for
US business. We must change our ways! But we must also
do the bail-out”.

Although the details of the revised plans are still a bit

sketchy and will only be debated in the US congress later
this week, the basic plans seem to be in order – the CEOs
have agreed to reduce their salaries to $1 a year, workers will
accept lower wages as well, there will be redundancies and
reductions in brands, and a very strong emphasis on inno-
vation and fuel efficiency. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the
United States House of Representatives, has made it clear
that bankruptcy is not an option because it will take too
long and everybody will be disadvantaged by such a process.
At a news conference on December 2nd, she indicated her
support for some form of a rescue package as long as the
emphasis is on long term viability of the industry, account-
ability to tax payers and innovation. From a South African
perspective, it is important to note that the local manufac-
turers of these three companies seem to be well managed
and profitable, and therefore not in need of a bailout. They
are therefore likely to continue even if their parent share-
holder should change in future. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart,
chairman of Anglo American recently suggested that mining
companies should use the global slowdown to pause and
plan carefully in order to be ready when the economy picks
up again. Perhaps automakers should do the same. And
whether it will be through bankruptcy or conditions
attached to a bailout, we are likely to see a few less gas
guzzlers on the road in future.

Solution puzzle on p11

February 2009
Tony’s take

Mickey Mouse shows less Interest

by Tony Twine, Senior Economist, Director – Econometrix (Pty) Ltd

The South African Reserve Bank faces considerable challenges in steering the ship
of monetary policy through deeply troubled international financial waters, not to
mention a very noisy domestic surf line during 2009. The pressures pushing and
pulling the policy makers against any given policy scenario regarding interest rates
currently both look compelling and only time will tell how a host of corroborating
factors influencing the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decisions will stack up to
drive the scenario in one of two particular directions.
he one thing that does appear reasonably certain, is formance of the real side of the economy, only price stability. It

T that money market interest rates will be lower at the

end of 2009 than they were immediately before the
first cut in rates which came through in December
2008, ending a 30 month upswing in rates which began back in
June 2006. Where opinions begin to diverge amongst analysts
must be remembered that interest rates are a rather blunt instru-
ment in the hands of monetary policy makers, rather than laser
sharp scalpels. Two decades of Mickey Mouse monetary policy
management from 1970 onwards, simply led to stop-start,
boom-bust 18 month from trough to peak cycles around a steadi-
and economists is about how rapid the rate of decline might be ly declining real economic growth rate. The Mboweni gover-
and what the lowest point for the year might be for key lending nance team at the SARB has, so far, been at pains to avoid repeat-
rates, such as prime overdraft rate which drives a host of linked ing this process and is unlikely to be spooked into rash action at
lending rates. Having sniffed blood in the water at the time of the this particular stage.
December rate cut, there are many players in the credit market
who either believe, or at least want the rest of us to believe that Mickey Mouse monetary regulation policies helped get the devel-
interest rates will tumble during the first half of 2009, alongside oped economies of the world into the problems which now con-
rapidly retreating levels of consumer price index inflation. front them, and that same rodent is now being asked to lead
Falling petrol prices, food price increases that are shedding those economies Pied-Piper-like out of the ruins of their respec-
momentum, and the new weightings for the consumer price tive financial sectors.
index basket to be introduced in January 2009, all point to a sud-
den sharp decrease in the inflation rate, and add grist to the mill The alternative scenario is that interest rates could decline at a
of the inflation doves who are anticipating a steep tumble in rates slower pace during the course of 2009, driven by the necessity to
during the first half of the year. maintain the high yield status of the SA economy and to offset
the lack of willingness of foreigners to hold Rand-based assets in
A fall in the targeted inflation aggregate would certainly be a nec- International payments environment which was already parlous a
essary, but perhaps not a sufficient condition for a dramatic relax- year ago and has only deteriorated. If foreign economies do not
ation of monetary policy early in 2009. Another argument in buy our exports because of their own cyclical problems, we are
favour of a tumble in rates is that the performance of the real sec- going to have to borrow from them to continue the imports nec-
tor of the domestic economy is under severe downward pressure, essary for the politically desirable infrastructural investment
and could only be helped by lower lending rates. boom to which SA is already committed. Otherwise the
While the latter argument is true, SARB Governors dating back exchange rate of the Rand could take the full force of increasing
to Bob de Jongh in the 1970’s have been at pains to point out local demand and imports later in the year, combined with
that their mandates do not include any responsibility for the per- diminishing international capital influence.

How the MPC of the SARB will weigh the oppor-

tunities and threats during the course of the year
remains to be seen. The quick cut scenario could
bring prime down to 12% by mid-year, and per-
haps as low as 10% by year-end. The moderate cut
scenario could reduce the level of improvement in
the price of credit to 13.5% by mid-2009, and
around 12% by year-end. But the quick-cut sce-
nario brings with it a heightened risk of rekindling
inflation because of higher exchange rate risks.
The most susceptible would be imported durable
goods like household white goods and motor vehi-
cles and the things that go into them like food and
fuel. The price of credit, the interest rate, may be
the beginning of the story, but it is certainly not
the end.
February 2009
Burford on Brands

A sporting heart
by Adrian Burford
still beats
It’s hard to believe that once upon a time South Africa was Alfa Romeo’s biggest
market outside Italy, with their own plant, nearly 60 dealers, and a reputation for
being genuinely sporty with an expansive range that appealed to enthusiasts of all
ages across a reasonably broad income spectrum. In 1975, for example, they were
selling about 2 250 Alfasuds a year in SA and in 1982 they sold nearly 7 500
Giuliettas. In addition, they had the giant-killing six cylinder GTVs and the Alfa 6,
which was pitched right into BMW 5-series territory. Even by the end of 1984, with
the parent company in serious financial trouble and incorporation into Fiat looming
on the horizon, they had sold 2 344 Alfa 33s locally. Ironically, Alfa Romeo was
also manufacturing the Daihatsu Charade at their Brits plant, pumping nearly 4 500
into the market in both 1983 and 1984.

t the moment, they’re lucky to get into double figures concentrated on military hardware previously. A year later the

A – which means the 20-odd dealers (according to their

website) can’t be happy. Ironically, an intro on the site
proclaims that Beauty is Not Enough and that is oh-so
true...the current Alfa Romeo line-up is arguably as eye-catching
as it is ever been; from the sleek 159 to the striking Brera and GT.
company was renamed Alfa Romeo.

By 1931 the company was bankrupt and was rescued by the

Italian government, a change which saw increasingly lavish
machines being built. This all changed in the austere post-war
Even the 147, despite getting on more than a bit, is still easy on years, when the focus moved to more affordable cars. The first
the eye and not a bad drive. Yet they’re not selling. two years of the Formula One world championship, 1950 and
1951, were won by Alfa Romeo Alfettas (Guiseppe Farina and
They’re all overweight and overpriced but the main problem is then Juan Manuel Fangio), but the brand has never won again.
that the local market is tougher than ever and consumers have
got so much to choose from. Habits have also changed and it In fact, the brand’s international motorsport successes more or
is debatable whether the buyers of the 70s and the less ended more than half a century ago, yet Alfa Romeo
early 80s – well-informed, enthusiasts who is still arguably the most overtly sporty mass market
were genuinely ‘into’ cars – still exist. brand in the world. Through the 50s with the
original Guiletta, the 60s with the Guilia
Now the flavours are Minis, Fiat 500s Sprint and the 70s with the GTVs (most
and Beetles, and they’re not necessarily powered by the brand’s legendary twin cam
being bought by people who care very powerplant) they continued to make some
much about cars: they’re buying fash- of the best-looking road cars, with the han-
ion statements. And with Alfa having dling characteristics and driver involve-
disappeared from the price lists for ment to match. And while pricing was
about a decade - 1985 until early 1996 unashamedly premium, it was all deemed to
(despite the efforts of a private importer be worth it.
a couple of years prior) – there were a
number of missing links in the chain by the That’s what keen drivers are hoping they’ll find
time Alfa imports started again thanks to the in the MiTo, due for local introduction early this
efforts of Nissan’s holding company, Automakers. year, probably somewhere near the R200 000 mark for
the entry model. Punted as “a distillate of pure Alfa Romeo
In the middle of 1998 Fiat Auto South Africa, into which Alfa values”, this next small Alfa (at four metres from bumper to
Romeo falls, was formed to handle importation and distribution bumper it represents something of a return to the classics of the
of the two brands as well as overseeing the manufacture of 50s, 60s and early 70s) is “made up of sensual style, agility and
various Fiat products at Nissan’s Rosslyn plant. technical excellence – all with the ultimate goal of driving
The birth of Alfa Romeo goes something like this: a group of
Italian investors and a Frenchman – Alexandre Darracq – set up Only time will tell if there’s truth behind the hype and whether
Societa Anonima Italiana Darracq (SAID) in 1906 but one of the the MiTo is ultimately capable of rekindling South Africa’s love
Italians – Ugo Stella – started Alfa (also an acronym) in 1909. By affair with Alfa Romeo. To quote the company’s spin doctors
1915 a Neapolitan businessman, Nicola Romeo, had taken over once again: “The MiTo is a form of baptism into the Alfa religion
the company and started making cars again in 1919, having for a new generation of Alfisti...”

30 February 2009
The tipping point
The Tipping Point – a series of articles based on a paper presented
to the SA Auto Strategies Conference in August 2008, presented by
Klaus G. Langer of the Munich Advisory Group, and subsequent
interviews with Klaus, who can be defined as a “Cultural Creative”

A l t e r n a t i v e F u e l s
In previous issues of ABR, Klaus Langer reflected on the automobile of
Klaus Langer, the future, and the dynamics around the mobility needs of the consumer
Partner at the and its influence on design and development. In this issue, we ponder the
Munich Advisors situation around alternative fuels and its impact on the tipping point,
Group which is being increasingly defined and driven by the “cultural creatives”.
he cultural creatives’ voice is done. We know that the oil and coal industries

These three gentlemen
increasingly being heard, and will play a major role will invest a lot to protect the status quo.
it looks like once again it is They’ll lobby. They’ll advertise. They’ll scare-
in the next four years
America’s turn to take the monger. The RePower America vision for clean
lead. Eight years of conserva- in beginning to imple- energy, a prosperous economy, and a safe cli-
tive leadership, which re- ment the desires of the mate must be heard in Washington and across
mained steadfastly behind the status quo, has cultural creatives, and the nation.” Hear, hear Cathy, but let us rather
meant that America has been behind the eight in establishing the new make that “across the nation and across the
ball in the search for, and more importantly, the energy frontier world”, for this is not just an American prob-
implementation of alternative fuel technologies, lem, it is everyone on this planet’s problem.
despite a crying need for this, and despite the
strenuous efforts of progressive state governors Okay, so we have identified the problem, and
such as Arnold Schwarzenegger of California. the new President of the leading nation has
identified the problem. This is a good start, but
However, with the election of Barack Obama to the challenge remains immense. A century of
the world’s most influential position, the play- easy and inexpensive access to fossil fuels, and a
ing fields have not only been levelled, they have century of infrastructural development and
been turned on their head! Suddenly, Al Gore is support for the dispersal and use of this fossil
back in vogue, and his global warming warnings fuel, together with a century of wasteful and
are being taken seriously by the guy at the top. thoughtless behaviour, has to reversed and
Early in December 2008, Al Gore in his capac- reconstituted. It is, as Klaus puts it, as if we
ity as chairman of the WE Campaign, met with have to go ahead and fight a war on three
President-elect Obama to talk about solving the fronts. The first front is the mindset front.
climate crisis, and the impact of the meeting Secondly, we have to tackle the enormous need
was evident in Obama’s remarks after the meet- for electricity and power generation, which still
ing, “…we have the opportunity now to create relies heavily on coal and diesel. We have to
jobs all across this country, in all 50 states, to move from the conventional to the unconven-
repower America, to redesign how we use ener- tional, focusing more on wind, solar, hydro,
gy, to think about how we are increasing effi- tide, even on nuclear (electrical) power genera-
ciency, to make our economy stronger, make us tion, and we need to store this energy in a new
more safe, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, generation of batteries. Thirdly, we need to
and make us competitive for decades to come, find alternatives to the internal combustion
even as we’re saving the planet.” engine, to allow for greater and cleaner
mobility for the consumers of the future.
As Cathy Zoi, CEO of
and an ardent supporter of the WE Campaign, We shall focus on this third front in the next
puts it in an e-mail to Klaus Langer, “This is Tipping Point article.
fantastic progress. Our agenda is front-of-mind
for the new leadership, but much remains to be

32 February 2009
Vehicle Evaluation

Grand Vitara 2.4 Manual

by Howard Keeg

In September 2008, I was privileged to attend the launch of Suzuki’s Grand Vitara
and Jimny vehicles (see ABR October 2008), and thus when I received Suzuki’s press
release early January 2009 celebrating their growing market share in 2008, I was
not surprised.
he Japanese small car specialist, which entered the Manual. Based on its launch price of R269 900, this “thorough-

T local market in June last year with a 20-strong dealer

network and a R140-million investment in infrastruc-
ture and parts supply, currently commands a two per-
cent share of the passenger car market, with just four model
ranges (the Swift B-segment hatchback, the SX4 C-segment
ly modern, highly competent and technically advanced all-ter-
rain” vehicle, with a 2,4 litre power plant utilising twin overhead
camshafts and VVT variable valve timing (122kW @ 6 000rpm;
225Nm @ 4 000rpm), is indeed very good value for money.
With me being the consummate city slicker, I did not have the
lifestyle hatchback, the Grand Vitara 4x4 SUV and the Jimny opportunity to put this willing steed through its 4x4 paces, but I
compact 4x4). Not unexpectedly, the most popular models were did not need to, as during the launch in September, we experi-
the Swift and the SX4, as these are mainly city vehicles, whereas enced the Grand Vitara’s terrific off-road skills. With the car in
the Grand Vitara and Jimny are more niche products. Kazuyuki
my hands for a week, I now had the time to leisurely savour its
Yamashita, managing director of Suzuki Auto SA, is appreciative
urban and highway skills. It handled its urban duties with
of the performance, “Despite the overwhelmingly negative vehi-
aplomb, and with the condition of some of Gauteng’s roads, even
cle sales trend currently experienced in SA and globally, we are
its off-road pedigree came into play during this assignment,
gratified by the performance of our Suzuki models locally”. He
continues, “Suzuki is already well placed to take advantage of the which it passed with flying colours. It is comfortable, roomy, easy
growing demand for smaller, more efficient and more affordable to drive, surprisingly manoeuvrable and reasonably speced, with
vehicles. We will also be introducing the all-new Alto subcom- all the mod-cons one expects today. I did miss the cruise control
pact, which will bring the Suzuki motoring experience to an even though, which is standard on its bigger 3,2 litre brother. And it
wider audience.” Yamashita expects Suzuki’s growth to continue is definitely not thirsty. During a short run to Rustenburg, I
during 2009, bolstered by an increasingly prevalent buying-down managed to achieve 8,1 litres per 100km in relatively light traffic
trend, and the introduction of additional, exciting new Suzuki and at the legal speed limit, which for such a relatively heavy
models. Suzuki’s successful formula is its ability to build solid vehicle, is good going indeed. I could go on and on, but for those
vehicles with quality finishes at aggressive pricing. This was who want to know the finer details, this can be found at
apparent in the week that I evaluated the Grand Vitara 2.4

February 2009 33
weighty issues


The 2007/08 annual report of South Africa’s National Department of Transport is
by Frank Beeton
an imposing document, made up of 219 pages. It contains more than its fair share
of typical political inexactitudes, but, lurking in the section titled “Strategic
Objectives” are a number of clauses which suggest that this is, indeed, the government depart-
ment that holds the ultimate responsibility for strategy and regulation relating to all forms
of transportation in South Africa. While it is obvious that much of the day-to-day management
of air, rail, maritime and road transport is executed by other structures, such as the
Provinces, Transnet and Local Authorities, it seems that the DoT has the mandate to ensure
that transportation in South Africa works to the benefit of the country and its citizens.

f this position is accepted, then Houston, we have some prob- satisfying its clients on the single-purpose Richards Bay coal

I lems. Looking at the situation from the perspective of the man-

in-the-street, rather than the rarified air of lofty political ideal-
ism, there are a number of key areas in which national trans-
portation policy is clearly not working, and demanding the
Department’s serious attention. Consider these:
export line, so the chances of it providing an efficient, reliable
and cost-effective service on a highly diverse, and extremely busy
corridor such as Durban-Johannesburg is open to question. The
resulting pressure has caused the national road infrastructure,
once a source of pride to the country, to deteriorate at an alarm-
ing rate. Fortunately, the most important trunk routes have been
• More than ten years ago, amid much fanfare, this Department protected by privately-operated tollroad concessions, but there
initiated the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme. To-day, we still are a number of important national arteries that have become
have daily evidence that significant elements of the taxi industry extremely hazardous. This has been a contributory factor to an
are out of control, and a danger to themselves, and the commu- unacceptably high national incidence of serious and very expen-
nity they are supposed to serve. The handing out of vast sums of sive accidents involving heavy-duty goods and passenger vehi-
“recapitalization” funds has achieved little more than the appear- cles, exacerbated by excessively long driving hours, sub-
ance of some new taxis, many of which are Chinese, and not the stance/alcohol abuse and rank bad driving. The Department
type of vehicle originally envisaged in the TRP at all. The reason needs to urgently finalise long-overdue legislation limiting driv-
is simple: Too much emphasis has been placed on writing screeds ing hours, and ensure that enforcement cracks down on driver
of constantly changing vehicle specifications, many of which malpractice, and discontinues the much-reported bribery
were rejected outright by the taxi community on justifiable option. It must also promote public-private partnerships which
grounds of cost, while not enough effort was expended on get- can endow Transnet with the management skills necessary to
ting taxi owners and drivers committed to a road-legal and safe become a real force in line-haul freight transportation. There will
service. After years of “coaxing”, elements in the taxi communi- be very little argument against multi-modalism from the private
ty still regularly take on central and local government structures, sector if the policy brings concomitant benefits of cost-efficien-
and argue vehemently against the need for important public cy and reduced pressure on the national road network.
transport initiatives such as Bus Rapid Transit systems. The
Department needs to sit down immediately with the Taxi indus- • We have heard much about the reduction in road accident fatal-
try leadership, and get their unconditional buy-in to legal oper- ities recorded over the 2008 Festive Season. To its credit, the
ation, and intermodal co-operation, so that they can provide a Department of Transport has resisted the temptation to celebrate
real service to the country. the death of “only” 885 people too loudly, but to rather point
out that much still remains to be done. The problem is that this
• The reports, in December, 2008, that the Department of year-on-year reduction of 42% may have reflected reduced traf-
Transport was reneging on its contractural obligation to pay bus fic levels, but was certainly achieved by increased enforcement
operators the subsidies to which they were legally entitled, and police intervention, and not by a long-term transformation
because of inadequate government funding, added yet another of driver attitudes. SA motorists’ favourite game of “spot the
item to the long list of obstacles with which have continuously cop” will therefore resume as soon as the men in uniform take
confronted this public transport mode since 1994. These include their delayed vacations. The Department needs to develop a
the interminable to-and-fro negotiations delaying the final comprehensive programme of media-based information, with
implementation of the “tender-for-routes” system, continuous support from community icons, to encourage good driving prac-
delays in providing operators with anything other than extreme- tice. This should avoid sensationalist “shock-horror” material,
ly short-term authority to operate, and the systematic removal of but rather educate through building the public’s understanding
vital skills from the industry in the name of Black Economic of speed, vehicle roadworthiness, seat belt usage, road signs, etc.
Empowerment. The result has been an extremely difficult busi- They should also get the traffic police out from behind their
ness environment in which operators could not adequately plan speed traps and bushes, to interact positively and educationally
their businesses, or justify financing fleet acquisitions. Of course, with the driving public.
the taxi community was more than happy to fill any gaps left by
disadvantaged bus operators! The Department needs to recog- The failure, on non-existence, of effective legislation to deal with
nize the important role that buses must play in the provision of these, and other problems suggests that the Department of Transport
public transport, adopt a more positive attitude to bus operators, may be spending too much time walking the corridors of power, and
whatever their background, and ensure that the few skilled peo- not enough out on the streets. Setting lofty-sounding strategic direc-
ple still remaining in the industry stay put. tion is all very well, but it can take a very long time before this trans-
lates into meaningful action, and it sometimes seems to just evapo-
• Despite the regular publishing of strategic documents promising rate without trace. These problems are not new, but worsening daily,
the imminent return of rail transport as a significant contributor and demand some urgent and meaningful action from the current
to the national freight transport task, the reality is that more and minister, if he, too, is not to be relegated to the same historic
more of this burden has been taken on by private sector road car- scrapheap as a number of his ineffective predecessors.
riers. Transnet Freight Rail has experienced enough difficulty in

34 February 2009

Getting a Grip on Tools

Still wondering what to do with that silver fondue set you inherited from your
grandparents? And what about those flying ducks that your mother has promised
you? Don’t fret, just go with the flow, but make sure that you do not repeat these
heritable aberrations, and that your heirs inherit something of value, and that
they remember your wake with fond feelings. What better than a set of quality
hand tools with a lifetime warranty, which shall ensure that future generations
shall also benefit.

Aslam Mia wants you to tool up for a lifetime of usability – here he The AmPro stand at the AAPEX Show in Las Vegas in November
stands in front of a tool set developed specifically for the SA market 2008, signifying AmPro’s global presence

he problem is that top of the range tools can international brands” says Aslam Mia, AutoZone’s National

cost an arm and a leg, and to collect a full set Buyer of AmPro. Aslam explained to ABR that whilst AmPro has
could require a second mortgage. Fortunately, been in the South African market for over ten years, “it took time
help is at hand, in the form of AmPro, a com- to gain traction, which was only gained in 2003 when AutoZone
prehensive range of value for money hand tools decided to place a high priority on tool sets, and to expand the
for both the professional and D.I.Y. handyman. range significantly.” These steps bore fruit, and AmPro now has
Core categories include socket sets and accessories, spanners, a strong market presence, offering value for money, quality, and
screwdrivers, pliers, pneumatic tools & specialty tools (e.g. coil a lifetime guarantee on each individual part. This confidence in
spring compressors, pry bars, compression testers, and much the product, which is extremely rare in the industry, has really
more), as well as tool chests. This is a world class quality range of put AmPro on the map.
tools, and the big plus is that it carries a lifetime warranty.
With this momentum, market share is growing, and Aslam Mia
AutoZone is the South African distributor of AmPro, and promises even bigger things in the future, driven by an ever
AutoZone’s extensive footprint in the country means that these improving range, catering for the smallest tool to heavy duty
world class tools are readily available for the diverse spectrum of mining sets. If there is a demand, AutoZone will source the prod-
tool users in South Africa. The secret behind Ampro’s success is uct. Aslam confirms that specialty tools for specific models are
its dynamic founder, Scott Wang, who has his finger on the pulse being developed. “Watch this space” is his watchword, when
of global tool trends, and he is continually travelling, looking for referring to range improvements and special deals. Even though
pockets of excellence and sourcing globally. The good news is the “killer deals” offered in AutoZone’s Christmas 2008 promo-
that even though his biggest market is America, he is not too big tion (e.g. 69 piece three tier cantilever tool kit for an insane
to develop tool kits for the South African market; specified by R1399.95) have expired, Aslam says that these types of deals will
AutoZone, and made up specifically for the domestic market. always happen, via monthly and seasonal specials. Go to
This ability to think globally, and act locally, has made AmPro a to sign up for promotion notification, or
highly respected brand and a world leader in tools, with a repu- watch out for the AutoZone leaflets in your local knock ‘n drop
tation for a comprehensive range of innovative products. “This newspapers.
product stands back for nothing and measures up to the top

February 2009 35
Bike News

Crème Bûéll
eter Scott is a motorcycle enthusiast who loves a riding, and he appreciates any-

P thing on two wheels that gets his adrenaline flowing. Peter has been riding bikes
every day for as long as he can remember, but admits that for the past four to
five years it has normally been a Buell, simply because it is “as much fun as you
can have with your leathers on” and as they say at Buell’s headquarters in East Troy,
Wisconsin, “Once you’re into a Buell, you’ll never go back”. As Buell fans are usually
fanatics, don’t take their word for it. Find out for yourself, or ask Harley-Davidson. The
hogmaker also agrees, having bought 49% of the company in 1993, and going the full
hog ten years later and taking 100% of the shares in 2003. The rationale from Harley’s
point of view was to attract a younger demographic, as opposed to the Harley greybeards,
but there is more to it than that. Peter says that Erik Buell, the 58 year old founder and
chairman of Buell Motorcycles, is one of today’s foremost bike designers, if not the fore-
most designer. The reason is simple – Buell puts the rider first, and this is the focal point
Are you a non-conformist?
in design; the bike must be fun to ride, and work functionally. Ask any Buell aficionado
Do you spend a lot of time
and they will tell you that the secret is in the Trilogy of Technology:
on the road? Do you under-
stand technology and appre- 1. Mass centralisation – the heavy
ciate technological design? components are centralised in the core
Most importantly, do you of the bike, creating incredible stabili-
know who you are and have ty. Examples: the fuel is in the frame,
absolutely nothing to the exhaust is underneath the bike.
prove? If you answered yes
to these questions, then you 2. Low unsprung mass – the mantra
owe it to yourself to test at Buell is to keep the weight down
ride the crème de la crème and every gram counts. “I want every
of sport motorcycles, the part to do at least two jobs” says Erik
Buell. Borrowing from Buell. Innovations such as aluminium
Buell’s marketing blurb, pulleys and belt drive contribute to
their bikes look like nothing this weight reduction, creating a bike
ever built before, and feel that can handle bumpy roads, which
like nothing ever ridden makes it relatively unique in the high
before, but you wouldn’t be performance genre.
a true biker if you simply
3. Chassis rigidity – A uniplanar sys-
took their word for it. They
tem (rubber mounted system which
say that you have to experi-
moves the engine in one plane) allows
ence the difference for
for a rigid chassis and no flex in the
yourself and to book a test corners, leading to Buell’s proprietary
ride all you have to do is to slogan, “Own the corners”.
contact Peter Scott at or
082 829 5457, and he will Peter Scott with the Buell XB12X Ulysses.
take care of the rest. If
you’re based in Gauteng, why Buell’s trilogy of technol-
not pop in at Eagle Wind ogy innovations are now
Harley-Davidson at 167 being copied by super
Rivonia Road, Sandton, and bike designers; the high-
Peter will be delighted to est compliment it can
personally show you what receive. More on Crème
you’ve been missing. Bûéll in future issues of

February 2009
Personal profile

Q & A With Henri Meistre


South Africa is full of good motor men and GWM (Great Wall Motors) could not have made a better choice than appointing the expe-
rienced all-rounder, Henri Meistre (43) as the MD of the company at a time when the Chinese Motor Manufacturers are starting to
get a foothold in South Africa, and in fact around the world. Roger McCleery spoke to the man in question, Henri Meistre.

1. What school did you go to? even went national championship rallying world. They have big plans and it all pres-
Northcliff High School. (one of Billy’s loves) and racing to give a ents a great challenge.
Korean Car, Hyundai, wins over Honda 17. Has it been successful?
2. What sports did you play at school?
who were unbeatable class winners at the
Swimming (his favourite), athletics and Very. We are also feeling the effects of the
time. It was a 7 days a week job. We even
rugby. world depression on the auto industry, but
serviced customer cars on Saturday and
are well placed with our prices, improved
3. What did you want to do at school? Sunday. I learned the wholesale and retail
quality and increasing range that is soon to
Be involved with cars and motoring. motor industry from Rautenbach and
include cars as well.
Hyundai. Also met Teresita van Gaalen,
4. What were your favourite cars at the 18. Married?
who was doing the PR for Billy and saw
how to get lots of publicity. To Adele for 11 years. Have two sons –
The cars that were all the rage at the time, Trent and Remy.
11. What else did you do at Hyundai?
thanks to group 1 motor racing at Kyalami
Went to Botswana and ran the retail oper- 19. Do you have time to spend with
were: Alfa Romeo GT5 2.5 & 3.0 V6s and
ation there for 6 months. them?
Ford XR6
12. When was your next move? Yes – we like to go off-roading on motor-
5. What did you do after school?
cycles. I have a Honda CRF 250 and the
Studied for B.Com in Industrial In 1994 I opened and ran the successful
boys each have a Honda 80.
Psychology Randburg branch of Hyundai (opposite
M-Net). We had 21 sales people. We used 20. Still want to achieve what?
6. After getting your degree?
to sell 200 cars on average per month and To continue to get GWM expanding with
Went overseas to a ski resort in Austria, as averaged 185 p.m. for the year. great customer service and even better
resort manager and learned to talk value for money.
13. And then?
Was made the marketing manager for 21. You are still young but what would
7. Did you meet interesting people at the you like to do when you retire?
Hyundai for South Africa and also ran the
ski resort?
motor sport. It was an exciting time. I could never retire completely. I would
Yes. Neville Nightingale, the MD of like to travel more. Adele is another one of
14. Another change of employer?
Wesbank and his general manager at the the Springbok shopping captains who likes
time, Ronnie Watson. We also spoke about Yes – I began my own retail company,
the south of Italy and France.
cars and financing of the same. Neville’s Auto Capital Investments, with franchises
locally represented by those two other 22. Greatest influence in your life?
wife had a personnel agency and she spoke
me into coming back to RSA to work for dyed-in-the-wool motor men, Manny da My dad – the world’s greatest gentleman.
Wesbank. Canha and Ray Levine, who were the main Billy Rautenbach was a visionary and big
movers. They specialised in retail motor thinker in the motor industry with lots of
8. First real job?
dealers. We had all the brands in the line- energy. All recipes for success.
Senior business development officer at up. Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Daihatsu,
Wesbank city branch. Worked there for a Daewoo and Citroen.
year and picked up lots of experience but
15. Did you ever think of going overseas
could see I wanted to work in the motor
industry itself. It crossed my mind. I had an offer from a
motor group in Dubai with the Honda,
9. ‘91 changed the direction of your life?
Volvo and Chrysler franchises. But South
Yes. I was made an offer to start selling Africa is where I want to stay.
used cars at Mercurius Motors in
16. 2005 – Change of life once again?
Boksburg. The dealership was bought out
by Imperial Motors. Tony Pinfold, chairman of GWM in
South Africa, approached me to get in on
10. What did you do next?
the ground floor and assist him with his
I was approached by Billy Rautenbach new company as MD. As the biggest man-
who brought Hyundai into South Africa. ufacturer of Chinese tough one-tonners, it
This was one of the best times of my life. looked the way to go, particularly as their
Billy and Hyundai were on fire. We grew quality was good and they were making
the number of dealerships and sales and big inroads into export markets around the

38 February 2009
Diamond Dialogues

Giel Steyn
In this series of articles ABR discusses with Giel Steyn of Grandmark International
the four significant factors that should be taken into account when purchasing auto-
motive parts - Technology, Quality, Safety and Value for Money. These four character-
istics are inter-related, and each cannot stand on their own, and together they become
a motorist's best friend. Similarly, diamonds are also judged on four characteristics, known as the
“four c's” - carat, clarity, colour and cut; and of course, diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Grandmark International, as a distributor of automotive parts, is keenly aware of the need to
source only the best in Technology, Quality, Safety and Value for Money, and therefore it is appro-
priate that this series of articles is titled Diamond Dialogues.

The Anti-Freeze Debate Heats Up

The longstanding confusion around the use of anti-freeze in vehicles’ coolant systems
in South Africa continues to confound Giel Steyn. Despite extensive education cam-
paigns from various sources, and an overwhelming body of knowledge available from
training institutions, the internet and other channels, the misconceptions around the
properties and uses of anti-freeze has Giel shaking his head, and if he was a more
demonstrative person, we would not be surprised to see his blood boiling.

he genesis of Giel’s passion around this uct and its versatility when considering the ing concept. It does not relate to just accident

T subject hinges on the four dynamics of

the diamond dialogues – technology,
quality, safety and value for money. Anti-freeze
four elements of the diamond dialogues:
prevention. It also relates significantly to the
fact that when a car breaks down, the driver
and passengers are in mortal danger of being
is a relatively inexpensive “commodity” which The modern internal combustion engine runs attacked by their fellow citizens. An unfortu-
can be found on the front-of-store shelves of all at far higher temperatures than its predeces- nate situation, but it cannot just be wished
automotive parts retailers, and even on the sors, with a variety of metals and materials away. Therefore it is incumbent on the car’s
shelves of general merchandise stores, and yet it exposed to this intense heat. Iron, steel, alu- owner to ensure that the car is fully roadwor-
plays an important and integral part in the minium, brass, plastics, rubber, etc. are also thy, and that the engine will not grind to a
protection and good maintenance of a vehicle’s vulnerable to corrosion, so they need all the halt on some lonely stretch of road simply
cooling system, and taking this logic a little help they can get. Thus it is imperative that because of the use of some cheap and nasty
further and taking the bigger picture into the vehicle’s cooling system not only plays a anti-freeze. Life is far more precious than a
account, its role expands to being a protector cooling role, but also an anti-corrosion role, saving of a few Rands.
of engine components. The implications of not and this is where the anti-freeze additive ful-
using this additive properly are huge, and Giel fils its important function. The vital element
Value for Money
attributes the confusion around the properties in anti-freeze is mono-ethylene glycol, and a This brings us to the fourth element of the
and uses of this unheralded preservative to the good coolant will always have at least a 30% diamond dialogues – value for money. Value
use of the word “anti-freeze”. The mere men- glycol content, and not more than 50%. This can only be appreciated when a product does
tion of the term anti-freeze evokes the wrong can be easily measured by a hydrometer, its job, and true value can only be appreciated
perception, as thoughts of Iceland and Alaska which any self-respecting workshop will have when a product truly does its job. This is as
immediately come to mind, whereas anti- readily available. Read more on this on many true for anti-freeze as it is for brake pads as it
freeze is far more than a protection against the sites on the internet – just google it! is for radiators. This is a huge philosophical
water in your radiator freezing up. To be more and existential debate, and we simply do not
semantically correct, in hot and dry conditions Quality have the space to even touch base on the basic
such as South Africa, the term should rather be Confusion also abounds when trying to eval- arguments, so we’ll leave it there, suffice to
“anti-boil”, or the rather more descriptive, but uate the quality of anti-freeze. The colour of repeat “What is the value of your life, com-
oxymoronic at the same time, “anti-freeze and anti-freeze is irrelevant, and yet many “pun- pared to the saving of a few Rands?”
anti-boil”, because a good quality coolant has dits” will base their quality evaluation on the Goedkoop can turn out to be very duurkoop,
both anti-freeze and anti-boil properties. colour. Colour does indicate certain proper- just because you bought some coloured water
Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, ties, such as the addition of fluorescent instead of the genuine article. We end this
Giel believes that a better all-encompassing colours to assist in leak detection, and red article with an acknowledgement to
term would be “anti-seize” as in the long run could indicate the presence of phosphate, Grandmark International. They have gone
this additive both lubricates and prevents cor- which may be helpful, as phosphates and out of their way to provide their customers
rosion of cooling systems, and what is the pri- mono-ethylene glycol are incompatible. But with technologically sound, quality product
mary purpose of a cooling system other than to these are just maybes, and cannot be used as a that meets and exceeds the safety require-
prevent the overheating of the engine and its quality gauge – leave the evaluation to the ments, whilst also providing genuine value for
components? Neglect this function and you tried and tested hydrometer, or to the obvious money. Plexus radiators are a case in point. If
have seizure of said engine! Whatever, we are guide of price. If the price is too good to be you fit Grandmark sourced Plexus radiators,
saddled with anti-freeze, which has stubbornly true, then it is too good to be true anti-freeze. don’t go and spoil the diamond dynamics by
resisted change, and we will have to live with buying below par anti-freeze. Take the trouble
this terminology until hell freezes over. For the Safety to procure the best, to go with the best.
purposes of this article, the best we can do is to It needs repeating. In crime ridden South
reemphasise the all-round nature of the prod- Africa, automotive safety is an all-encompass-

42 February 2009

Capricorn’s Purple
Patch Continues
The Capricorn Society’s Annual Bash continues its unabated growth. The Durban bash
on 22nd November 2008 attracted 350 guests, and on 29th November 2008 the
Gauteng function moved from the upper halls at Emperors Palace and Convention
Centre, down to the more cavernous Centre Court, with over 560 guests partying the
night away after the customary annual update, which once again indicates that the
society continues its stellar growth, even in the challenging times that 2008 had
brought to the automotive industry. The way things are going; don’t be surprised that
in a few years time there will be an annual migration to a large resort such as Sun
City, to accommodate the vast numbers which are surely going to come.

Eight suppliers joined the Million Rand Club: BASF Pretoria;

Barloworld City Jhb; Gearmax; Hatfield Auto; Menlyn Auto; N1 4x4;
Shell SA; Unnic Auto Parts. Some of the winners are seen with
Capricorn’s big hitters: David Fraser, Group Sales and Marketing
The ancillary trade show Manager; Trent Bartlett, CEO; Russell Green, Chairman; Rob
attracted a lot of interest, Mildenhall, Development Manager, RSA.
with a diverse mix of
BR attended the Gauteng function, and judging by the eclec-

exhibitors. Federal-Mogul
Aftermarket, as the key tic mix of stands at the conjoined trade show it is clear that
sponsor of the event, was Capricorn has indeed found the right balance of co-operative
well represented in person- endeavours, with OEMs, franchise dealers, aftermarket man-
nel. By sponsoring the ufacturers and purveyors cheek by jowl and happily interacting with the
wine, Midas ensured that
the conversation flowed. assembled throng. This indicates a new trend in South Africa and it is
clear that the Capricorn Society model truly embodies the co-operative
spirit. The success of this formula comes through in the figures, with
growth now the expected norm, and who would have thought back in
1974 when 12 wise men founded the organisation in Perth, Western
Australia, that in June 2008 the membership would have grown to 12
107 from Auckland to Cape Town. In 2008, laatlammetjie South Africa
predictably led the growth curve, with 25% growth in turnover, closely
followed by New Zealand with 22% growth, and Australia still manag-
ing 15% growth 34 years after the establishment of the society. South
Africa is reeling in its southern neighbours slowly but surely, but it still
has a long way to go before it can take the championship trophy. One
of the challenges facing South Africa is sustainability. In Trent Bartlett’s
keynote address, he alluded to the problem of fiscal discipline, particu-
larly with regard to the timeous payment of accounts. A sustainable
business model for a co-operative depends on at least 95% of the mem-
bers paying on time, and this is being achieved by both Australia and
New Zealand. Unfortunately, South Africa is not emulating its cricket-
ing heroes, and thus the Society has been forced to tighten up its crite-
A purple fantasia at the tables ria for membership, a move that has been welcomed by the South
has become something of a African founder members, who wish to see the errant members step up
tradition. Capricorn once again to the plate in this regard.
did not disappoint.
To join Capricorn Society Limited call Rob Mildenhall on 083 654 2094 or e-mail him at or visit their website on
February 2009
Autoglass Clarification

Keeping Inflation at Bay

2008 was a particularly tough year for South African consumers. Inflation touched
10%, the petrol price went over R13 a litre, food prices soared, credit was difficult
to get, and when you got it, the interest rate made you wish that you hadn’t got it.
Add to this the other frustrations; electricity supply was intermittent, water quality
scares abounded, political uncertainty kept the investors away, the list goes on and
on. The good news is that we survived, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, but we
survived. More good news is that we enter the new year with a petrol price that is
40% below its 2008 peak, and the expectation that food prices are going to come
down, and inflation, if not tamed, will come back to the targeted three to six percent
range by the end of 2009. The interest rate cycle has entered a downward phase, so
all in all, it’s looking far better than a mere three months ago, so let’s hold thumbs.
To avoid putting the mockers on all this, we won’t mention Eskom.

hat can we, as consumers, learn companies, amongst others. ABR has done

W from these experiences? Firstly,

that excess breeds wastefulness,
and that what goes round
comes round. Secondly, that if we tighten our
belts during the bad times, then what is stop-
some research on this, and unlike other safe-
ty critical items such as brake pads, it appears
that there is good control on windscreens and
that very little “bad” product is getting into
the country. Excuse the pun, but it does seem
ping us continuing this good habit during the that the industry is transparent and clear,
good times. If we do this, then we won’t have with no cracks or chips in its facade. Credit
the big ups and downs that we have recently for this must go to the regulatory authorities
experienced. Thirdly, if we keep looking for and the industry itself.
value for money, it is good for the consumer
and good for the country in the long term, A shining example of quality, conformity and
since this will keep inflation at bay. Take value for money is Commercial Auto Glass
motoring costs, for example. One needs only to (CAG), which opened the doors of its first
Gilo da Silva
look at the AA mileage rates to realise how Managing Director, Commercial branch in Selby, Johannesburg in 1999, and
much it costs to keep a vehicle on the road, well Auto Glass which has since expanded to a further 10
maintained and in roadworthy condition. It is branches in southern Africa. CAG is now
an extremely expensive exercise, so it makes recognised as a reliable and preferred supplier
sense to always compare prices whenever you need a car part, to of automotive glass to the transport industry, and it also provides
ensure that you’re not being ripped off twice. The big dilemma, a service to the insurance market, which allows for versatility in
of course, is always “Am I not being sold a pig in the poke?” when maintaining continuity within the glass industry, with the supply
confronted with a very good deal. The other problem is that of a specific range of products that meet with OEM standards
when comparing prices, one can never be sure from a product and criteria laid down by the Motor Manufacturers and
perspective whether you’re comparing apples with apples. A good Insurance Committee. In addition, glass supplied by CAG meets
rule of thumb is to always ensure that you’re buying a well known with the internationally recognised ISO9001, ISO9002,
brand that has been around for quite some time; then to compare ISO9003 and QSV9000 standards, and carry the “E” mark
prices on equivalent brands makes it pretty safe. (European Specification) and the “DOT” mark (American
Specification). Domestically, CAG has gone the extra mile, with
The question is, does buying a low priced automotive part tame the assurance that all glass supplied is shatterproof, laminated,
inflation? Considering the aforesaid, highly unlikely. The recent and high resistant as certified by the SABS. In addition, CAG
influx of cheap imported product has placed a stain on anything also offers safe and secure SABS approved fitment centres with
coming in from the Far East, and in many cases this reputation comfortable waiting rooms for the customers’ convenience. As an
is well deserved, which is unfortunate, as you do get good quali- added bonus, if you are not in a position to visit these fitment
ty product coming in from the East, and at good prices. The centres, CAG will come to you!
secret is to know what is good and what is bad. With some prod-
uct, it is practically impossible for the consumer to know, as he Now for the best part. CAG has extremely competitive prices,
or she does not possess the equipment or knowledge to evaluate which begs the question why locally sourced glass is so much
the product. But there are products where you can feel very more expensive. This is a classic example of global trade been
secure in your purchase. Automotive glass is a very good exam- very, very good. Who says that you can’t lick inflation? More
ple. Being a safety critical item, and a highly visible product, power to CAG’s elbow, and may we see many other examples of
imported windscreens and side glass are subjected to intense high quality product at realistic prices in the future.
scrutiny by various bodies – the SABS, the NRCS, and insurance

46 February 2009
Current Affairs

A Perfectly Frank View

Francesco (Frank) Rovelli senior has been involved with Delco-Remy in one way or anoth-
er for 59 years, from Saudi Arabia to South Africa, and from the mining industry to the
automotive industry. His Delco-Remy roots has meant a close association with General
Motors, representing them in Delco-Remy product over these past six decades. Frank emi-
grated to South Africa in 1956, and founded Probe Corporation SA in 1963. Probe
opened its doors in 22 Jeppe Street, Johannesburg, handling GM’s electrical warranty
and technical back-up for Southern Africa, and now some 46 years later, it offers the
complete power package from its corporate headquarters in Meadowdale, Germiston (go
to for more information). Now executive Chairman of Probe
Corporation, Frank remains active in the business, but is spending more and more time in
passing on his vast practical knowledge of all things electrical. ABR is privileged to be
part of this imparting of knowledge, with a series of articles gleaned from interviews with
Frank Rovelli, appropriately under the title “A Perfectly Frank View on Current Affairs”

Article One: Battery Charging Equipment - Know the Consequences

t would not be an overstatement to say that batteries power

the economy and ensure that the wheels of the nation keep
turning. From mining, to industrial, to transport, to any-
thing that moves or needs to be moved, batteries are inte-
gral to the process. The world goes about its business hard-
ly noticing these unsung workhorses, but when these bat-
teries fail, or underperform, great inconvenience and unnecessary
downtime costs are almost always experienced, as the consequences
of lack of or inadequate battery power can be quite serious. The qual-
ity of the battery is very important, but even more importantly; it is
the quality of recharging that everyone should keep in mind, to
ensure optimum performance of the battery and the associated elec-
trical system over the long term. Frank Rovelli senior says that the
charging process is the most important function to ensure maximum
life expectancy and optimum battery performance, and that this
Frank Rovelli, Chairman of Probe Corporation
should be the focus of everyone, from the manager to workshop per-
sonnel to the individual motorist. The charging process has evolved
over the years from simple D.C. generators to the modern advanced This is what a real charger looks
alternator to stationary battery chargers, but the guiding principle like.
stays the same – a quality battery is only as good as the quality and
reliability of the charger, be it an alternator on a vehicle or a station-
ary unit in a workshop/garage or industrial/mining installation. This can I go wrong?” or “What a
essential technical requirement governs many things; the efficiency of deal!!!”must be the thoughts going
the battery, the life expectancy of the battery, the performance of the though their minds, particularly
battery itself and consequently that of whatever equipment the bat- when they compare this price to
tery is powering is driving, and ultimately, it has a significant effect that many times higher for a top of
across a wide spectrum of the economy, from the profitability aspect the range heavy duty equivalent,
of any business to unnecessary down time and inefficiency of operat- which can last for many years
ing equipment/vehicle to the inconvenience for and personal safety under continuous onerous opera-
of the lone motorist. It is from this perspective that Frank Rovelli tion. As Frank puts it, they can go
laments the fact that there are so many poor quality cheap chargers very, very wrong. Frank says that it
available on the South African market, which are generally ineffec- is difficult to explain to the gener-
tive, inadequate for the purpose and not suitable for the effective al public in a short article the technicalities involved in battery charg-
charging of modern high quality and high performance batteries. ing, but for starters he will just ask you to ponder the difference
between a charger weighing half a kilogram and a charger weighing
In the current economic crisis, people and companies are under 50 kg, with a corresponding price variance. It is akin to comparing a
financial pressure and they’re looking for cost savings in every nook scooter with a Harley-Davidson! And forget about the weight com-
and cranny. Therefore it is no wonder that they are attracted to parison or the price comparison, what should really be exercising
advertisements offering battery chargers from R299. These ads your mind is the consequences to your business or to the efficient
promise many undefined benefits and features, such as “light performance of your vehicles and/or equipment. We shall explore
weight” to “multi-function” and “micro processors”, and to the unin- these aspects further in the follow up article of “Know the
formed and uninitiated, this must sound like financial heaven. “How Consequences”

48 February 2009
Tyres and Their
Contribution to Safety
by Marcus Haw
in Motoring
Road safety is an extremely important subject, to me, and to Bridgestone, who take it so
seriously they have tasked me to make people aware of the safety side of the tyres we
drive on. Unfortunately, road safety is not taken seriously by enough road users, or the
authorities. And tyre safety is apparently barely even considered by most people.
Company cars constitute a large percentage of the family vehicles on our roads over the
festive and other holiday seasons. Their drivers are part of the road users mentioned
above. While they must take responsibility for the vehicles they are entrusted with,
experience has shown that few ever do. Since these are company assets, it is often the
unfortunate lot of the fleet controller who has the fleet care within his/her portfolio,
to keep the drivers aware of their responsibilities.

So to keep our focus, we are going to explain what should be done with the tyres on your
fleet’s cars after long holiday trips, so you can keep your staff ‘tyre safety’ aware.

et’s start by giving you an example of what happened to The point of the story is that ”stuff ” happens on the roads no

L me during the holiday period. Not liking crowds, we

had taken leave in November so stayed in Gauteng over
December and on the 16th, we decided to do a day
trip. Leaving early due to the distance, we encountered about
seven different weather patterns on the way. During one section,
matter how careful one is. “Stuff ” happens to tyres, and the
results don’t always show immediately. Company car drivers don’t
always report ‘stuff ’ immediately either. Especially, something as
‘trivial’ in their minds as hitting a pothole and thus they need to
be made aware of the potential consequences of such a “trivial
there was heavy rain and with the wet roads, potholes became occurrence”.
indiscernible. Only travelling at about 70 km/h due to the poor
visibility, I hit a BIG pothole square on with my left front wheel. What happens to them on the roads at best can lead to simple
At the following service station I stopped and checked the wheel roadside breakdowns and the accompanying irritation. But what
and tyre for damage. None was visible so we carried on staying happens to them on the roads can also lead to serious damage,
aware that damage may still have occurred, and could show up at resulting in later breakages and possible tragedy. It is highly
a later stage. advisable for fleet controllers to set up procedures which their
vehicle drivers need to follow, and report on. Although proce-
dures can be ignored they do have two positive aspects: one being
they make drivers aware of factors not thought of before, and two
they cover the company for any eventualities. You can’t make the
horse drink, but one should take the responsibility of providing
the water. Drivers should be made aware of making notes of
possible damage, such as hitting potholes, and keep checking the
tyres for indications of damage and/or possible failure. If the
cause of their concern is severe, they should move the tyre
involved to a safer position. In my case, because I am familiar
with what indications to look for, and carried out the inspection
myself, I am content to keep the tyre in service (and it is a tough
Bridgestone D694….). If I was uncertain, it would be on my
spare by now although I will still keep an eye on it. And this is
what any driver of company cars, as well as private ones, should
do. Keep an eye on them. If unsure, they should consult profes-
I have since taken the wheel off, stripped the tyre and checked it sionals. But even then, they should watch them as damage can
inside and out. I found no damage, but I have moved the tyre manifest six months or more after being inflicted. On the very
and rim to the left rear, and check it weekly. Why do this? And odd occasion, the manifestation can come about as sudden
how does hitting a pothole affect the safety of all of you out failure. So one’s biggest danger is complacency. Remember what
there? we have said before about tyres being multi-component products.

50 February 2009
After a road hazard, no matter how apparently trivial, This has in the past brought about the situation where company
potentially fatal damage can take place between any of these buyers have resorted to buying cheap and unsuitable products,
components, and these too can be terminally damaged. And, effectively in some cases endangering staff, and certainly taking
as explained, this may only show up much later when least an extremely short term view on cost saving.
expected. Tyre safety cannot be taken seriously enough, and long
holiday trips in company cars are most often the times when the It is possible to achieve huge savings in tyre costs purely by
tyres are least thought of, and mistreated. educating the company drivers on tyre maintenance and care,
but in most cases, it is necessary to put procedures in
Safety should always be the number one aspect, place which must include inspections and report
prioritised above all else. However, from a backs. This also assists in creating histories
fleet owner/manager’s perspective, there is about which tyres have worked well in the
another extremely important factor to con- fleet, and have been most cost efficient
sider; tyre costs. If 2008 taught us nothing on which vehicles. This is the first step to
else, it certainly taught us that global being in control of a fleet’s tyres, and there-
economies can hit bad roads and have their fore also the tyre costs. And safety will be
own “blowouts”. While not wanting to sound significantly improved as well, again improving
like one of the many “doomsday prophets”, a overall cost as well.
positive attitude should be taken by ‘fighting back’, and
for fleet controller/manager/owner, tyres are one of the most In future issues, we will provide more cost cutting hints in fleet
manageable ways of fighting back. Tyres constitute one of the tyre use. We look forward to talking to you in the next issue.
three highest costs in the running of a fleet. While they are far
from overpriced for the technology involved, and the service they
provide, they represent a significant annual outlay for any fleet.

February 2009
Topclass editorial

Top Class Topics

Top Class Automotive, situat- Mr. Bearing to the aficionados of the automotive aftermarket,
ed at 5 Skietlood Street, Isando will be watching from his office, fully aware of the importance of
Ext.3, Kempton Park, is a bearings, and happy in the knowledge that in all likelihood those
stone’s throw away from the bearings have been supplied by him. The symbolism of being so
Rhodesfield train station, and close to the Gautrain will not be lost on Richard, as he knows
even closer to where the that the world runs on bearings, and that a large proportion of
Gautrain starts to wend its the vehicles on South Africa’s roads are running on bearings sup-
final few hundred metres into plied by Top Class Automotive, a leading supplier of top quality
its docking position at OR automotive brands to the automotive aftermarket. Top Class
Tambo International Airport, brands include Timken (automotive); NOS (nitrous oxide sys-
having completed its journey tems); SNR (automotive, industrial, aerospace bearings); FTE
from Sandton Station in well (hydraulic brake and clutch systems, ABS solutions); Permatex
under 20 minutes. The passen- (adhesive and sealing solutions) and DieselGuard (diesel theft
gers disembarking from the protection). In this series of articles, Top Class Automotive gives
Gautrain will be unaware of the vital role that bearings have ABR readers advice and technical tips on the product that it
played in them getting so speedily and safely to the airport, but supplies to the industry. First up is the FTE Dictionary of
Richard Pinard, the CEO of Top Class Automotive, known as Experts’ Tricks:


What do you do when the seals have swollen?

The Problem

The seals have swollen due to con-

tamination. The seal ring exceeds
the outer diameter of the piston
causing higher friction and pedal
effort. The functionality is
impaired and the fluid return valve
is not working properly.

I The fluid filling container hose and hoses must be replaced.

has been sprayed with oil or Dentured alcohol must only be
lubricant used to clean the metal parts of the
I The container used for air system residue free. Never use
bleeding was contaminated petrol or diesel. Concentric slave
with mineral oil cylinders, plastic cylinders and
master cylinders which cannot be
Contamination of brake fluid Solution disassembled must be replaced
systems with mineral oil or other completely. If the clutch hydraulic
The clutch and brake system is
mediums which cause rubber parts only allowed to be filled with system is filled or supplied from
to swell. brake fluid that meets specs for the same reservoir as the brake sys-
I The fluid filling container has SAE-J1703 or DOT 3, DOT 4, tem, which is common, then the
been cleaned using brake DOT 4LV or DOT 5.1. entire brake system has to be treat-
caliper cleaner or petrol Contaminated rubber, plastic parts ed accordingly.

52 February 2009
Environmentally Speaking

Caring for the

First National Battery’s sign off line is
“Through Caring We Lead”. An easily under-
standable motto, but for those with a fascina-
tion and passion for words, like ABR whose
slogan is “Words in Action”, “through caring
we lead” can take on a new dimension when
considering the environment. First National
Battery cares and FNB recycles lead – get it?
ABR salutes this commitment to the environ-
ment, and in this article we borrow from FNB’s
pamphlet on lead recycling.

ecycling has become an extremely important consider- FNB says that some of the major benefits of having their own

R ation in modern business not only from the recovery

aspect of valuable materials but also from an ecological
and environmental protection aspect. Trends overseas
are moving towards motor companies developing recyclable
motor vehicles. In Michigan USA a laboratory known as the
smelter include:

Active contribution to positive ecological benefits
More control over quality
Continuity of supply
Vehicle Recycling Development Centre aims to teach automotive • Relatively high recovery rate of lead from scrap
companies how to better design cars for easier dismantling by
• Able to reprocess dross and filtered materials
allowing easier access to key parts for future removal. The new
trend is to “design for disassembly”. The goal is to close the pro- • Conservation of natural resources
duction loop to conceive, develop and build a product with a All these factors are well and good but the lead industry more
long-term view of how its components can be refurbished and than any other has been subject to adverse publicity regarding
reused or disposed of safely. This situation gives use to the need environmental problems and legislative pressures to solve them.
and concept of recycling. Anti-pollution controls have been implemented sometimes at
very high cost. Several sets of legislation are in force including the
The local battery industry has understood this for many years,
Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, the Occupational Safety
and as such are environmentally responsible, ensuring that so-
and Health Act and the Water Act. Further, as the manufacture
called scrap batteries are recycled, and thus displaying a social
of batteries involves lead companies such as FNB are required to
investment in the future of sound ecological management. The
be registered in terms of the manufacturing process and have to
procedure is for all scrap batteries to be retrieved on a one on one
hold all the necessary permits. First National Battery’s investment
basis at the point of sale, and for these scrap batteries to be
in a smelter has therefore blended well with their commitment to
returned to First National Battery. The batteries are then recycled
the recycling of batteries. This is only a part of their long-term
at the First National Battery factory, in their advanced Smelter
capital expansion programme which, to date, has seen an
Division, whereby the materials are recycled for use in the man-
improvement in production control product quality and
ufacturing of new batteries. Scrap batteries are processed to the
increased production capabilities. Further investments are
point where the polypropylene components are returned for
planned for the next few years which will enable FNB to position
cleaning, granulating and eventual reprocessing. The scrap lead
itself to take advantage of the current downturn in the South
plates, terminals are stockpiled for refining. All electrolyte, which
African economy.
by the time the battery is scrapped has a low relative density, is
collected and neutralised before being processed in First National So there you have it. When it comes to battery recycling, South
Battery’s effluent plant. The precipitate is disposed of into a Africa takes a back seat to no one. A “pluimpie” to First National
licensed municipal waste system. Battery. Al Gore would be proud of you.

54 February 2009
Wilde Things

A New Era for Africa?

by Fingal Wilde
Here is an interesting titbit. My spell check on my steam driven personal comput-
er does not accept the word “Obama”. It suggests that I use “Osama”. Intriguing.
What does this mean? Before the conspiracy brigade gets up a full head of steam,
mimicking my pc, let me head them off at the pass with my take on this word
imbroglio. Firstly, it means that my software is rather dated. When the Microsoft
office suite (2003 version) was unleashed on its monopolistic created servants,
Barack Hussein Obama may have progressed from a twinkle in his father’s Kenyan
eye to something a little more substantial in Michigan, but from a world perspective he was definite-
ly not on anyone’s radar. In 2003, it was that bearded fellow with a fixation on tall buildings, hid-
ing in the hills of Afghanistan, who was dominating the American psyche, and so it was no surprise
that he had made it onto Mr. Gates’ binary inspired bounty. Secondly, and the irony is enormous; a
new man with an unknown but suggestive name has come out of nowhere, and is promising to revolu-
tionise America and the world. Those prescient guys from the Cape of Good Hope got it right in the
mid nineteenth century when they prophesised with great joy, “Daar Kom Die Ali Bama”.

hat are the bigger implications? The world is has feet of clay. This shallow excuse for a leader will have to look

W abuzz about this mixed race wunderkind, a most

unlikely revolutionary. A genetic coupling of
Africa and America, an environmental product of
Hawaii and Indonesia, a solitary son of a single mother and an
absentee father, nurtured by doting grandparents, has beaten the
into the mirror, and will see an accusatory reflection. Why can he
not behave like his brother? A brother who preaches true democ-
racy. A brother who preaches fiscal conservatism. A brother who
preaches a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and a “can do”
attitude. A brother who cares for his people. A brother who con-
odds, turning both nature and nurture on their respective heads. demns pork barrel politics. A brother who eschews blue light cav-
Intriguing, fascinating, phenomenal are adjectives that do not do alcades. A brother who is educated, erudite, hard working, the
justice to this phenomenon. A true audacity of hope. Many very antithesis of the standard African leader. A brother who
books, articles, theses, keynote addresses, and much parlour talk would be appalled at the antics of the vast majority of African
and water cooler banter are to be generated by this one man leaders. Closer to home, I am delighting in the images of what
band. I am also in the loop, but with a slight difference. My ques- must be going through the mind of demagogues like Mugabe
tion is, WATBI? The answer is mouth watering. From an and Zuma, as they observe someone who inspires rather than
American perspective, the implications are enormous. A new era incites, someone who is suave and elegant rather than unpolished
has begun. Ideology and realpolitik are being swept under the and crude , and who preaches hope rather than hate. What is this
carpet and the potential is big for dramatic shifts and the parsing man doing? How can we measure ourselves against someone who
of partisan politics. I do not intend to spend much time on this, does not have a whiff of corruption tainting his slender frame,
as many commentators are going to feast on this tantalising someone who preaches accountability, and someone who seems
morsel, ad nauseam. From a global perspective, the implications to be quite happy in his monogamous life? What is this man
are even bigger. They go from enormous to gezoodlich (I invent- doing? Does he have no respect for the African culture? Does he
ed this word because there is nothing in the English language not have a Malaysian bank account? A man who oozes integrity,
that comes close to describing what could unfold in the next few humility, style and class. How un African can you get? Even
years). Think about it. East vs. West, cold war vs. hot war, devel- worse, a man who assembles a world class support team, a man
oped world vs. developing world, first world vs. third world, who picks people cut from a similar cloth, people who will get
Middle East politics, the axis of evil, and “bad” states like Cuba, things done, people who will not feather their own nests. Why
Iran, China, Russia, North Korea will all be painted in a new could he not just pick a few self serving sycophants like Matonga,
techno colour twilight zone Matisse canvas; not in a weird sense, Malema, van Schalkwyk, Niehaus, Duarte, et al, who are happy
but rather in a dramatic shift sort of way. This will also suffice, as to ride our gravy stained coattails? Who pushed the shithouse
if and when these new scenarios develop and blossom, a into the river? Oh why oh why can’t we get Bush back?
gezoodlich number of commentators will feast on this carcass.
Now for my fervent wish. I do have a dream. Africa is ripe and
My focus, and what I would like to spend a little time on, is ready, and panting feverishly for change. My wish is for a new
WATBI for Africa? Suddenly, the big white bogeyman of the west generation of Obama like African leaders. Change that we can
is half African. Finger pointing will no longer suffice. Uncle Tom believe in. We are entitled to have the audacity of hope. Yes, we
has moved from the outhouse to the White House. Suddenly, the can. Yes, the African voter can do it; the African voter can bring
dictator, the one party man, the liberator, the election rigger, the hope. Yes, the African voter can fulfil my dream. Yes, they can. In
youth leader, the slogan spouting nonentity, the rabble rousing the words of Eddie Grant, “Give us hope, Obama, and give us
womaniser, the 4x4 revolutionary of the people, will find that he coping mechanisms, Obama”

56 February 2009
Filter facts

It’s Not the Aircon!

I drive a 2006 sedan that is a very good car. I am extremely happy with
this vehicle, but there is one small matter that is actually a big matter,
and it is driving me crazy, and I have a fight with the dealership every
time I visit for a service. It is the poor performance of the air condition-
er. And yet, there is nothing wrong with the air conditioner! Huh, you
may ask?
he culprit for poor air conditioner The media is often white and is generally fully synthetic. There are

T performance is in many cases a dirty

Pollen Filter (Cabin Air). Now a
standard fitment in most vehicles
above the R150 000 mark, the Pollen Filter is
an integral part of the system that cools and
two main filter types. The one filters only particles such as pollen,
dust and soot; the other more costly option actually absorbs some of
the noxious gases and odours through the addition of an activated
carbon layer. The latter tends to be heavier and the black activated
carbon is visible. G.U.D. has a licence agreement with Filterwerk
cleans the interior of a car, and yet it gets scant
Mann+Hummel of Germany, who are one of the largest filter com-
attention when a car is serviced. Most vehicle
maintenance plans only allow for the Pollen panies in the world. They are internationally recognised for their
Filter to be replaced every 45 000km (and I quality and pioneering R&D work into new automotive filtration,
doubt whether even this is happening), where- especially Cabin Air Filters. Good Pollen Filters start removing par-
as in South African conditions, even 15 000km ticles down to 0,1 micron and reach close to 100% efficiency as par-
is too long a period, as the performance of the aircon starts dropping 10 ticles get to 3 micron and above in diameter. As can be seen from the
000 km after replacement. For the comfort and safety of the driver and chart, an average human hair is 50 micron in diameter or seven times
passengers, you should insist that the Pollen Filter is replaced at every larger than the absolute efficiency of most Pollen Filters. One draw-
service interval. I have filched the following piece from the technical back with these filters is associated with their relatively short life in
section of G.U.D.’s webpage (, which clearly enunciates areas of high dust concentration. Engine air filters begin to restrict
the reasons for Pollen Filters and the technical aspects:
airflow into an engine at about 500mm of water (50 mbar). The
“Increasing car populations and congested roads guarantee we spend
poor power of the fans ventilating the interior of the vehicle means
longer in our vehicles, in areas with high exhaust gas outputs.
that Pollen Filters begin to be restrictive at ± 40mm of water (4
Exhaust gases contain vast quantities of "soot" and other gases,
mbar). Field tests suggest filters at that point have between 10 and
including some toxic nitrogen oxides, generally referred to as NOx.
30 grams of contamination on them. Indications that the filter is
Everyone is aware of the decreasing air quality brought about by
beginning to block is clearly evident by:-
industrial pollution, pollen and much other atmospheric dust. All of 1. The air-conditioner appears to be becoming less effective.
these are visibly noticeable and end up as a dirty layer on the exteri- 2. One requires a higher fan speed to feel air flow movement from
or of the vehicle. More importantly, it is also on the interior of the the vents.
vehicle, unless a Pollen Filter is fitted. Pollen Filters are becoming 3. The interior of the windows can "fog up" easier.
ever more popular due to the above. They filter all incoming air and 4. Odour detection (if you have used an activated carbon filter). This
the air being circulated by the air-conditioning system. Most of them is either due to no more life or a build-up of odour producing bac-
are oblong and look similar to a Pocket or Panel Air engine filter and teria on the filter. If any of the above happens, it means it is time to
typically use pleated media for the extra surface area it gives. change the Pollen Filter element and so retain the high air quality in
the vehicle. Should you choose a 'particle'
filter only, or the more expensive one with
the added activated carbon layer? The lat-
ter is definitely appropriate for dense traf-
fic conditions and perhaps if your partner
is a smoker and you are not! Fitment is not
that difficult once you have actually locat-
ed the darn thing! Pollen Filters are very
often "hidden" under the dashboard.
Once you have been shown and have done
it once, it becomes fairly easy and tools are
often not required. All G.U.D. Pollen
Filters come with an insert detailing the
location of the Pollen Filter in the differ-
ent vehicle types. The G.U.D. catalogue
contains a growing range of Pollen Filters
under the designation 'AC'.

To "Great Engine Protection" we can now

add "Great People Protection"!”

58 February 2009
Industry Comment

The Perfect Storm

The Intercontinental Hotel at O.R. Tambo International Hotel was an appropriate venue
for Brand Pretorius’ annual State of the Nation address on 9th July 2009. Appropriate
in that the South African automotive industry’s fate is massively dependant on an inter-
national economic recovery, across all the continents. With American having a fit of
sneezing, the rest of the world is feeling the gusts, and the crux of the matter is that
the quicker America recovers, the quicker everyone else recovers. Hence, an appropriate
theme song for this presentation could be “Give Us Hope Obama”
rand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Limited, whilst a partial recovery during the second half of 2009, and even more

B relatively sombre in his assessment of the situation, is

actually on the positive side when predicting a new
vehicle market of 483 000 unit in 2009. To describe a
prediction of a 9,4% drop in sales against 2008, a calamitous year
by most yardsticks, as optimistic may be construed as hyperbol-
hopefully, for a more sustained recovery in 2010. These positive
factors include:
• The inflation and interest rate cycle has turned, with expec-
tations of 7% and 12,5% respectively by year end
• The reduction in the fuel price, which will boost disposable
ic, but as Brand puts it, he is “almost a lone voice” in his fore-
income by anything from R3 billion to R4 billion per month
casts, as the general consensus is more towards a decline of 15%
• Salary and wage increases in excess of inflation, specifically in
and more.
the public sector
• Significantly higher government expenditure on infrastruc-
What has brought us to this pass? The villain of the peace is
tural projects
2008, the last six months of which Brand Pretorius describes as
• Positive influences from the Confederation Cup and the
“the perfect storm, both worldwide and local, and as we enter
Lions Tour in 2009
2009, we are still in the eye of this storm”. An economic and
• The World Cup in 2010
financial crisis, similar in magnitude to 1929; a crude oil price
• Aggressive marketing by the OEMs
peaking at US$147 to the barrel; and unprecedented turmoil and
• The recovery of the used vehicle market
velocity characterises the international stage in 2008. The local
• An increase in car rental demand
“lowlights” added to the gloom:
Negatives still abound, but let us not dwell on these. Rather look
• Rolling electricity blackouts in early 2008
at the key challenges facing the local industry:
• Xenophobic attacks breaking out in May 2008
• Messy political environment • Planning for an uncertain future
• Inflation peaking at 13,5% • Viability of the parent companies
• Prime lending rate at an eye watering 15% • A changing regulatory environment
• Rapid currency depreciation in the last quarter of 2008 • Protecting export volumes
• A 26% drop in the JSE All Share Index • New vehicle affordability
• A precipitous drop in business and consumer confidence • Capacity utilisation
• GDP growth at a virtual standstill in the second half of 2008 • Demanding labour unions
• Customer expectations
No wonder the propensity to buy cars has dropped through the
floor! Whilst 2008, in terms of unit sales is still significantly The consequences of these challenges is that the industry is now
above the unit sales at the beginning of this century, the problem in the most competitive environment ever, it faces viability pres-
lies in the industry’s significant investment for the expected bull sure and with business models now under intense scrutiny, con-
run of sales, in fixed investment, training, etc. This is a big ship solidation and rationalisation cannot be far away.
that just cannot be turned around in a couple of months, so the
industry is living in the real world of reducing sales and reducing
margins, and having to urgently reassess their business models,
and taking some hard decisions, which unfortunately includes
retrenchments – just like the previous dips in 84/85 (a Rubicon
induced 24,0%), 75/76 (Soweto riots bringing down sales by
19,2%), and 60/61 (Sharpeville creating a sharp drop of 22,9%).
07/08’s 24,3% is a record decline, so the decisions are just a lit-
tle bit harder. As Brand puts it so evocatively, “Every day I have
to deal with the real world consequences, many tragic. McCarthy
is a family, and we strive to protect the livelihoods of our people,
so the decisions we take are not taken lightly, nor without deep
reflection and humility.”

These sombre moments were lightened somewhat by the positive

factors that Brand highlighted and which could pave the way for

60 February 2009
Watch This Space
The South African automotive aftermarket, despite many
reports to the contrary, is alive and well, and is being driv-
en by an increasing number of niche operators, specialising in
their areas of expertise, and playing an invaluable and inte-
gral part in a supply chain which plays an indispensable role
in South Africa’s economy. One of these forward looking
Prakash Bhagwan,
individuals is Prakash Bhagwan, director of Euroquip, whose
director of Euroquip
motto in business is “Watch This Space”
uroquip currently specialises in Hella, Valeo and OCAP and the Flatblades vertebrae are not painted and do not undergo

E product, playing a significant importing, distribution

and wholesaling role for the automotive aftermarket,
and even supplying product and expertise to the mili-
tary, in the form of electronics, specialised lights and switches.
Prakash is constantly looking for new products to add to his port-
any chemical surface treatment. Silencio X.TRM offers the
following technical features:

High wipe quality through constant pressure along the blade.
Anti-lift spoiler system integrated into the rubber profile.
folio, and one of his recent successes has been the introduction of • Innovative design style and differentiation in line with
automotive cable, which is literally flying off his shelves. Situated vehicle aesthetics.
at 174 Panorama Road, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion, Euroquip is • No metal super-structure.
making its mark as a supplier of quality product and quality serv-
ice. Sourcing globally, Euroquip guarantees its product quality, • Reduced number of components: around 9 reusable compo-
with a promise of right product, delivered to the right place, on nents compared to 24 for a traditional wiper blade.
time and at the right price. As Prakash puts it, “it’s part of Silencio X.TRM offers the following benefits:
Euroquip’s culture, nothing more, nothing less.” OCAP, a grow- • High speed performance >200 km/h.
ing company on the world stage, and Hella and Valeo, two glob-
al giants who need no introduction, could not have chosen a • Reduced aerodynamic noise -3db compared to a standard
more passionate partner, as Euroquip illuminates the South blade (at 150 km/h).
African automotive scene with its commitment to its customers, • Weight reduction.
and by default this enthusiasm translates into higher sales for the • Improved winter resistance.
manufacturers. • Minimal obstruction of the driver's field of vision.

An example of the innovative product sourced by Euroquip is the • Simple and fast to change with a single lock/unlock click.
range of Valeo Silencio X·TRM Aftermarket wiper blades. With In addition, each Silencio X.TRM Aftermarket FlatBlade is
flatblades the new standard at OE, Valeo have introduced a solu- equipped with a wear indicator allowing easy identification of
tion for popular vehicles fitted with conventional wiper blades. when the blade needs replacing. The Silencio X.TRM
Silencio X·TRM is a new generation of more efficient, highly Aftermarket range is available to upgrade conventional wiper
reliable wipers that offer unsurpassed aerodynamic and acoustic blades on a number of popular vehicle applications including the
properties. The absence of a metal superstructure avoids freeze, Ford Focus, Audi A4, Peugeot 307, Opel Astra Mk 4, VW Golf
reduces potential noise and vibrations, gliding over the wind- Mk 3 & 4, and VW Polo Mk 4.
shield so as not to generate the turbulence found in standard
wiper blades. In addition, the industrial technology used in the For more information on Euroquip, visit
manufacture of Valeo’s Silencio X·TRM Flatblades recognises and stand a chance to win a Valeo Automatic Lighting system,
environmental protection guidelines – the main materials in the valued at R1 000.00.
wiper blades can be recycled: plastic, stainless steel and rubber;

Loctite® and Porsche Motorsport: Winning together

As high-tech and innovative brands, both Loctite® and Porsche enjoy a fine reputation and are synonymous with reliabili-
ty and high achievement. Together, they have set themselves the goal of expanding the application of cutting-edge technol-
ogy in auto racing, developing innovative and sustainable solutions. The Loctite® brand will be present at each Porsche
Supercup race as an Official Partner during the 2009 season, both in and out of the limelight. The Loctite® logo will be dis-
played on all vehicles from the first race in Bahrain through to the closing race in Monza. Loctite® adhesive and sealant
products and solutions are put to use in production and servicing in the run-up to the races and play an extremely impor-
tant part. At the end of the day, success depends not only on driving skills and superlative teamwork, but also on technol-
ogy. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup really puts drivers and vehicles through their paces. High-quality products from
Loctite® have to show they can deal with the toughest of challenges, e.g. Threadlockers, especially the new and upgraded
anaerobic products Loctite® 278, Loctite® 243 and Loctite® 270. At the same time, the high-tech Loctite® Gasketing and
Sealing products with their excellent oil and temperature resistance also contribute to the performance of the Porsche 911
GT3. With its 420 hp and a top speed of 310 km/h, this race car is a real power pack.
February 2009
Personal profile

Q & A With Manny de Canha by Roger McCleery


If you drive a fully imported car in this country that wasn’t brought in by a resident motor manufacturer, chances are that 58-year-old Manny de
Canha, CEO of Associated Motor Holdings, (part of the Imperial Group) and one of the most hands-on people in the South African motor industry,
had something to do with bringing it to you.
Roger McCleery spoke to Manny expand their market with the relaxation of import duties. Nissan
about his successful career in the didn’t work out under John Newbury, who had listed Nissan on the
motor industry over the last Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
BORN WHERE? Johannesburg Renault, which we built up into a formidable dealer organisation that
WENT TO SCHOOL? Sir John just kept growing.
Adamson in the South THEN? Daihatsu – I have always liked Daihatsu. Kia – aligned with
SPORTS AT SCHOOL? Rugby Ray Levin Hyundai – bought them out when they were in deep trou-
WHAT SPORTS DO YOU FOLLOW ble after Billy Rautenbach had departed. Now an established force in
TODAY? the South African motor industry. Citroen – came next to fill a spe-
cial niche in the market place. SsangYong – bailed them out when
Rugby and cricket
they hit a wall. Kawasaki Motor Cycles – needed a lifestyle product
and one where people needed cheap easy-to-get-to-work transport on
OTHER SPORTING ACTIVITIES? Like to walk a lot. congested roads. TATA – in 2004 formed a partnership with TATA
WHAT CAREER WERE YOU WANTING TO FOLLOW AT and set up a dealer organisation which are doing well.
SCHOOL? Had no idea. With a strict Portuguese family upbring- All these divisions are separate entities and have their own CEO’s
ing, my parents wanted me to be a banker at the Bank of Lisbon or who are accountable for the day to day operations and their success-
a priest. es in all aspects. We at AMH provide the synergies and the capital.
The motor industry - by total chance. After finishing my National No – we started a finance services company and also set up 6 Ford
Service in 1972 I was at a loose end and I met somebody who said dealerships in Sydney. Plus looking at how to grow Financial Services
“If you are not doing anything, why don’t you come and sell cars for Division and assessing other opportunities which are motor related.
us at a dealer called Imperial in Rosettenville?” So I did.
Married his childhood sweetheart, Scharmain, and has two success-
I never owned a car in my life, but have driven most of them. ful kids – a son and a daughter. (Scharmain says the moment she
WHAT CAR DO YOU DRIVE NOW? Daihatsu Materia and saw Manny, that was the man for her – despite opposition from his
sometimes a Renault Val Satis. family.) Son, Nicholas, has followed his Dad into the motor industry
and is learning the business after qualifying as a medical doctor and
completing an MBA. Daughter, Daniella, is a successful attorney.
After six years, Wills Motors Toyota offered me a partnership in
Sell more and more cars and make people happy with their purchase.
1978. Percy Abelkop (King Percy of Imperial) said “Stay where you
are until I buy out Wills Motors.” Which he did and offered me a ARE YOU THINKING OF RETIRING?
10% stake which I accepted Not soon and still a long way from that.
Just after helping to establish Imperial Car Rental in 1980 and before Madeira.
Imperial listed in 1987 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, I went
to Australia and started working for Automotive Holdings in Perth as
a Used Car Manager. Within a year I had bought 25% of the Total
Auto, which was a multi-franchise business with Daihatsu, Nissan, Earliest will be the middle of 2010. In the next 18 months we will
Subaru and used cars. Then in 1992 was offered a stake in the go through three stages. Banks getting their house in order and
Holding Company which I accepted. collecting what they are owed. Then they will tighten-up on credit
lending and become conservative and eventually they will start to
loosen-up and accept more credit which is what we want.
My mentor and Chairman of Imperial, the late Bill Lynch, who was
one of the great go-ahead motor men in South African history,
offered me an opportunity to come back to South Africa to handle Manny de Canha sits on the Board of Imperial Motor
Nissan franchise’s in Johannesburg. Plus started Associated Motor Holdings. He is the Chairman of Renault. He sits on a
Holdings to import vehicles into South African as I had experienced number of Boards under the Imperial banner.
the Button Plan Rollout in Australia. At that time we had similar tar-
iff barriers. With the advent of democracy imports took off because His PA, Robyn Gilpin, when asked what he was like to work
South Africa became part of the global economy with investments for said “He is one of the best bosses you could ever have.”
flowing back to South Africa and overseas manufacturers looking to

64 February 2009
internet Strategies

The Spider and the Fly

Automotive Business Review identified Webhouse Group as their preferred Internet
consultant, because the Online Solutions team are not just thinkers, but are most
importantly listeners and solution providers.

eing an Internet Development House, they assist cle’s specification, import images, set pricing, as well as have

B clients in developing, and subsequently managing their

Internet Strategies. These strategies encompass con-
sumer facing websites, Internet-based generic business
tools, and Internet-based bespoke business management systems.
The Webhouse Group Mission is to generate valuable business
access to a host of other tools. The release of this new motor deal-
er application will re-invent the online motor market.


returns from every client's website investment. The Webhouse Group’s key area of strength distinguishes them
from contending companies.
The Webhouse Group is passionate about websites and are con-
In terms of Internet Development-
stantly looking for better ways to represent their clients on
the internet. Service is provided through an experienced & com- • Unique approach to supporting clients' Internet Strategies
mitted Management Team offering advice, information and • Our core objective is making your website work for you
support that is needed to develop and maintain leading website • The Webhouse Content Management Engine ensures the
& e-commerce solutions. latest technologies and functionality at an affordable price

The Webhouse Group Value offering is Passionate,

• Clients are able to edit their own websites
Innovative, Online. • Highly skilled and experienced back-end developers
• Global experience in international markets
The Webhouse team makes it their priority to familiarise them- • Scalable, controlled website growth and development capacity
selves with their clients, understanding their business needs and
where they can, help clients optimise their business processes and The Webhouse Group client portfolio includes, Retail Shops,
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Websites are a cost-effective way to reach potential clients and The Mt Edgecombe County Club Estate 2, in Kwa Zulu Natal,
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One of the latest releases by the Webhouse Sales, Development and Support teams work
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assist with marketing and
managing vehicles online. If you would like to be contacted by Webhouse, to provide
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66 February 2009

Partinform Comes of Age

Partinform came of age in November 2008 with the announcement of the formation of
the Automotive Aftermarket Manufacturers Association (AAMA). 23 years after the
Partinform Component Manufacturers Association was conceived in 1986, and in the
words of Paul Williams, who served as chairman of the association from 1994 to
1998, it “was a creation of good comradeship and the mutual sharing of costs for
trade evenings”, Partinform has evolved into something far more significant.
alcolm Perrie, the first chairman of AAMA, is a lit- (Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association) and AASA

M tle blunter. “We have formalised the old boys’ tea

club known as Partinform into a properly consti-
tuted and registered association to be known as
the Automotive Manufacturers Association or AAMA for short.”
ABR recognises this as a logical move, as this brings South
(Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association) join forces to
run the AAPEX show (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo)
at the Sands Convention Centre, whilst down the road at the Las
Vegas Convention Centre, SEMA (Specialty Equipment
Manufacturers Association) unveils the stunning SEMA Show,
Africa’s automotive aftermarket industry into line with interna- encompassing ten specialised councils. All under the banner of
tional trends and practices. One just has to look at the AAIW the all encompassing term “aftermarket” which is both self
(Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week) which is held annual- explanatory and enigmatic at the same time. Who knows, South
ly in Las Vegas, where three aftermarket bodies combine to put Africa may in the not too distant future emulate these shows,
on the world’s greatest automotive extravaganza. The AAIA now that Partinform has come of age?

A Square Peg in a Round Hole

n an exclusive interview with Malcolm Perrie, Managing At this formative stage, AAMA consists of thirteen founding

I Director of Federal-Mogul Aftermarket, and the first chair-

man of AAMA, ABR delved a little deeper into the reasons
for the formalisation of Partinform into a far more power-
ful institution. Malcolm says that whilst all the founding mem-
bers of AAMA are also members of NAACAM or the RMI, or
members, all who have been accepted on their credentials as
being existing Partinform members. For future members, the
process shall be more structured, with an application form to be
completed by aspiring members. The entry requirements stipu-
late that members must be local manufacturers whose route to
both, in many cases it was a situation of being a square peg in a market is through the traditional channels, and not via vertically
round hole. “NAACAM is primarily an OEM focused body, integrated distribution. Agents need not apply, as equity in the
whereas the RMI is predominantly a retailed focused organisa- brand will be a prerequisite.
tion. Both do a good job in their respective areas of expertise and
focus, but in many cases the specific interests of aftermarket Much, much more in future issues of ABR, the magazine that
manufacturers are nor being catered for.” To this end, he adds, was coincidentally also created in 2008 specifically for the auto-
the AAMA intends to complement the offerings of these bodies, motive aftermarket industry.
and to service the unique interests of the aftermarket manufac-
turers in four specific areas:

1. Strategic Input: A focus on government lobbying and the

presenting of a united front, for the good of the local after-
market industry, and for the good of the country.
2. Training Support: The establishment of a training academy
to serve the interests of the local aftermarket industry, spread-
ing the training net as wide as possible, whilst pooling
resources to create training teams that deliver cost effectively.
3. Partinform: The venerable Partinform format continues,
with a turbo boost (see following story), promoting premium
brands and passing on the vital message of quality and safety
to all corners of the country via the tried and tested mini-
trade show formula – getting face to face with the end users
and retail shop employees in the rural areas and emerging
4. Supply Chain Sustainability: An enormous opportunity
exists in the area of supply chain management and improve-
ment, via a combined approach to areas of common interest. The inaugural AAMA Executive: Standing, left to right:
Norman Bull and Murray Long
There is tremendous wastage in supply chain costs in many
Sitting, front: Colin Murphy, Partinform chairman and
areas: inward and outward logistics; customs management, Malcolm Perrie, chairman. AAMA held its first meeting on
and the need to lobby strongly on commodity prices. 21st January 2009.
68 February 2009

The Objectives of the

Automotive Aftermarket
Manufacturers Ass are:
(i) promote, protect and encourage the
general and collective interests and
image of the members engaged main-
ly or substantially as brand owners in
the manufacturing sector supplying
the Automotive Aftermarket;

(ii) protect the brand value of members

operating within the South African
Automotive Industry aftermarket;

(iii) provide a forum for members to meet

with a view to promoting and protect-
Partinform Gets a Turbo Boost
ing the interests of the members of the What are the implications for Partinform now that AAMA has gone the formal route?
association; Very little, according to Colin Murphy, chairman of Partinform. If anything, the impli-
cations are positive. “Imported product can be found on every shelf of every parts
(iv) promote employee training and train- reseller in South Africa. This is neither good nor bad. What is bad is when this import-
ing accreditation within the automo- ed product is of doubtful origin, and of doubtful quality. The job of Partinform has
tive aftermarket and to facilitate the been from day one to inform and educate the parts community about the professional
establishment and administration of a benefits of using branded parts that guarantee quality and safety, and local manufactur-
joint training facility in the automo- ers that provide the necessary technical support. All the aspects of vehicle roadworthi-
bile aftermarket parts industry; ness, vehicle longevity, road safety, and personal safety come into play, and informing
the resellers and fitters of these important facts remains the key focus of Partinform.
(v) promote and protect the interests of AAMA simply reinforces these aims, and hopefully will attract like minded manufactur-
members, customers and the public ers to our travelling mini-shows, thus broadening our impact and of course, assisting
by ensuring that proper standards of with the sharing of costs.” The new challenge, according to Colin, is to get this message
quality, service and ethical trading across to the rapidly growing emerging market. This requires taking the message to
conditions are maintained by its remote and previously inaccessible locations. In 2008, Partinform visited Mdantsane
members; and Soweto, and both shows were extremely successful. More of the same in 2009 is
promised by Colin. The real challenge, in this modern age of entertainment at the push
(vi) jointly promote members’ brands and of a button, is to get the parts community to attend Partinform. And Colin believes that
products in the Southern African he has found the silver bullet. The silver bullet comes in Ferrari red and Ferrari yellow.
market by facilitating trade shows and The established quiz show format will, apart from the generous prizes to be won by the
similar marketing activities; contestants, now come with a brilliant first prize of having the opportunity to drive a
Ferrari 360 Challenge Car, and the cherry on the top will be a balls to the wall “hot lap”
(vii) engage the relevant Industry Bodies in experience with an experienced racing driver (lunch will be served after this experience
trade, labour, legislative and other to ensure the integrity of the interior of the Ferraris). This event is run by Forza racing,
matters affecting members and, as and ABR will give further info during the course of the year.
desirable, to promote, support or

NB: keep this article

oppose any proposed legislative or
other measures affecting thee interests Partinform
of members collectively; schedule 2009 handy. In the March
(viii) promote and disseminate to mem- Pretoria Thursday 26 Feb 2009 issue of ABR,
bers and the authorities any informa- in conjnction with
Partinform, we shall
Cape Twon Thursday 26 March
tion of value and use to them;
be launching an
Springs/Brakpan Tuesday 12 May
(xi) print, publish or advertise in any news
exciting competition
Bloemfontein Wednesday 17 June
media, periodical, book or leaflet that
the Association may think desirable; Durban Tuesday 21 July
whereby four of our
(xii) do all such other things as are inci-
Klerksdorp Tuesday 8 September readers can win a
dental or conducive to the attain- Port Elisabeth Tuesday 13 October ride in the Ferarri
ment of the objects above specified. White River Tuesday 10 November 360 Challenge car

February 2009 69

Frequently Asked Questions on

Making CEF Brake Hoses
In a nutshell – How does it work?
You purchase a CEF Brake Hose crimper with an opening stock package. This allows
you to assemble brake hoses quickly and easily while your customer waits.

Who is this package aimed at?

This assembly system is for trade customers owning: Spares outlets, Brake & Clutch specialist companies, larger workshops. You must
be able to sell 15 brake hoses per month.

Do I need experience in making brake hoses?

You do not need to have made hoses in the past in order to learn how to use this assembly system. The CEF crimper package is very
user friendly and comes with a comprehensive training manual. Technical assistance is also available on the phone if you require and
representatives from BHCS cover most areas a number of times annually.

How do I know what to stock?

We take the guess work out of the inventory. We supply you with an accurate opening stock package which will allow you to service
your customers with 90% of their requirements. Your stock also comes in storage boxes with part numbers so you don't have any
further hassle storing the end fittings.

How long does it take to assemble a CEF Brake Hose?

Assembling the actual brake hose using the crimper takes 3 minutes. You need to identify the end fittings but this is easy with our bin
storage system. Total time is 5 to max 10 minutes.

Does the hose you manufacture conform to Safety Standards?

Yes, the CEF Brake Hoses that you manufacture meet the SABS Specification SABS3996 which is based on the international
specification ISO3996. You will also conform to SAEJ1401.

Who supports the product in Southern Africa?

The owners of Brake Hose & Component Supplies (Pty) Ltd - BHCS, have been supplying CEF Brake Hoses into the market for the
last 15 years. The company is focused on brake hoses and backs you up with a large stock holding from their warehouse. Technical and
sales support is vital and is high on the priority list.

Why should you assemble

brake hoses on site?
• Increase your one stop shop reputation.
• Attract new customers (increasing sales
on other products).
• New income stream from your existing
• Gain a competitive advantage on local
• Strengthen customer retention.
• Good return on investment.
• Sustainable repeat business.

72 February 2009
Corporate Conscience

It’s More Than Just Business

ABR has twice in its short existence, in its corporate conscience section, reported on
Sparepro’s benevolent efforts and its philosophy of “We are here to serve”, applica-
ble to both its business activities and corporate social responsibilities. Intrigued,
ABR visited Sparepro once again in December 2008 to dig deeper into this refreshing
approach to doing business. We spoke to Patrick Latouche, General Manager.
atrick was born in

Mauritius, but considers
himself South African,
having spent his formative
academic training in this
country, acquiring his
B.Comm at Wits University and his
MBA at Milpark Business School.
Patrick joined Sparepro some nine
months ago, at the behest of owner Price
Govender, who was looking for someone
to reinvent and reignite Sparepro, and to
give it a new start and to infuse it with
fresh blood. Sparepro had some six years
ago shaken the automotive parts market
to the core with some revolutionary con-
cepts, but had in many ways become a
victim of its own success, as its frenetic
beginnings had hidden fundamental

flaws and a few missteps. Price had Patrick Latouche stands in
realised that it was time to take stock, front of the newly minted
and to build on this successful but unfo-
“Sparepro Warranty of
cused start. Patrick was indeed the man
Excellence” commitment. He
for the job, coming with tools and
subscribes to Motilal Nehru’s
accomplishments and the credibility
gained from stints in Australia and credo – “There are two types of
France, where he successfully reposi- people: those who work and Vision and a warranty of excellence are
those who take the credit. Try the cornerstones of Patrick’s business
tioned companies and improved their
performance, in both the mining and to be in the first group; there is
automotive fields. Despite these achieve- too much competition in the lated into vastly improved service levels.
ments, Patrick remains a humble man, second group” Administration, procurement, HR man-
with a life philosophy to “deliver on what agement, and all the other areas of busi-
you commit to, and always to leave good right, and everything magically falls into ness have received management focus
footprints”. place, with the customer being the and key area examination, and the trans-
biggest beneficiary. This new wave think- formation is well under way. And Patrick
Whilst focusing on the management dis- ing, combined with classical manage- is no Pollyanna; everything is measured
ciplines that are necessary in a business, ment theory, is reaping benefits. No and monitored. Targets are set, variances
Patrick has also spent a lot of time put- longer are the sales team mere order tak- are addressed, and group and individual
ting soul and spirit into the company. ers. They have taken over their space, and incentives based on performance, atti-
This has in itself created a new energy are proactively managing the sales tude and attendance have created a clam-
and a new focus, with Sparepro striving process, and taking the time to under- ouring from newly motivated staff to be
to allow each and every employee to stand each customer, and practicing rela- “star of the month”, and an uplifting
become the best that they can be, and to tionship management. Similarly, the spirit that has transformed the company.
inculcate a “Spirit of Team”. Patrick logistics functions have been tightened
believes that this is the magical elixir that and streamlined, providing improved Next month, ABR shall delve a little
sets great companies apart from merely safety and security levels, and together deeper into this wonderful example of
good companies – individual excellence with the outsourcing of inward transport management by motivation.
interwoven into teamwork. Get this and outbound deliveries, this has trans-

74 February 2009
Corporate Conscience

Treading a Conscientious Path

Romano Daniels, Public Relations and Marketing General man-
ager of Bridgestone South Africa (Pty) Ltd, is a difficult man
to satisfy. Even though Bridgestone has been rated number one
in the industry in raising awareness about tyre safety by
Monitoring South Africa, he says that the job is still far from
done. Whilst humbled by the response to Bridgestone’s various
road safety initiatives, Romano has a “serious and genuine
belief that so much more has to be done”, and he commits him-
self and his company to going far further in these endeavours.
hat is behind this fervent and even evangelistic approach? The answer, according to

W Romano, lies in the DNA of Bridgestone. This DNA was forged when Shojiro
Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Corporation, as a young adult observed that
most of the injuries in the Japanese mining and agricultural industries were foot
injuries, specifically injuries to the soles of the feet. This led him to develop protective rubber shoes,
with the emphasis on the underside protection. This innovation significantly reduced foot injuries in
these industries, and this combined fascination with rubber and safety ultimately evolved into a con-
scientious path and a clear vision – to serve society by providing people with quality product. Shojiro Romano Daniels,
Ishibashi was ambitious enough to dream that his quality products would earn the satisfaction of cus-
tomers, but he never dreamed that his company would become the global enterprise it has. Literally
Public Relations and
translated, Ishibashi means “stone bridge”, so Bridgestone was named after its founder. The rest, as Marketing General
they say in the classics, is tyre history, with Bridgestone Corporation, from its humanitarian beginnings
in 1931, eventually purchasing the iconic Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1988, and the merg- Manager at Bridgestone
ing of the stones being merely coincidental, which is a pity, because it would have made a great story. SA, flies the tyre safety
Bridgestone is currently rated first in the global tyre market, with Michelin second, Goodyear third
and Continental fourth. The Bridgestone Group now has 141 production facilities worldwide, spread flag at Bridgestone
around 24 countries. Not bad for someone who cared for people’s feet! As a matter of interest, Shojiro
Ishibashi is so revered, that even though he is long deceased, the number one position at Bridgestone Corporation is reserved for him, as a
ceremonial reminder of the values that he preached, and as a reminder to his successors of the obligation to continue to tread his path and to
honour his philosophies. Not surprisingly, road safety and tyre safety receive enormous emphasis at Bridgestone, both globally and locally. The
highest quality implies the highest levels of safety and the highest levels of integrity, and this is what ABR shall look at in the next issue of
“Treading a Conscientious Path”.

Bridgestone’s DNA
Our Mission: Serving society with superior quality To customers: Contribute to continuing advances in the funda-
mentals of safety and in other basic elements of the quality of life.
We inherit the words and the spirit of our mission from our Convey our passion to customers through innovative and exciting
founder. His emphasis on superior quality means striving for excel- new kinds of value that capture the imagination.
lence in technology, in products and service and in all our activities.
To shareholders: Maximise shareholder value through continu-
The quest for excellence is a quest for every individual at every ing growth in sales and earnings over the long term. Fulfil our
Bridgestone Company. So we encourage each other in the spirit of accountability to shareholders and distribute earnings to them
mutual respect and help one another make the most of our potential. through reasonable and stable dividend payments.

Our commitment to quality is a worldwide commitment. We share To business partners: Concentrate on advancing mutual
the values of the community, including the universal desire for a interests through close communication in all dealings with
sound environment and we work conscientiously to improve the partners. Identify issues of common concern and work together on
quality of life for people everywhere. improvements to resolve those issues.

Our Pledge To employees: Honour individuality and provide a safe and

stimulating workplace environment. Provide opportunities fairly to
To the community: Bring added benefit to the community all employees and evaluate their performance on the basis of effort,
through support for cultural activities and other public interest as well as results.
undertakings. Be proactive in working to protect and improve the
global environment.

Bridgestone's Winning Spirit - Trust, Pride and Quality

February 2009 75
fast Wheels

Whither Formula 1? On the upside of Formula 1 Grand Prix Racing in

2008 was some extraordinary racing at high speed
and a finish to the season in Brazil that could not
by Roger McCleery have been scripted both for excitement or drama.

he best races of the year in my book are those that were run Richards, formerly boss of BAR Honda could take over as well. All

T in damp or wet conditions. Silverstone, Spa, Monza and

Brazil come to mind. Rain always neutralises, No 1 the per-
formance of the cars and No 2 the talents of the drivers,
some of whom believe it or not love racing in the rain. It also
puts more emphasis than normal on the pit crews who can return the car to
the track in 6 seconds. It brings team strategists looking at weather forecasts
to decide on tyre choices – either full wets, intermediates or dry tyres and
will be revealed before the start of the season in Australia, a country
thinking of bailing out of GP racing after 2010 if Bernie Ecclestone’s
demands continue. To add to the woes of GP racing teams are the
staging costs of a GP. This figure is thought to be R600m per race.
Going away from the traditional home of Grand Prix racing in
Europe, the Far East countries are starting to look like non-starters.
Fuji in Japan had lower attendances, as had Shanghai and Malaysia.
wing settings. Singapore, had the honour of spending huge amounts of dough on
a novel night race, which was a pretty dull procession due to the
What some people say about the best season Formula 1 racing has nature of the circuit. Even in Europe. France, which started Formula
had in its 58 year history is that Lewis Hamilton didn’t win for 1 racing more than a hundred years ago, said ‘No Thanks’.
McLaren, but Ferrari lost it for Massa thanks to an engine break- Hockenheim in Germany lost a fortune, Silverstone who hosted the
down in Hungary when in the lead and the fuel hose problems the first Formula 1 Grand Prix race post-war also packed in the crowds
team had in Singapore. Ferrari had a high-tech complicated light sys- to see Hamilton lost money. They will be dropped from the calendar
tem to tell the driver when to depart his pit stop instead of using the in favour of Donnington.
time-honoured paddle system, which they went back to in the
Japanese Grand Prix that followed. People also forget that teams are They say Turkey was paid for by Ecclestone. Canada with their full
under tremendous pressure all year so can make mistakes which they house boosted by USA crowds has also departed the calendar for the
do. All this adds to the drama of the season. The season finished on of non-payment of monies owing.
a high with Hamilton becoming World Champion by a solitary
point in the last 300m in the last race, with the Briton being hon- Now Formula 1 mad Spain with two Grands Prix thanks to the bril-
oured in the Queens Honours List for his achievements. liance of Alonso, Italy, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, Monaco and
Brazil seem happy to continue, or at least they haven’t said otherwise.
All this excitement and big spending went on in a world that from See what I mean about Europe being the traditional home of GP.
September was showing signs of crashing financially thanks to the The oil rich Arab countries with a new circuit to open this year are
financial cowboys that look after the world’s monies. Even in likely to have fairly empty stadiums due a lack of interest, but are also
September, Max Moseley was warning teams to stop spending so happy to continue.
much and to make racing cheaper. This at a time when the FIA
President was fresh from a sex scandal, which is now forgotten What has happened? Staging costs are high ands ticket prices of
despite the hand on heart types condemning his conduct in a world necessity have gone through the roof and are ultra expensive. Also
that really doesn’t give a toss about his private life. racing pre-2008 was generally a procession.

They pooh-poohed proposals from Max and Bernie Ecclestone to go Will Formula 1 Grand Prix racing continue? Of course it will.
over to one make of engine that had to last four races, Grand Prix Things will change. Costs will come down for everyone. Cars will be
medals like the Olympics, gearboxes that were cheaper than the more passing friendly although the new wings they have tried look
$10m and less complicated and cheaper and had to last many more dreadful. Maybe the Formula 1 circuits will become more spectator
races almost fell on deaf ears, until the downside of the year. friendly like South African motor sport, dare I say it, which provides
greater competition and entertainment and is spectator-friendly. Try
Honda pulled out of Grand Prix racing and put the team up for sale. Zwartkops in particular and you will see what I mean. Most impor-
Wow! That left only 9 two-car teams to compete in 2009. A field tant. Notice to the powers-that-be who want Formula 1 racing in
under 18 cars according to Formula 1 rules can’t be called a GP. South Africa. Leave it alone and let costs come down until South
Quick confirmation was gathered from other teams like Toyota that African drivers to compete, which should also all happen in all forms
they were to continue racing despite the massive downturn in the of international competition we have out here. It was like that in the
vehicle market. To make things worse for the Japanese, Suzuki and 9-hour and previous Formula 1 races and is still like that at
Subaru also pulled out of world rallying. Suddenly there was a crisis. Zwartkops.
Moseley’s vision made only a few months ago was right. Costs said
Max must come down from £200m per year to £32m for a GP team Put your money into developing South African motor sport, which
if they want to survive and attract others to the sport. has provided many world champions on tar and dirt, mostly with lit-
tle financial help from this country. Your returns on investment will
A Mexican Billionaire was quoted (since denied) as interested in the certainly be worthwhile and the country will be behind you.
800-man staffed Honda team. Rumours also abounded that Dave

76 February 2009
A Word on cars

Mazda’s best kept secret

Don’t tell anyone but I’m about to let you
by Adam Ford in on one of motorings best kept secrets.


he chances of buying a bad car today are quite remote, Power on the Individual 6 is courtesy of a 2.5 4cylinder 125kw

T drive any new car today and you will understand what
I mean. Modern technology and research from manu-
facturers makes it hard to get it wrong. Generally prob-
lems occur at dealer level through poor after sales service and shod-
dy repair work. When buying a new car a lot of ones decisions will
motor driven through a slick shifting 6 speed manual gearbox,
the engine that is smooth and quite poky delivers more than
enough power to satisfy the target market. For a treat we decid-
ed to take our kids for a day at the beach, so we loaded them with
all there stuff into the car and headed for Sun City, yep that’s my
be down to how much hype a particular model has been given to closest beach. On a mix of both good and bad roads the 6 always
sway the buyer to that brands showroom. Then there are a few cars felt solid and secure and surprised me how at how accomplished
that don’t have the hype behind them… and there are some gems it performed the task, I had to remind myself that this was a
around. Mazda I was driving.

One of those unknown gems is Mazda’s 6. Unless you are a Mazda Nowadays with the cost of fuel the way it is, fuel consumption is
fan you may not even know it exists or you may be surprised to always a concern. The 10 days that I had the 6 the average fuel
know that they have released a new model range. Current owners consumption came out at a very credible 9lt/100 km’s, this is a
of the previous generation 6 will know this is a great family car, eas- real world figure and about what most drivers will get, not those
ily accommodates five and can suck up all their luggage in that cav- unrealistic figures that get spewed at us from manufacturers.
ernous boot as well, they also know how fuel efficient and reliable That’s not bad for a fairly large 2.5lt sedan driven by someone
the car is. In the new model Mazda have made the 6 even more who generally drives with a lead foot.
spacious and also moved up the bar in quality. The previous model
was a bit Tupperware but now you can notice the improvement So overall the new Mazda 6 does everything it’s expected to do,
with far better materials and superb fit and finish, and as one and more. This is one of those “secret” cars that deserves more
would expect from an executive saloon you get all the mod cons, recognition than it presently has, maybe its time for Mazda’s
quality Bose sound system with built in cd shuttle with aux con- advertising dept to get some “Zoom-Zoom” and let the buying
nection, speedo cruise, electric driver’s seat, on board trip comput- public know what a gem they have, before the buying public for-
er and the usual plethora of airbags, because my test model was the gets it even exists.
range topping Individual it also came standard with keyless entry
and start stop button as well as a nice sunroof.

February 2009 77
The Last Writes by Baron Claude Borlz

A few more blonde jokes

A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After
he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly. She says, 'What's the story?'
He replies, 'Just crap in the carburettor'. She asks, 'How often do I have to do that?'

A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her
licence. She replied in a huff, 'I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away
my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!'

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway. Glancing at the car, he was
astounded to see that the blonde behind the wheel was knitting! Realising that she was oblivious to his
flashing lights and siren, the trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled,
'PULL OVER!' 'NO!' the blonde yelled back, 'IT'S A SCARF!'

man in, as long as he gets a knock. So, darlings, do be careful,

A tribute to our boys who and be well warned by me:
beat the Aussies in their
Never trust a cricketer, whoever he may be. And watch the wick-
own backyard etkeeper, girls, he's full of flair and dash; And if you raise your
Come all ye fair young maidens and harken unto me, Never trust heel, he'll whip them off in a flash. If you take the field with the
a cricketer, whoever he may be. Randier than a sailor who's been captain, you had better know the score; Or he'll have you in posi-
six months at sea, Never let a cricketer's hand an inch above your tions that you never knew before! The cricket commentator is a
knee. First let's take the paceman, pure speed from first to last! nasty sort of bloke, He watches all the action and describes it
stroke by stroke. Even the kindly umpire, who looks friendly as a
My darlings do be careful; his balls are hard and fast. Then there's pup; You'll quickly find you've had it, when he puts his finger up!
the medium pacer, his balls swing either way; He's really most So, darlings, please remember and repeat it after me: NEVER
persistent and can keep it up all day! And watch for the off-spin- TRUST A CRICKETER, WHOEVER HE MAY BE!!!!!
ner, girls, another awkward chap. If you leave him half an open-
ing, he will slip one through the gap! Then there's the wily 'slow',
pure cunning is his strength;

He'll tempt you, then he'll trap you with his very subtle length.
So ladies, do be careful, your mothers would agree. Never trust a
cricketer, whoever he may be. And what about the opening bat,
his struggles never cease! He has only one ambition, to spend all
day at the crease. The number three is a dasher, he seldom prods
and pokes. When he goes into action, he has a fine array of
strokes. And do beware the slogger, not content with one or two;
When he arrives at the crease then only six will do. Then there's
the real stonewaller, girls, he knows what he's about; And if you
let him settle in, it's hard to get him out! We come now to the
last man, I hope this will not shock, He doesn't mind if he's last

URGENT ! Did you know that your drivers'

licence is on the Internet for all to see?
This is not good for security. Any fraudster can get your ID and Photo and
do all sorts of things with it.
To avoid this, you need to go to the website and delete your
personal details including your picture.
The web to visit is actually on a US site.
If you are interested, follow these four simple steps:
(i) Go to
(ii) Put in your name and surname;
Ignore the state and city section -
(iii) Press "search". Then, when it comes up,
(iv) Press "delete" to remove it.
Relieved you did it? Then help others to help themselves in the same way I
just did to you!

78 February 2009