PROTECTING YOUR OWN
Advantages of trademarks
THE POWER OF WATER INJECTION
Improving engine output
NAACAM CONFERENCE Developing the auto industry’s masterplan MDA: FULLY COMMITTED TO TWO WHEELS RMI UPDATE: NADA AND SEWELLS HONOUR BUSINESSES OF THE YEAR; COMPETITION COMMISSION HOSTS
www.automobil.co.za AFTERMARKET WORKSHOP; RMI CALLS FOR TALKS WITH NEW MINISTER OF TRANSPORT; DOUBLE WHAMMY FOR PARTINFORM; GOVERNMENT PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR SA’S FOUNDRIES; SAMBRA MEETS IN BLOEMFONTEIN
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22 -MAY NOVEMBER 2014 2017
CONTENTS – MAY 2017 COLUMNS
5 Driver’s Seat: Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI 7 Editor’s Letter: Wynter Murdoch 9 Hot Stuff! New product showcase 56 Frequently Asked Questions: Answers from experts 58 Dealing with AIDS/HIV in the workplace 74 Tailpiece: Robotaxis in four years? UPDATES
Editor: Wynter Murdoch firstname.lastname@example.org
12 News 28 On two wheels
Sub-editor: Peggy Lendrum email@example.com Design and layout: Heinz Bawa firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporters: Ryan de Smidt email@example.com
NADA and Sewells honour Businesses of the Year; SAMBRA meets in Bloemfontein; Competition Commission hosts aftermarket workshop; RMI calls for talks with new Minister of Transport; Double whammy for Partinform; Government pledges support for South Africa’s foundries
Reuben Van Niekerk firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher: Richard Lendrum email@example.com Production: Mabel Ramafoko firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Sales Executives: Enver Lawangi, Greg Surgeon, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd 247 Jan Smuts Avenue, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg PO Box 3355, Rivonia, 2128 Tel: +27 (11) 327-6107
Jeff Molefe, Director of the Motorcycle Dealers’ Association, outlines plans aimed at overcoming issues and challenges faced by the industry
COVER STORY 20
Developing the auto industry’s masterplan
Judging by a number of high-level presentations at last month’s inaugural NAACAM Show, a strategy shift is underway within South Africa’s automotive sector
RMI Automobil’s Editorial Sub-Committee: Chairman: John Ellmore; Gary McCraw, Gideon de Klerk, Denice Grobler, Shamika Singh, Danelle Van Der Merwe, Wynter Murdoch, Greg Surgeon, Jakkie Olivier, Jan Schoeman
Transforming motor industry
Black supplier development in the spotlight
The power of water injection
Technical expert Jake Venter explains why a substance that doesn’t burn can improve a combustion engine’s power output
Automobil is the official journal of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) which hosts 14 constituent associations: ACRA (component remanufacturers); ERA (engine re-builders and automotive engineers); MDA (motorcycle, scooter, quad and jet-ski/outboard engine dealers); MIMA (Motor Industry Manufacturers’ Association); MIWA (the full spectrum of workshop operators); MPEA (wholesale and retail part dealers); NADA (new and used car and truck dealers); NAZA (number plate association); VTA (vehicle testing); SADFIA (diesel pumproom operators); SAPRA (Fuel resellers, convenience store and car wash operators); SAMBRA (collision repairers and automotive refinishers); SAVABA (vehicle body builders) and TDAFA (tyre dealers and fitment centres).
Rewriting the rules
How Audi has made the revolutionary, lightweight body structure of its upcoming A8 even lighter – but at the same time, stronger – than that of the predecessor
Automobil is available to purchase from the publishers at R25 a copy.
Protecting your own
Why investing in a trademark may prove be one of the greatest assets your business possesses
Automobil is published by Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd and produced for the Retail Motor Industry Organisation. Opinions expressed in Automobil are not necessarily those of the publishers or the Retail Motor Industry Organisation. Permission to republish any article or image or part thereof must be obtained in writing from the publisher. © Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd.
Guidelines for dealing with desertion
Even if an employee is deemed to have deserted the workplace, he or she is entitled to a procedurally fair and just hearing before dismissal can be effected
Growing profits the ActionCoach way
MAY 2017 -
BENEFITS OF BELONGING A short summary of the benefits of RMI membership
The RMI has represented the retail motor industry and its members for more than 100 years. With more than 7 500 member businesses, our unity is our strength. RMI representation at often volatile and disruptive centralised wage negotiations. Professional industrial relations advice by expert specialists, ensuring procedural and substantive fairness when disciplining staff. Industry labour relations seminars focused on the rules, agreements and industry-specific topics that affect retail motor industry businesses. Chairing of disciplinary hearings and AUTOMATIC entry and representation at the CCMA, DRC and Labour Court. Representation at various MIBCO and Industry-related Boards and committee structures.
Affiliation to reputable organisations recognised by Government, big business, consumers and relevant stakeholders like Business Unity SA (BUSA). Protection against one-sided legislative changes or new laws and regulations. Exceptional CPA support and member assistance during defence cases at the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and the Motor Industry Ombudsman of South Africa (MIOSA). Facilitation of a business-to-business complaint where both parties are RMI members, with a complaint resolution rate in excess of 95%. Quality and Standards function â€“ representing the retail industry at various South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) committees and working groups. Representation at the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), defending our industry when compulsory specifications and standards are compromised.
The informative Automobil magazine and weekly web letters that facilitate two-way communication and create consumer and industry awareness. The RMI is regularly invited to comment on industry topics by both print and broadcast media, and participates in and hosts numerous conventions and shows. Associational accreditation ensures ongoing development and implementation of commercial value propositions specific to the association. Training needs and representation via merSETA and W&RSETA. We actively drive industry-wide training and apprenticeship issues through our position on the merSETA Board and our involvement with the Technica manuals. Representation at the Moto Health Care Fund, Industry Provident Funds and the Sick, Accident and Maternity Pay Fund. The RMI offers industry-specific products like RMI4BEE / RMI4LAW / RMI4OHS /RMI4SURE.
Need to get hold of the RMI? Turn to Page 8 of this issue for all the contact details
4 MAY 2017
More benefits, better products and services
On July 1, the RMI will introduce a new thinking business model that has been designed to re-focus and prioritise the enhancement of the Organisation’s commercial value proposition. Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the RMI, explains
he RMI’s new thinking business model (NTM), which comes into effect on July 1, has taken quantum leaps during the past couple of months. Those involved in the governance and management of the Organisation are very excited about the progress and what the NTM will mean for the future of the automotive industry. The previous restructuring, implemented during 2013, produced a sound and solid foundation on which to build, effectively allowing the new thinking business model to fast-track new and better benefits, products and services for members and the automotive industry. It is common knowledge that the most successful business ventures are those that keep pace with change and technological advances. These entities also proactively adapt their business models to remain relevant, profitable and effective. The RMI is no different – and that’s why our latest restructuring will take the Organisation and our members to the next level. This comes at a time when all South Africans are concerned about economic and political prospects due to political uncertainty and credit agency downgrades. At its core, the NTM has been designed to re-focus and prioritise the enhancement of the commercial value proposition of the RMI through its constituent associations, supported by a robust financial model and
appropriate operational structures so as to deliver on 2017-2020 strategic objectives. The RMI’s associations will enjoy financial and capacity-building empowerment initiatives to prioritise critical services and products so as to enhance the commercial and trade benefits to members. We anticipate that the NTM will increase our staff complement with much needed human resources dedicated on a full-time basis to our associations – skilled, trained and totally focused on the needs and interests of our associational affiliated membership. Two very important events during March and April this year gave impetus to the implementation phase of the NTM: 1. Through external facilitation during a joint strategic session, the RMI Board and RMI Council developed and finalised the RMI strategic objectives to guide and drive the Organisation forward towards future growth. 2. RMI staffing resources have been modified and redeployed to better fit our associational and broad RMI operational and delivery model. Some of the exciting strategic priorities include: • Brand awareness – to establish the RMI as the Organisation that government and stakeholders in the industry turn to and to be recognised as the consumer's champion.
• Skills development – to establish international and local partnerships in order to support transformation, business growth and industry competitiveness. • Sustainability – to strengthen the RMI’s value proposition to drive membership growth and representation goals. • Regulatory compliance – to back members and the products and services they provide through relevant quality protocols and standards for total consumer peace of mind. If the 2013-2016 Project Renewal restructuring successes, including financial stability, membership growth, increased and better service delivery and value-added products are any indication of our future, the 2017-2020 NTM model promises to be exciting and rewarding despite the ever-shifting and uncertain economic and political landscape. RMI members and industry thought leaders are encouraged to fully participate and support the RMI’s new endeavours to ensure the future of the retail automotive industry. Over and above our members, the ultimate winners will be motorists – the consumers of high-quality products and services through RMI-affiliated member businesses. The public and consumers will once again be made aware of why doing business with RMI members will provide them with what they need most – motoring peace of mind.
For information on the RMI and its workings, visit www.rmi.org.za or call 011 886 6300
MAY 2017 -
CONSTITUENT ASSOCIATIONS Who do they represent and what are their objectives?
he RMI is a proactive, relevant, retail and associated motor industry organisation recognised as the leading voice in South Africa’s automotive aftermarket, serving the daily needs of its members and playing a key role in enabling motor traders to deliver top class service to motoring consumers. Here are the associations which fall under its umbrella… ACRA (Automotive Component Remanufacturers’ Association) ACRA represents component remanufacturers involved in the remanufacture of safety-critical components and radiators, an ever-growing industry in which keeping abreast of change is crucial for business owners. ERA (Engine Remanufacturers’ Association) ERA represents motor engineers who re-machine, rebuild and remanufacture engines in South Africa. ERA members promote the reuse of engines, parts and components in a manner that is green and sustainable. ERA members create employment and skills development opportunities, directly in their own machine shops and indirectly through suppliers to the industry and component manufacturers. MDA (Motorcycle Dealers’ Association) MDA represents members who are motorcycle dealers – these members benefit from an extensive array of value-add services and products such as commercial insurance, labour legal assistance and representation, consumer dispute resolution, and a strong relationship with the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors. MIMA (Motor Industry Manufacturers’ Association) MIMA members are Parts, Equipment and Component Manufacturers and suppliers to Original Equipment Manufacturers and the automotive aftermarket that exports into Africa and other countries in the world. MIWA (Motor Industry Workshop Association) MIWA, the largest association within the RMI, strives to keep its members informed about the ever-changing auto repair industry, thereby ensuring that vehicles are repaired to acceptable standards designed to make them perform better and safely on South African roads.
NAZA (Number Plate Association of South Africa) NAZA supports the imposition of a national standard for number plates, as well as for legislation to govern their manufacture, embossing practice and protocol. NAZA members adhere to a strict code of ethics in ensuring their part in eradicating corruption within the sector. TA
Vehicle Testing Association
VTA (Vehicle Testing Association) The VTA represents private vehicle testing stations that are committed to operating within the law in accordance with the Road Traffic Act and the relevant SANS standards. In this highly regulated environment, the association represents the interests of its members at government working groups and is committed to enhancing the reputation of the industry in all the spheres. SADFIA (South African Diesel Fuel Injection Association) SADFIA members operate fully equipped pump rooms aimed at providing cost-effective service solutions for owners of diesel powered vehicles seeking fuel injection system testing, repair or replacement. SAMBRA (South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association) SAMBRA is an active leader in the motor body repair industry and consolidates, communicates and regulates repair standards in the motor body repair industry. SAMBRA ensures the provision of technical and business skills training that meets the demands of the industry and instils confidence in consumers and industry stakeholders. SAPRA (South African Petroleum Retailers’ Association) SAPRA represents and promotes the interests of petroleum retailers in South Africa and fosters strong relationships with the Department of Energy, oil companies, banks, financial institutions and other stakeholders that have an impact on the sustainability of the service station industry.
MPEA (Motor Parts and Equipment Association) MPEA represents South Africa’s auto part traders, including wholesalers, retailers and independent operators in the replacement motor parts industry. Genuine replacement parts are available at accredited MPEA spares outlets at affordable prices, backed by the manufacturer’s warranty.
SAVABA (South African Vehicle and Bodybuilders’ Association) SAVABA members are professional, certified and regulated vehicle body builders in South Africa who manufacture commercial vehicle body applications (tanker, coal, refrigerated trucks and trailers) and bus bodies (commuter and tourist type). Members manufacture using the latest equipment and highly trained staff to ensure strict compliance with SABS standards and other legal specifications.
NADA (National Automobile Dealers’ Association) NADA represents the interests of business people who own or operate new vehicle franchise dealerships and qualifying used vehicle outlets. NADA is committed to the image enhancement of the retail motor business, facilitating the interface between dealers and OEMs/ distributors, building relationships between dealers and customers and bringing relevant industry issues to the attention of government.
TDAFA (Tyre Dealers' and Fitment Association) The TDAFA is the only representative body for tyre dealers nationally. The association works on all issues relevant to tyres and the fitment industry. Strategically, the TDAFA is positioned as an intermediary between government, the tyre industry and consumers and is recognised by government and industry leaders as the legitimate voice representing tyre dealers.
6 - MAY 2017
Walking the transformation talk
he recent NAACAM Conference held in Durban – subject of this edition’s cover story – is significant for a number of reasons. First, Government took the opportunity to make it clear to vehicle and components manufacturers that, if they hoped to access the Automotive Production and Development Plan’s (APDP’s) Automotive Investment Scheme, they would have to actively show their support for black supplier development. The message came from Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, one of the conference’s keynote speakers, who said it was up to members of the motor industry to walk the transformation talk.
Readers fascinated by technical detail are likely to find plenty of food for thought in Jake Venter’s explanation of how the addition of water improves the power output of internal combustion engines. The story appears on P44. Further, Audi’s ability to make an already feather-light chassis even lighter makes absorbing reading for those interested in new composites, the technology soon to be on the road in the form of the brand’s latest A8. Turn to P48 to find out more. Finally, in his Driver’s Seat column on P5, the CEO of the RMI, Jakkie Olivier, outlines the Organisation’s plan to introduce a new thinking business model designed to prioritise the
enhancement of the RMI’s commercial value. These features represent just a few of the highlights in this edition. I trust you will enjoy the read. Wynter Murdoch Editor
Further, he said discussions between Government and industry were well under way regarding a successor to the APDP. Again, he took the opportunity to warn that companies hoping to benefit from various planned incentives would have to meet tough BBBEE benchmarks, among them measurable black supplier development. Government’s intention appears clear: Crank up pressure on the motor industry in order to create more black participation. But the going may not be easy. In his Inside Line column on P24 of this edition, David Furlonger looks at some of the stumbling blocks which could manifest as Government pursues its objectives.
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SPEAK TO US RMI EXECUTIVES
hief Executive Officer: C Jakkie Olivier email@example.com Chief Operations Officer & Human Resources Director: Jan Schoeman firstname.lastname@example.org Financial Director: Renee Coetsee email@example.com Company Secretary: Gary McCraw firstname.lastname@example.org
RMI BOARD MEMBERS
Jeánne Esterhuizen (President) Barry Canning (Vice-President) Ferose Oaten Jakkie Olivier Bruce Allen Lindsay Bouchier
TDAFA, ACRA Hedley Judd email@example.com
TRAINING, TRANSFORMATION & ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT Vacant SADFIA Louis van Huyssteen firstname.lastname@example.org
ERA Pieter Niemand email@example.com NAZA Julian Pillay firstname.lastname@example.org
MPEA, MIMA Erwin Stroebel email@example.com MDA Jeff Molefe firstname.lastname@example.org
RMI PARTNERS RMI4Sure 0860-104-202 RMI4Law 0861-668-677 RMI4BEE 0861-764-233 RMI4OHS 012-998-7139
RMI HEAD RMI HEADOFFICE OFFICE Danelle van der Merwe Brand and Communication Manager email@example.com
Q&S, SAVABA Vacant
Neo Bokaba Transformation Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
MIWA Vishal Premlall email@example.com
011-789-2542 | www.rmi.org.za Surrey Square Office Park 330 Surrey Avenue Ferndale Randburg 2194
NADA Gary McCraw firstname.lastname@example.org VTA Joy Oldale email@example.com
RMI REGIONAL OFFICES
SAMBRA Edwin Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Highveld: Jeff Molefe email@example.com Randburg: 011-886-6300
Northern: Pieter Niemand firstname.lastname@example.org Pretoria: 012-348-9311 KwaZulu-Natal: Julian Pillay email@example.com Durban: 031-266-7031 Eastern Cape/Border: Erwin Stroebel firstname.lastname@example.org Port Elizabeth: 041-364-0070 Western Cape: Joy Oldale email@example.com Cape Town: 021-939-9440 Free State/Northern Cape: Louis van Huyssteen firstname.lastname@example.org Bloemfontein: 051-430-3294
SAPRA Viv Corinaldi email@example.com
8 - MAY 2015
Vehicle Testing Association
Lighting the way Thanks to advances in LED and battery technology, today’s flashlights are far more powerful than their predecessors and offer a greater range of options. In this respect, Tork Craft’s new product range is said to lead the way. The company offers an extensive line-up of torches, flashlights, headlights and work lamps. Options include high performance LED flashlights made of aluminium which boast running times of up to 13 hours, their beams stretching up to 150 metres. Power is provided by two CR123A batteries or, alternatively, one 18650 battery. Rechargeable models are also available. They feature 600 lumens, a lifespan of 100 000 hours and use one Li-ion battery. Fittings include a USB charging cable. The flashlights also come in a range of colours – blue, black, red and silver. Most of the units are impact resistant and water resistant. For information log on to www.torkcraft.com or call Vermont Sales on 011 314 7711.
Clever cot Ford Motor Company, in conjunction with Spanish design house Espada y Santa Cruz, has developed a cot that simulates the motion, engine noise, and even the street lighting of night‑time drives sometimes needed to put baby to sleep. To all appearances a regular cot, the Max Motor Dreams comes to life using a smartphone app. This enables it to record and then reproduce the comforting movement, lights and sounds of a particular journey. “After many years of talking to mums and dads, we know that parents of newborns are often desperate for just one good night’s sleep. But while a quick drive in the family car can work wonders in getting baby off to sleep, the poor old parents still have to be awake and alert at the wheel,” said Max Motor Dreams designer Alejandro López Bravo.
Commemorative 500 from Fiat Fiat is launching a special edition 500 convertible to mark the 60th anniversary of the iconic car. The special edition comes with a grey fabric roof and Dolcevita bi-colour paintwork, combining tri-coat white for the body of the car and pastel ivory for the bonnet and pillars. Chrome mirror covers and special 16-inch alloy wheels, with a white diamond finish, complete the look and pay homage to the styling cues of the original Fiat 500. The model will be badged with vintage Fiat logos and a bespoke 500-60th icon, with a red 6 and 0 incorporated into the last two figures of the 500 logo. Inside, a Bordeaux vinyl dashboard and vintage Fiat logo clad steering wheel complement the retro inspired ivory leather seats, with contrasting Bordeaux piping, ivory leather gear knob, bespoke floor mats and 500-60th kickplates.
“The Max Motor Dreams could make the everyday lives of a lot of people a little bit better.”
While the styling pays tribute to the original 500, the car’s standard technology remains up-to-date with a multi-function steering wheel, 7-inch HD touchscreen system with Bluetooth, satellite navigation and USB and AUX IN ports, rain and dusk sensors, cruise control, automatic climate control, fog lights and rear parking sensors.
For now, the Max Motor Dreams is a one-off pilot. But following numerous enquiries, Ford is considering putting the unique cot into full‑scale production.
The car is scheduled to be launched internationally in July.
MAY 2017 -
YOU DO LIFE.
WE CARE FOR IT.
10 - SEPTEMBER 2016
All our members have access to Maternity, GP, Dentistry, Specialist and Hospitalisation benefits PLUS only pay for the first 3 children while the other kids enjoy all benefits for free on our Hospicare and Hospicare Network options. So while you plan for the future, manage all day to day activities and create special moments, we take care of your healthcare.
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SEPTEMBER 2016 -
Big boost for driverless cars
osch and Daimler have joined forces to work on the introduction of fully automated, driverless vehicle technology. The objective is to develop and launch a system for driverless cars on urban public roads by the beginning of 2020. The two companies last month entered into an agreement which will focus on the development of fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) vehicles. The project combines the total vehicle expertise of Mercedes-Benz with the system and hardware expertise of Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier. In a statement issued by the companies, spokesmen are quoted as saying that ensuing synergies should ensure the earliest possible series introduction of the technology. The expected date of
implementation is given as the beginning of the next decade, with first vehicles on the road being automated taxis. “The objective is the joint development of software and algorithms for an autonomous driving system. The synergies that arise as a result will be channeled into making this technology ready for production as early as possible. “By introducing fully automated and driverless driving to the urban environment, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future.” According to the statement, one of the spin-offs will be a boost for carsharing schemes, since driverless vehicles will allow motorists to make the best
possible use of their time while travelling and open up new mobility opportunities for people who do not hold driver’s licenses. “The prime objective of the project is to achieve the production-ready development of a driving system which will allow cars to drive fully autonomously in the city. The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round. “Within a specified area of town, customers will be able to order an automated shared car via their smartphone. The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence. At the destination, the car will park itself until summoned by the next user.” Daimler is regarded as a pioneer in the car-sharing arena. The company’s existing car2go initiative – a point-topoint, rent-by-the-minute initiative that operates in Europe and America – boasts about two million users, making it the largest of its type in the world.
New autonomous platform from Siemens
iemens subsidiary Mentor – a developer of driverless vehicle solutions – last month unveiled at the 2017 SAE World Congress in Detroit its much anticipated Level 5 DRS360 autonomous drive platform. The system is said to feature breakthrough technology that captures, fuses and utilises raw data in real time from a wide range of sensors – including radar, LIDAR and vision – to deliver dramatic improvements
12 - MAY 2017
in processing speed, sensing accuracy and overall efficiency.
highest resolution model of a vehicle’s environment and driving conditions.
“In a first for autonomous driving platforms, DRS360 directly transmits unfiltered information from all system sensors to a central processing unit, where raw sensor data is fused in real time at all levels,” says Wally Rhines, the company’s CEO.
“For more than 25 years, Mentor has worked with the world’s top automotive OEMs and suppliers to establish a leadership position in delivering solutions that drive innovation while meeting the industry’s unyielding requirements relative to safety, efficiency and quality,” says Rhines.
He says the platform eliminates the need for pre-processing microcontrollers, enabling improved real-time performance, significant reductions in system cost and complexity, and access to all captured data for the
“With the introduction of the DRS360, we look forward to playing a major role in helping the automotive industry realise the massive potential and benefits of the autonomous vehicles era.”
Ford extends engine recall programme cylinder heads to crack, resulting in oil leaks that could ignite – as the prime cause of the 1,6-litre unit’s problem. In a statement released in the US, a spokesman for Ford said the company was aware of 29 reports in America and Canada of vehicle fires for which the engine was deemed to be responsible. The affected vehicles include Mexicanbuilt Fiesta STs and Fusions and Spanish built Transit Connects. In South Africa, a company spokesman said the decision to recall the Fiesta ST locally had been taken voluntary and involved models produced at Ford’s Cologne plant in Germany between September 2012 and December 2014. The models would be subject to hardware and software upgrades, including the installation of a coolant level sensor. However, the necessary parts were expected to be available only by the fourth quarter.
ord has issued a recall notice for about 360 000 vehicles it has sold in North America and Europe which it believes could represent fire risks. Simultaneously, Ford Southern Africa has issued a recall notice for 1 078 Fiesta ST models sold in South Africa, citing comparable reasons. The vehicles are equipped with 1,6-litre GTDi turbocharged engines similar to that which powers the Ford Kuga – a model for which a recall notice was issued earlier this year because its
powerplant was deemed to represent a fire hazard. As a result of that recall, Ford Southern Africa is under investigation by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) for alleged prohibited conduct relating to the supply of unsafe goods following 130 complaints against the company by Kuga owners. In its assessment of fire-damaged engines, Ford has blamed a lack of coolant circulation – which could cause
“Customers will be informed as to when they should book their vehicle in for the repair,” said a statement which added that, in the interim, vehicles could continue to be driven. However, the statement warned that if a vehicle showed signs of coolant leakage, overheating or frequently required a coolant top-up, it would need to be taken to a Ford dealer for inspection. “Customers should continue to check their vehicles’ coolant levels and can refer to their owner’s manual for instructions on how to check the level and what to do if it is low,” the statement said.
Kruger moves into Ford’s hot seat Auto Bavaria’s dealer principal, Luke Dreyer, (third from left) with other winners at BMW’s Excellence in Sales awards held recently in Munich
asper Kruger has been appointed managing director of Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa Region, joining the company’s Southern African leadership team to oversee operations in the region. Though the appointment became effective last month, Kruger will work with Ford’s current president and CEO, Jeff Nemeth, until the latter returns to the US at the end of June.
International accolade for local BMW dealer
uke Dreyer, dealer principal at Auto Bavaria, a Midrand-based BMW dealership, has been honoured by the auto manufacturer as one of its global top six Managers of the Year.
Casper Kruger… taking over the reins at Ford
“Casper’s extensive experience and expertise in sales and marketing, together with his deep experience in working closely with dealers and their customers, will be a great asset in strengthening our retail business in the region with the exceptional range of current products we offer, bolstered by the addition of several exciting new models in the coming years,” says Jacques Brent, president of Ford Middle East and Africa.
Nemeth will oversee the transition period and will be returning to the United States with his family in June 2017 following the completion of his son’s school year in South Africa.
“Having already spent two years at Ford, from 2007 to 2009, Casper is well placed to integrate seamlessly into the team and lead the company forward into a new era of growth and opportunity.”
“During Jeff’s tenure, he led the team through the launch of the global export programme for the locally built Ford Ranger and, more recently, local production of the Everest. Both the Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and the Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth were expanded with multi-billion rand investments and are running at record capacities.”
During his time at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA), Kruger was national sales manager and general manager for the Ford brand. He is the outgoing Vice-President of Vehicle Sales and Dealer Network at Toyota South Africa, a position he held from 2014, after previously heading up Toyota’s Hino truck division as Vice-President for a period of five years.
14 - MAY 2017
“I would like to thank Jeff for his exceptional commitment to developing and growing the business over the past seven years pioneering our expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa,” Brent says.
On the sales front, Ford’s market share in South Africa doubled during this period, achieving record volumes and market share for the Ranger, as well as other key models such as the EcoSport.
The accolade was presented last month in Munich, Germany, as part of BMW’s Excellence in Sales initiative. Dreyer received his award from the programme’s patron, Ian Robertson, a member of BMW’s Management Board. In his address, Robertson said the awards recognised outstanding contributions made by the company’s dealers across the globe in helping the brand to achieve record sales in 2016. “The international dealer body is one of the most important elements in the BMW Group’s ongoing success,” Robertson said. Dreyer was one of six managers from BMW’s global network to achieve the honour. The others were from Spain, the US, Israel, China and Germany. In all, the awards attracted more than 3 000 entries from 80 different countries. “The experience in Munich was absolutely incredible,” said Dreyer. “To finish in the top six out of so many retail partners worldwide is definitely a highlight of my career. We are very lucky to be in this position, considering the market challenges we have in South Africa.”
Diagnostic Solutions from Bosch: BEA 750 www.automobil.co.za
www.bosch.co.za NOVEMBER 2016 -
‘Downgrade will hit auto industry’
Murray Price, managing director of Eqstra Fleet Management
and return on investment is negatively affected. “Getting foreign Tier 1 and Tier 2 component manufacturers into South Africa to invest in the local automotive value chain will become increasingly difficult. Getting these manufacturers to sell equity share, to comply with equity requirements within the procurement stipulations of the value chain, will also be more difficult.
he recent downgrade of South Africa’s credit rating to junk status has strong implications for country’s automotive industry, says Craig Parker, programme manager for Mobility Africa at research consultancy Frost & Sullivan. “Major effects will be felt through the entire value chain of automotive production,” he predicts. According to Parker, any credit downgrade impacts investor confidence and has a strong influence on the value of local currency as well as on debt repayment. He foresees that disposable income will be impacted through rising interest rates and inflationary pressure. From an OEM perspective, he believes a rise in the cost of imported components will have negative impact. Also, local component manufacturers who feed into the value chain will be similarly affected. Further, higher fuel prices will translate into higher logistics costs across the board.
16 MAY 2017
“Uncertainty and a lack of trust in the financial stability of the economy will discourage international investors from allowing local equity partners into their businesses,” he says. Parker adds that automotive manufacturers will also, most likely, face demands for high wage increases which could lead to a loss of production – as has happened in the past when employers and trade unions cannot agree on an acceptable wage increase. “The higher cost of living will impact employees in the local value chain and their wage rates will need to be adjusted at a higher level to compensate for their loss of relative spending power,” he says. According to Parker, local demand for vehicles is also likely to be negatively affected as rising debt levels impact heavily on spending power and the willingness or ability of financial institutions to grant credit. “Finally, the investment potential of the automotive sector will decline as a result of a less favourable climate in South Africa, where risk versus reward
The country’s downgrade has also put increased pressure on fleet operators, according to Murray Price, managing director of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics. He says that with the value of the rand dropping, the price of new vehicles will increase along with that of vehicle parts and, inevitably, the cost of funding. “The only way to contain costs to ensure that fleets are managed efficiently and that the correct telematics solutions are utilised to enable fleet managers to collate and review such elements as driver behaviour, efficient vehicle servicing and maintenance, fuel costs and insurance. “Monitoring these aspects contributes to significant cost reduction. In the current uncertain economic climate, fleet operators will be well advised to review their reporting and management procedures,” he says.
iat Chrysler is exploring an innovative way to poke holes in conventional vehicle engineering. The company has taken the view that weight reduction, a key contributor to improved fuel economy, can be achieved by using less material. “The challenge is determining which components can withstand weight reduction – and by how much – while still satisfying customer expectations for vehicle durability and performance,” says a statement. It adds that engineers at Fiat Chrysler have developed multiple algorithms to quickly and precisely determine the
optimal size and shape of “lightening holes” – removing material from components to reduce their mass. “The new process is one of 24 topics our engineers will discuss during WCX 2017, an annual international seminar of engineers,” says the statement. Bob Lee, head of Powertrain Coordination at Fiat Chrysler, says the exchange of views at the seminar is vital to the industry’s continuing mission to develop vehicles that deliver greater efficiency. “Fiat Chrysler is committed to designing and producing lighter, more
fuel-efficient vehicles that still meet the demands of our customers,” he says. “Such progress bodes well for our ongoing investigation of strategic material placement.” The algorithms developed by FCA US engineers may be applied to any component. Simulations on virtual truck-frame components have achieved weight savings of between three and five percent. With such a tool at their disposal, vehicle development teams can accelerate their work, which benefits customers by reducing the time required to bring new products to market.
Porsche, Audi join development forces
udi and Porsche will join forces to jointly develop vehicles with the aim of helping parent company Volkswagen shape its mobility architecture for the future.
opportunities for future model generations and better meet challenges. The best brains of both companies will together set the technical course for the future,” Stadler said.
The green light for the project was given last month by the brand’s chairmen, Rupert Stadler and Oliver Blume. In a statement they said the objective was aimed at creating additional scope for the electrification and digitisation of vehicles, as well as for autonomous driving.
Blume added that faster progress was now likely in the race to meet mobility needs. “We will utilise the expertise of both companies and take advantage of synergies,” he said.
“Joint development will enhance competitiveness so that the two companies can optimally utilise
“We will cooperate wherever it makes sense. But we will also be very careful to maintain the differentiation between our brands. A Porsche is always a Porsche, and that will remain so in the future.”
Collaboration within the Volkswagen Group is nothing new. Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche have worked together successfully for many years in the area of SUVs. With the new initiative, the companies are beginning to position themselves for model introductions over the next decade. According to the statement, in coming months joint teams will prepare the specific areas of cooperation and define a roadmap to 2025. The focus will be on the joint development of shared vehicle architectures, modules and components. Project work will take place in various areas, each of which will be jointly headed by a representative of each brand.
Jaguar takes WCOTY honours
aguar’s F-Pace won two awards at last month’s World Car of the Year competition, taking overall honours as well as the trophy for the World Car Design of the Year. The luxury SUV is the fastest selling model Jaguar has produced and is only the second vehicle to claim a double win in the 13-year history of the awards. Accepting the trophies at the New York Auto Show, Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of
Jaguar Land Rover, said the F-Pace had been designed and engineered as a sport utility vehicle that was versatile, comfortable, capable and good looking. “Winning these awards endorses the talent and great work of our teams,” he said. The F-Pace was chosen from an initial field of 23 vehicles, narrowed to three finalists–Audi’s Q5 and Volkswagen’s Tiguan also making the cut. The cars were judged by
an international jury of 75 automotive journalists from 23 countries. In other categories, Porsche took the World Performance Car award with its latest 718 Boxster and Cayman; Mercedes-Benz won the World Luxury Car title with its E-Class; Toyota took the Green Car award with its Prius Prime and BMW won the inaugural World Urban Car of the Year award with its i3.
GM shuts Venezuelan operations
eneral Motors shut its operations in Venezuela, South America, last month after authorities seized the automaker’s assembly plant and vehicles in a nationalization process. The factory was “unexpectedly taken over by public authorities, preventing normal operations,” according to a GM statement. Spokesmen for the company said strong action would be taken to defend GM’s rights against the action. The plant shutdown took place as protesters flooded the capital city of
18 MAY 2017
Caracas in a show of opposition to President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The auto industry has collapsed in Venezuela, with sales plunging 92% in March. The country is experiencing its worst recession in decades, with gross domestic product plummeting 10% in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund. Revenue from oil, which accounts for 95% of foreigncurrency earnings, has tumbled along with prices. With the country short on cash for imports, citizens wait in long lines to find scarce household items.
In a statement the US State Department said it was reviewing details of the GM incident and called on Venezuelan authorities to ensure the matter was resolved quickly. “A fair, predictable and transparent judicial system is critical to implementing the essential economic reforms critical to restoring growth and addressing the needs of the Venezuelan people,” the department said in a statement.
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Developing the auto industry’s masterplan Judging by a number of high-level presentations at last month’s inaugural NAACAM Show, a strategy shift is underway within South Africa’s automotive sector Celebrating the NAACAM Show’s success… (from left): The association’s Executive Director, Renai Moothilal, President Dave Coffey, the Mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede, and Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies
ne of the most noteworthy aspects to emerge from last month’s NAACAM Show in Durban is the insight gained by motor industry representatives into Government’s vision of a new masterplan for the sector. In addition, the show turned the spotlight on the full spectrum of South Africa’s automotive manufacturing value chain, offering a composite view of products and procedures developed by OEMs, suppliers, black-owned businesses, tyre companies and service providers. In his keynote address, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies reaffirmed government's support for South Africa’s automotive sector and said learnings which informed the new masterplan “were not based on countries that have abandoned support of the auto sector.” Davies said he was pleased to see an array of component suppliers at the show – an indication of the depth and breadth of the supply chain, which included black industrialists, a number of who had entered the space with support from OEMs or Tier One suppliers. On the strategy front, Davies said any beneficiary of future automotive
20 - MAY 2017
policies would need to demonstrate a contribution to black-supplier development and localisation which would be “central to dealing with stubbornly high unemployment levels.” Dr Justin Barnes, one of the architects of Government’s new masterplan, said achieving a 60% level of localisation would have a significant impact on the South African economy, including the creation of 49 000 new jobs and an additional R68-billion in GDP. Barnes said the masterplan and its associated policy levers, which would replace the Automotive Production Development Programme (APDP) in 2020, was at an “advanced stage of development” and that further details Carl Icahn would be shared soon.
Andrew Kirby, President of Toyota SA Motors – who represented the National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) at the show – said he was “encouraged that we have gained alignment in the overall picture of the masterplan and the acceptance of its key targets for the sector.” Dave Coffey, President of the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), termed as “significant” the acceptance by industry role-players of the need to increase local content in manufactured vehicles from the current level of 38,5% to 60%. “Given the fact that approximately three times the number of jobs is
“In this regard there is a renewed sense of urgency and move to action, which is significant,” he said. “It is not business as usual.”
created in component manufacturing than in vehicle assembly, there is commitment across the board to deepen levels of local content. This responsibility falls as much with Tier One component manufacturers as it does with OEMs,” he said. Irvin Jim, Secretary General of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), said the industry faced “serious challenges” which business and social movements needed to address together. He suggested the development of an agenda to highlight issues – “otherwise we will have no one else to blame.” Reflecting on feedback from 13 conference sessions held at the show – attended by up to 500 automotive
executives and policy makers – Coffey said so much was learned and, while there were always different views, platforms such as that which had been offered by NAACAM helped sector participants to find each other. “Members of the South African automotive sector value chain are clear that the key long-term outcomes of growth, increased localisation and transformation are inextricably linked. The NAACAM Show entrenched that view. On that score I am delighted with the outcome,” he said. Coffey added that in his view, all South African automotive role-players understood that transformation and the inclusion of black-owned suppliers in the value chain was not negotiable.
In his summation, NAACAM’s Executive Director, Renai Moothilal, reinforced the networking and profiling value of the event. “This really is a showcase for the full spectrum of South Africa’s automotive manufacturing value chain,” he said. “The conference and exhibition reinforces what collaborative action in this sector will bring.” Moothilal said more than 140 meetings had been set-up between suppliers and buyers as part of the Durban Automotive Cluster's National Localisation Indaba, which aimed to facilitate local contracts for products mainly being imported into South Africa. “In keeping with the spirit of always improving and while satisfied with this year's event, I am convinced that the next NAACAM Show – which will take place two years from now – will build on this base.” • For more insights into the NAACAM Show, see David Furlonger’s INSIDE LINE report on P24.
Empowering township traders
eeding government’s call for radical economic transformation, Sumitomo Rubber SA launched at the NAACAM Show its Dunlop Enterprise Development Programme which aims at empowering township entrepreneurs through employment creation, skills transfer and training. Though the company has worked for the past five years to unlock small business ownership in the informal sector, the official launch of the initiative was seen as being a transformational catalyst. Riaz Haffejee, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber SA, said the company took a decision in 2012 to pursue the programme with a view to broadening its role in economic inclusion by accelerating transformation and helping to alleviate challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. In terms of the initiative Dunlop branded containers are transformed into tyre fitment centres, providing opportunities for unemployed youth and women to be trained and mentored in tyre sales and repair. “By fostering greater entrepreneurial activity in townships and informal areas, the Dunlop Enterprise Development Programme encourages self-employment and stimulates job creation,” he said. Sketching the background to the programme, Haffejee said Sumitomo had become aware of many informal tyre businesses in townships which had little access to reputable tyre manufacturers – though there was a market for professional services. “As a responsible corporate citizen, we saw it as our role to make safe and high quality products available to this market, using our iconic Dunlop brand. The programme was the first of its kind and it has become a key focus area in Dunlop’s distribution channel growth strategy. “With the support of a widely recognised brand, the programme has
22 MAY 2017
already enjoyed exponential growth and success,” he said. “Though the informal economy functions according to different entrepreneurial rules, it is not disconnected from the first or formal economy. “We have acknowledged this, and can demonstrate that, through proper skills transfer and training, township tyre traders can run profitable and sustainable enterprises that offer stable selfemployment and livelihoods.” Haffejee said since inception, 83 Dunlop container tyre outlets had been established in townships across South Africa, 17 of which were based in KwaZulu-Natal. More than R50-million worth of tyres had been sold by the outlets. Speaking at the opening of the NAACAM Show, KwaZulu Natal’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental
Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, lauded the tyre manufacturer’s efforts. “When we talk about radical economic transformation, we are talking about programmes like this. True transformation can only take place when previously disadvantaged individuals are given access to more economic opportunities that allow them to participate in the mainstream of the economy,” he said. As testament to the value that the programme has imparted, Smangele Dladla, owner of container-based Stormza Tyres in Ntuzuma, told the audience at the launch event: “For five years, I was a vendor selling food by the roadside. Today, I have my own business and employ two staff members. “Since becoming a Dunlop tyre trader, my business has really taken off and I am proud to be offering top-class service with an established brand behind me.”
MAY 2017 -
TRANSFORMING SA’s motor industry The Department of Trade and Industry has informed vehicle and components manufacturers that, if they hope to access the Automotive Production and Development Plan’s automotive investment scheme (AIS), they will have to actively show their support for black supplier development. David Furlonger reports Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies (left) inspecting locally produced automotive products at last month’s NAACAM show in Durban
t’s time for the motor industry to walk the transformation talk, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. Government is cranking up pressure on all levels of the motor industry to create more black participation. One of the goals of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), which has governed the industry since 2013, is to increase the level of local content in South African-made vehicles. The intention was that much of the growth would be provided by black-owned companies. It hasn’t worked out that way. According to Dave Coffey, president of the National
24 MAY 2017
Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM), of the hundreds of suppliers dealing directly with vehicle manufacturers, only 16 are black-owned. And what they mostly supply is not assembly-line parts but other goods, like product manuals. All the way down the supply line, it’s a similar story. The industry is dominated by white business. The problem, says Coffey, is that there have been no direct transformation deadlines. Not any longer. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has already informed vehicle and components manufacturers
that, if they hope to access the APDP’s automotive investment scheme (AIS) in the future, they will have to actively show their support for black supplier development. At last month’s NAACAM conference in Durban, Davies spelled it out even more clearly. Government and industry talks on a successor to the APDP are well under way. Companies hoping to benefit from its various incentives will have to meet tough BBBEE levels that include measurable black supplier development. Another of Davies’ ambitions for the post-2020 period is to increase average
INSIDE LINE says it takes five to seven years to mentor a company to the stage where it can compete independently. That means not only producing highquality products at a competitive price, but also being able to do so consistently. Owners need to be trained in finance, supply chain management, marketing and all the other skills required to run a company. But can the motor industry afford to spend seven years on each company, when government policy demands instant transformation? Coffey says no. There needs to be a constant production line, starting now. Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies delivers his address as NAACAM’S Executive Director, Renai Moothilal and President Dave Coffey look on
local content in South African-made vehicles from its present 38% to at least 60%. That word “average” may be a sticking point. There is no formal APDP target. The 38% happens to be the average of performances ranging from over 70% to barely 30%. By imposing a future average, Davies risks alienating high achievers like Volkswagen SA, Toyota SA and Ford Southern Africa. They have started to make clear their displeasure of the idea that they could be penalised for the failure of other companies. At VWSA, where local content is already over 70%, MD Thomas Schäfer puts it succinctly: “Why should we have to increase our contribution further so someone else can slack off?” Local content isn’t vehicle manufacturers’ only worry. All seven of the current major producers are wholly foreign-owned. In order to meet new BB-BEE codes, suggestions have included foreign parents ceding 10% of their South African subsidiary to local partners.
Though such joint-ownership models are commonplace in China, the idea has not been greeted warmly here, where the market and profits are a fraction of those in China. Another suggestion, say industry executives, is profit-sharing, with companies paying into a central fund to be used for black industrialisation. Major components suppliers face a similar challenge. Most of them are also foreign-owned so must also find innovative ways of making their industry blacker. The most practical place to increase participation is down the supply chain. Components companies dealing directly with vehicle manufacturers are classified as Tier One suppliers. They are provided with sub-components by Tier Two which, in turn, leans on Tier Three. Davies hopes most future localisation growth will come from Tiers Two and Three. But to develop new black companies will take time. David Masondo, CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Council (AIDC),
One of the difficulties in breaking into the motor industry, he says, is the cost of equipment. So NAACAM member companies – and, indeed, non-members – are being encouraged to hive off non-core activities to black owners. In a perfect world, these would be the people already working there. For example, a metals company could hive off a press plant but keep using its output in the business. Experienced staff would already be in place, avoiding disruption of supply. But they would need mentoring on running the operation as a sustainable enterprise. As they grew more successful, they would be able to take their products to other customers. “What I want to see in coming years,” says Davies, “is Tier Three companies becoming Tier Two, and Tier Two becoming Tier One.” Now all the industry has to do is make it happen!
David Furlonger is the industrial editor of Business Day and Financial Mail
MAY 2017 -
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MARCH 2017 -
ASSOCIATION OF THE MONTH
On two wheels South Africa’s RMI-affiliated Motorcycle Dealers Association (MDA) remains fully committed to promoting and expanding the industry for the benefit of its members, says director Jeff Molefe
he Motorcycle Dealers’ Association (MDA) remains committed to enhancing the image and business of motorcycling in South Africa by pro-actively engaging in all relevant issues that affect the industry. By continually supporting, organising forums and advocating ways in which to stimulate sustainable growth in the sales and services sector, the MDA is committed to helping motorcycle dealers overcome problems and challenges. Through its active involvement in the Technical Committee of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the Association is in a position to advise members regarding legislature and regulatory requirements that govern the industry. Despite economic pressure, part of the MDA’s objective is to ensure that the motorcycle industry is promoted, protected and expanded for the benefit of its members. NEW MOTORCYCLES SALES Over the past three years, the industry has experienced a severe decline in sales of new motorcycles, mainly as a result of South Africa’s weak currency, the constrained economy and a change in homologation rules. Lachlan Harris, the National Director of the Association of Motorcycle Importers and Distributors (AMID), recently confirmed that the total number of new motorcycle registrations fell by about 23% in 2016, volumes dropping to 17 899 units compared with 23 304 units in 2015. Honda, which has the most comprehensive range in South Africa’s sales sector, retains the highest market share with 16,6% of new registrations, followed by BMW with 15,6%.
28 MAY 2017
The depreciation of the rand remains a concern mainly because there is no local manufacturer of motorcycles – all units, parts and most accessories are imported. On the positive side, the majority of bike workshops have recorded a steady increase in repairs and services – including those involving specialised off-road and sporting bikes – mainly due to consumers prolonging ownership of their machines. Analysts have forecast that, despite the country’s economic dip, general confidence levels are set to gradually improve, resulting in market growth. While sales of motorcycles are likely to continue to face challenges in the short term, the fact remains that two-
wheelers offer a solution to issues such as the rising cost of transport and traffic congestion. BENEFITS OF MOTORCYCLING Driven by its mandate from members, the MDA’s focus is on promoting the many benefits of motorcycling with a view to creating an environment in which the activity can flourish. As a viable alternative to a car, a motorcycle offers many advantages and solutions. It is paramount that Government, relevant bodies, media and members of the public become aware that motorcycles and scooters can reduce traffic congestion and are an affordable means of personal transport. Other benefits of owning a bike include lower insurance premiums; reductions in
journey time; easy urban mobility and a cleaner environment, since many classes of motorcycle or scooter meet ultra-low emission criteria. Further, the biking community is, to a large extent, endowed with a spirit of philanthropy and goodwill, as evidenced by the many charity rides with which its members are associated. In the view of the MDA, the time is ripe to highlight and present the many benefits and advantages of motorcycling to help embed a two-wheel culture in the mainstream of South Africa’s transport infrastructure. This can be achieved by promoting and placing motorcycling in the spotlight, lobbying the Department of Transport, engaging with the media, circulating creative positive reports and organising awareness events and campaigns. SAFETY The MDA is in full support of calls to improve the safety of riders through road
infrastructure, clothing protection, rider training and awareness of other road users. It is worth reiterating that teaching motorists how to share the road with motorcyclists should form an integral part of compulsory road safety education. In this respect, the MDA will continue to be the unified voice of the motorcycle industry in ensuring that authorities develop and sustain a safe environment
in which motorcyclist can ride.The MDA’s growth and ability as an association to provide valuable and successful initiatives and programmes is only possible through the support, passion and dedication of its stakeholders. As Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple, once remarked: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.”
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APRIL 2017 -
NADA & Sewells honour Businesses of the Year Retail motor dealerships intent on improving profitability have a great motivator in the NADA/Sewells-MSX International Business of the Year competition
ive motor franchises shared retail dealership honours in the recent 2016 Business of the Year (BOTY) competition organised by the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) and Sewells-MSX International. The awards presentation, held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and Conference Centre, saw dealerships representing Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Toyota and Volkswagen take overall wins from 21 finalists in five categories. Based on analysis of financial operating data submitted each month by more than 1 000 dealerships countrywide to Sewells MSX International SA – an outsourcing and consulting company which specialises in the automotive industry – the awards honoured retail outlets which best achieved on an annual basis.
The presentation he majority ceremony of RMI marked Regional the 18th year Executive in which members the awards in the had been made Western andCape was supported – as well as by WesBank, retired TransUnion Executive Britehouse, members – Tracker, recently Gumtree, attended Henkel, a special iX, Seriti, Regional Africa Analytics Executive andMeeting Wilken Communications. at which they enjoyed lunch and exchanged Winner stories of of theyears Large gone Dealership by. of the Year category was McCarthy Toyota N1 at the gathering, thedealer picture shows: City,Taken Cape Town, under principal Back, left to right; Johan du Toit, Ray speech, Peter Vermaak. In his acceptance Matthews, Eduann Naude, Eric van der Vermaak used the Sewells Merwe, said Pieterhe du Plessis, Willem Burger, MRA Nicky model to Johnny identify to Pieter Thorpe, vanopportunities Niekerk, Chris Blom, improve Claassen, theCharles dealership’s Canning, performance Charles Baxter, in Johan Merwe, Dunn and Michael terms ofvan its der return onAbe operating assets. Meyer. Front: Jakkie Olivier, Ferose Oaten, Roy Bastick, Rod Hulley, Jock Wood and Joy Oldale
He said the team at the dealership saw its strategic plan for 2016 as a living,
32 - MAY 2017
From left: Alan Golden, Bruce Allen, David Emond – winner of the Most Improved Performance Group Member – Warren Olsen and Rudi du Toit
breathing, programme that needed to be actionable and flexible. The results indicated a dynamic daily approach to bullet-proofing the business, ensuring that all areas of sales and after sales were optimised. “I have the benefit of an enthusiastic team which is driven by a competitive spirit. We focused on the dealership’s potential, rather than a specific target,” he said. Winner of the Medium Dealership of the Year category for the second successive
year was BB Auto Ford of Polokwane, headed by Thys de Kock. He said he had already set a benchmark as winner of the category in the 2015 competition. De Kock said his management team and staff members were the driving force behind the dealership’s continued success. “We operate as a sales-driven operation with F&I not seen as an administrative function, but rather as the control room for structuring every deal to optimise margins.” The Small Dealership of the Year winner
From left: Jeff Osborne, Bruce Allen, Gerhard van Zyl – winner of the Commercial Dealership of the Year – Warren Olsen and Dejean Nicholson
From left: Wayne de Nobrega, Bruce Allen, Thys de Kock – winner of the Medium Dealership of the Year – Warren Olsen and Nick Tuttelberg
was the Super Group’s Leon’s Mazda of Rustenburg, under dealer principal Christo Henning. A finalist on two previous occasions, Henning said he saw the dealership’s success coming from a seamless approach to customer service – from the initial sales lead to the total after-sales experience. Henning also gave credit to Mazda SA which, he said, had implemented systems and processes that were customer-friendly, and had helped the dealership to rebuild the Mazda brand using several innovative marketing activations. The Commercial Vehicle Dealership of the Year category was a new addition for the 2016 competition. The first-time winner was NTT Volkswagen Motors,
From left: Cornelius Nell, Bruce Allen, Christo Henning – winner of the Small Dealership of the Year – Warren Olsen and Candy Perry
From left: Mark Finlayson, Bruce Allen, Peter Vermaak – winner of the Large Dealership of the Year – Warren Olsen and Jacques Wilken
East London, where the dealer principal is Gerhard van Zyl.
margin before volume, banking quality customers and avoiding desperate deals.
According to Van Zyl, maintaining regular contact with fleet owners ensured that the team never missed a sales or service opportunity, with the service department excelling as it delivered exponential growth.
This resulted in better margins from private sales, made possible by leveraging the dealership’s reputation for honesty and integrity and by finding ways to add real value, not discount value, to every deal.
The final award – that of the Most Improved Performance Group Member – went to David Emond, dealer principal of Emond Auto General Motors in Durban North.
Warren Olsen, the CEO of Sewells MSX International SA, described the Business of the Year competition as a wonderful motivator for dealerships intent on improving their profitability.
He said his team knew from conservative economic forecasts for 2016 that it would have to change the way it did business to return a reasonable trading profit. Accordingly, it adopted a strategy of
“We have worthy winners and are now looking forward to these awards proving a spur to other dealerships to get into the winners’ circle in the 2017 competition,” he said.
MAY 2017 -
SAMBRA meets in Bloemfontein
he first meeting of SAMBRA’s Free State and Northern Cape Regional Committee for 2017 took place in March at the MIBCO offices in Bloemfontein. The meeting was well attended, some members travelling from as far afield as Kimberley, Kuruman and Welkom to be there. In her welcoming address, SAMBRA’s National and Regional Chairperson, Jeánne Esterhuizen, expressed her appreciation to those who had journeyed long distances to make their voices heard.
Other topics covered included B-BBEE, VDQ registration, changes to Mazda’s recommended repair programme, and Competition Commission-related matters.
In their presentations, Esterhuizen and the Association’s National Director, Eddie Martin, explained SAMBRA’s revised strategic objectives for 2017.
Part of the agenda included a presentation by Candice Trican, of Guardrisk, on the RMI4Sure product, in which interesting and applicable
examples of claims concerning motor body repair were explained. SAMBRA will keep members posted on upcoming regional meetings and the AGM scheduled later this year. Any matters can be communicated by e-mailing Abie Kriek (abie.kriek@rmi. org.za) or Eddie Martin (eddie.martin@ rmi.org.za).
RMI calls for talks with new Minister of Transport
ollowing the appointment of Joe Maswanganyi as Minister of Transport in President Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle, the CEO of the RMI, Jakkie Olivier, issued the following statement:
to corruption within the motor- and vehicle-testing industry. Ongoing corruption in certain sectors of the roadworthy industry impacts negatively on road safety and on the economy as a whole.
“The RMI notes the appointment of a new Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi.
“The RMI has been at the forefront of implementing solutions to these and many other problems relating to traffic management. We are reaching out to the Minister in the hope that he will establish communication and engagement with the RMI, so that we can support the efforts in road safety and anti-corruption initiatives.
“While each new Minister inevitably brings a loss of momentum to various initiatives, we would like to assure the Minister of our commitment to alleviate the ongoing road carnage in our country. “We further express our support for a zero tolerance stance with regard
34 - MAY 2017
“We strongly believe that 15 000 deaths on our roads each year is totally unacceptable and dialogue with the
main role players such as ourselves, with a view to implementing workable solutions, will be of great benefit to the country.”
Joe Maswanganyi, new Minister of Transport
Pegasus wheel bearing kits are manufactured from high quality bearing steel and are packaged in a new design, user friendly, high quality box. They are tested with “state of the art”, precision equipment that measures: • Roundness • Hardness • Metallographic composition • Contact angle • Roughness profile • ABS measuring In order to ensure that these bearings all perform to reduce rotational friction, and to support radial and axial loads. These bearings are manufactured for OEM use
APRIL 2017 -
Double whammy! All the fun of Partinform fairs in Stellenbosch and Bloemfontein. Greg Surgeon reports
artinform’s third trade show of the year was held last month at the Ilanga Estate in Bloemfontein. About 190 visitors from various Free State automotive businesses attended.
in Stellenbosch. Held at Hudson’s Conference Venue near the town, the event drew about 90 visitors. Sponsors for the evening were Fram, GUD, Monroe and Schaeffler.
Throughout the evening there was great activity at all stands with many questions being asked about the various brands on display. Later, information gleaned from the experts proved helpful when Partinform’s popular quiz show was held, participants having to answer questions about a number of products that were show at the event.
Partinform shows, which move around the country on a monthly basis, have proved popular among members of the automotive aftermarket. The aim of the events is to promote the use of high quality parts, with representatives from a number of automotive brands stressing the importance of safe and reliable components.
While all finalists received prizes sponsored by Contitech, Gabriel, Holts, and Sabat, the quiz was won by Jeanne de Beer from Diesel Electric Automotive Bloemfontein, who said she was looking forward to attending Partinform’s end of year celebration at which winners of all quiz shows would take part in a go kart race organised by MCP Rental Karts.
The RMI is proud to be associated with Partinform and its members and recognises the hard work and effort that goes into each event. Looking ahead, the next Partinform show will be held this month in Tzaneen in Limpopo.
The prize for the stand judged the best at the event went to Willard Batteries, which had on display a number of new products from its Powertech and Sabat ranges. Pieter Smal, representing Exide Batteries – who has just been appointed vicechairman of Partinform – said he had settled in well and was looking forward to meeting the challenges his new position would inevitably bring. A few weeks previously, Partinform’s second show the year took place
36 - MAY 2017
MAY 2017 -
COMPETITION COMMISSION hosts aftermarket workshop The RMI has offered its full co-operation to the Competition Commission to help reach a workable solution for all stakeholders regarding perceived exclusionary practices in the motor industry Jakkie Olivier
elegates at a recent Automotive Aftermarket Workshop – hosted in Pretoria by the Competition Commission – presented their views on the need for change regarding perceived exclusionary practices in South Africa’s motor industry. Billed as an information gathering session to bring together industry stakeholders, the workshop was attended by representatives from a number of motor industry sectors. Vishal Premlall, Director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), said the insights shared were valuable. “There was broad agreement among stakeholders that the existing status quo was exclusionary and unsustainable and could not continue,” he said. In his address to the Commission, Premlall said MIWA directly represented more than 2 500 independent aftermarket workshops ranging from start-ups to well-established, five-star businesses and, indirectly, a further 5 000 or so non-member enterprises. He said today’s motor industry consumers were locked into restrictive warranties that were of long duration, which denied them the right to choose
38 - MAY 2017
where to have their vehicles serviced. “Similarly, while their vehicles are under warranty consumers are compelled to pay a much higher rate for repairs and parts, compared with prices charged by independent workshops.” Premlall said the parts price issue had already received wide and concerted international coverage, the most recent being in India where that country’s Competition Commission ruled against 14 car companies which were found to be engaging in price manipulation. “While we understand the foreign direct investments that motor manufacturers put into South Africa have natural benefits like job creation, we are also aware that the automotive aftermarket employs a greater number of employees with a far higher value creation in South Africa.
competitive regulatory environment that would enable freedom of choice for consumers and which would give the aftermarket’s small and medium enterprises a better chance to stay in business. “Consumers have been facing tough economic times for a considerable period now, so we welcome the Competition Commission’s efforts to investigate methods of finding a workable solution that will not only relieve the burden of consumers, but also facilitate discussion between industry stakeholders,” he said. In her address, Viviene Pearson, a representative for the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), pointed out that insurance premiums were becoming unaffordable partly as a result of the high cost of vehicle repairs.
“As it stands, the model is slowly squeezing out little businesses at the bottom of the chain, which are trying to remain sustainable in an already difficult market,” he said.
“Only 35% of cars in South Africa are insured, mainly because consumers are under financial pressure. Alternate quality parts do exist and could go a long way to bringing down the price of insurance premiums if used in vehicle repairs,” she said.
Premlall added that there had been a longstanding need for a fair and
Equally, Leonard Smith, representing the South African Auto Repairer and
Salvage Association, said the time was right for reform. He said that prior to 2002, technical skills had formed the basis of many types of vehicle body repair.
Further, he pointed out that it was an OEM’s right to protect the integrity of its products while it was the custodian of the insurance product that covered defects – the warranty.
for a considerable period to engage with industry stakeholders. We are, therefore, delighted to see that the Competition Commission has finally put the topic in the spotlight.”
Sisa Mbangxa, representing the African Panel Beaters and Motor Mechanics Association (APMMA), described accreditation processes imposed by OEMs as exclusionary.
Hardin Ratshisusu, Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Commission, said it was his view that many regulations governing the motor industry were in need of an overhaul. He asked stakeholders to consider the introduction of a voluntary code – with consequences for defaulters – with a draft to be formulated in the next six months.
“After that it became all about investment as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) started dictating which specialised and expensive equipment needed to be used. “Many workshops simply could not afford to comply. And there are further barriers to entry. Even those who have achieved compliance still don’t get work,” he said. Bruce Allen, who spoke on behalf of National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), said that in line with global trends and South Africa’s drive for the consumers’ right to choose, the Competition Commission discussion was relevant – worthy of further debate. He warned, though, that due to the complexity of vehicles – and resultant skills required to understand the technology and build design – ensuring that vehicles were worked on by people with the correct skills and tools was imperative to protect consumers in terms of vehicle integrity and safety.
“OEMs keep using safety as a reason for restricting access to vehicles under warranty. But what about the 70% of vehicles on our roads not under warranty? Is their safety less important?” he asked. Mbangxa added that the APMMA supported the MIWA-driven Right2Repair (R2R) campaign, an initiative started locally in 2013 – and affiliated to the International R2R Coalition – with the aim of enabling consumers to make their own choices regarding vehicle service providers in terms of maintenance and repair. “The primary focus of R2R is to champion a workable solution for South Africa’s consumers,” said Premlall. “MIWA’s members are very active in this regard and have worked hard
Jakkie Olivier, CEO of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) – a broadly representative collective voice for the automotive aftermarket in that it represents 14 different trade associations – confirmed that the Organisation would be convening workshops with its members to prepare a draft code which would be submitted to the Competitions Commission for consideration. “We will offer our full co-operation to the Commission to help reach a workable solution in the best interest of all and we are willing to take the lead on this initiative, together with affected stakeholders,” he said.
MAY 2017 -
‘Foundries need to modernise’ Government pledges support to expand demand for South Africa’s foundries as the sector continues to decline
he Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was expanding supply-side support for local metals and components manufacturing, according to Director General, Lionel October. In addition, October said South African metal casting businesses needed to transform in terms of human capital, innovation and sustainability to arrest the decline of the sector and compete on a global scale. A total of 25 foundries have closed in South Africa since 2010, shedding 1 600 jobs. About 170 foundries remain in operation, directly employing about 9 500 people. The statistics emerged at a Metal Casting Conference held recently in Johannesburg, which included the World Foundry Organisation (WFO) Technical Forum as well as the 7th BRICS Foundry Forum.
“Along with demand-side initiatives, such as local procurement designations, this support will help to grow demand,” he maintained. The conference included a number of national and international industry presentations, academic papers and technical papers. Metallurgy, technology and processes were covered in industry and technical presentations as well as academic streams, while 28 exhibitors participated in the exhibition. John Davies, CEO of the South African Institute of Foundrymen, said: “Foundries need to embrace and adapt to new manufacturing technologies of the fourth industrial revolution by being informed of the latest research and developments. While there are challenges, ultimately there is a need to modernise for sustainability.”
In his address at the conference, October said the Government’s next Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) emphasised the importance of supporting the metals and casting industries to modernise and grow.
Some of the challenges faced by foundries include the cost of complying with new regulations, such as air emissions standards, which put a strain on the budgets of small and medium sized businesses.
“This requires support in terms of research and development, human resource development and supply-side support in the form of incentives for the metals and agro-processing industries.
Additionally, foundries also have to deal with a lack of off-take agreements and high levels of capital investment requirements due to ageing infrastructure and capital equipment.
40 - MAY 2017
“The foundry industry in South Africa Director General, Lionel October is mature and many foundries have the capacity and capability to produce for designated sectors, including those that export,” said Ashley Bhugwandin, Manager of the National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN). He said that through the DTI, the NFTN aimed to make funding available for recapitalisation and to address low utilisation through technical and regulatory support, engaging with local buyers and developing the industries’ collective capacity and capabilities. Collaboration emerged as an important factor in success for foundries. To this end, discussion sessions were held that focused on information sharing to collectively address common issues and improve knowledge on new technologies. One common issue identified was the shortage of young people in the industry and the need to improve skills. Accordingly, the Foundry Forum, in conjunction with the World Foundry Organisation, hosted a collaboration workshop with international and local industry players to find practical and immediate actions to drive the growth of the global industry.
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ulian Pillay, newly appointed director of NAZA
Technical expert Jake Venter explains why a substance that doesn’t burn can improve a combustion engine’s power output
– reducing the likelihood of harmful detonation and increasing power output since every combustion event had a tendency to occur conventionally.
Harry Ricardo, a famous automotive research engineer, experimented by injecting small amounts of water into intake manifolds, and he found that, as the water entered, it absorbed some of the heat energy from the surrounding mixture.
Water injection has been used since before World War II to cool down air/ fuel mixtures on both piston-engined and turbine propelled aircraft. The feature has been employed mainly in short bursts to increase power on take-off or during dogfights, one of the drawbacks of continuous use being high fuel consumption since a rich mixture is needed to ensure effective combustion.
This had the effect of cooling the mixture, the temperature drop being carried through to the combustion process
COMBUSTION Both petrol and diesel engine fuels are mixtures of various hydrocarbons
hen engines were equipped with carburettors that could not accurately measure the amounts of fuel being squirted into combustion chambers, it was noted that the units ran smoother when there was a lot of water vapour in the air.
44 MAY 2017
– substances containing hydrogen and carbon. Combustion is a chemical reaction that takes place between the components and the oxygen in the air and, if the process is perfect, only water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) will be formed. However, combustion is seldom perfect, so that some carbon molecules cannot find enough oxygen to form CO2 and instead form carbon monoxide (CO) – an odourless, killer gas. The amount of carbon monoxide that is generated is closely related to the amount of excess fuel in the mixture that is being supplied. In addition, small amounts of nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides are formed
from the nitrogen in the air and sulphur impurities in the fuel. Also present are small amounts of unburnt hydrocarbons – mainly soot. These components, as well as carbon monoxide, are to a large extent rendered harmless by a catalytic converter. PETROL COMBUSTION In a petrol engine, a single flame initiated by a spark starts the combustion process. At 3 000 revs/min a single up or down stroke is completed in 0,01 seconds, with combustion taking about 40% of that time – 0,004 seconds. As the flame front grows and advances, the temperature – and hence pressure – of the mixture rises. So called end gas occupies a shrinking space as the flame approaches. If the temperature rise stays below a critical value, combustion proceeds in an orderly manner but, if the temperature rise exceeds that value, there’s chance that the end gas will ignite before the flame gets there. This is called auto ignition and results in such a rapid release of chemical energy that audible shock waves are formed. These travel through the engine and can damage pistons and other components. Sometimes auto ignition can be detected by the driver as a repeated pinging sound. To get rid of it, spark timing requires retardation. Modern engines often employ one or more knock sensors to warn the ignition processing unit when combustion is rough. The unit then retards the spark timing in ¾ degree steps until the knocking stops. From time to time the processing unit will automatically advance timing to optimise combustion, the setting remaining static in its new position only if no knock is detected. WATER INJECTION IN PETROL ENGINES The BMW system BMW employs water injection to enable a higher compression ratio to be combined with advanced ignition timing in order to increase power output. In the six-cylinder engine employed in the M4 – which is built by the M Division – there are three water
injection valves in the manifold’s plenum chamber, each supplying two cylinders. In the boot of the car is a five-litre water tank which houses a pump, sensors and valves. The computer-controlled system feeds water to the injectors at a pressure of 10 bar in amounts determined by engine load, temperature and speed. The minute amounts of water injected into each cylinder can be gauged from the fact that, when motoring at moderate speeds, a refill of the water tank is required only at every fifth fuel stop. There is also an automatic diagnostic system that revokes turbo pressure and spark advance when the water tank is empty or if a malfunction is detected within the injectors. After the engine has been turned off, water in the system is returned to the frost-proof tank so that it cannot freeze. DIESEL COMBUSTION In a diesel engine there are lots of separate flames created by fuel burning in the hot air that results from a high compression ratio. The injection of fuel into combustion chambers occurs at speeds of between 100m/s and 200m/s – 360km/h to 720km/h. About halfway across the combustion chamber the liquid jet turns into a vapour jet because of the high temperature. The average injection process starts at about 15 degrees before top dead centre on the compression stroke and stop at 5,5 degrees after top dead centre. Every drop that leaves the injector nozzle has first to vaporise before it can burn, and about 90% of the injected fuel vaporises within 0,001 seconds. This cools the immediate surroundings so that the evaporation rate slows down. Every fuel molecule has to make contact with oxygen in the air before it can ignite. This process is speeded-up considerably by the high fuel injection speed and the high temperature, as well as the swirl and turbulence inside the combustion
chambers created by piston movement and the piston-top shape. There is a delay – called ignition delay – from the time the injection process has started until enough heat has been liberated to sustain continuous combustion. At the end of this period small fires break out wherever the mixture is close to being chemically correct. Multiple flame fronts now spread rapidly and consume any fuel/air mixture that is close to chemically correct. A rapid rise in temperature and pressure follows, resulting in a reduction in vaporisation time and ignition delay for the remainder of the fuel still to be injected. The further course of the combustion process is controlled by the rate at which fuel can be injected, atomised, vaporised and mixed into a state where a combustible air/fuel ratio can be reached. Diesel engines are blamed for causing a lot of smoke, but they only produce soot when too much fuel is injected. Experience has shown that as long as there is about 20% excess air in the combustion chamber, carbon particle production will be minimal. A diesel engine produces more unburnt carbon particles when under heavy load, but produces less carbon monoxide than a petrol engine because at least 20% excess air is generally present in the combustion chambers. WATER INJECTION IN DIESEL ENGINES One advantage of water injection for diesel engines, compared with EGR and a catalytic converter, is the increased
TECH TALK possibility of reducing NOx over the entire engine range with no negative effect on particle matter emissions. NOx production is accelerated at high combustion temperatures but evaporation of water has a cooling effect. Experiments are being conducted regarding three different ways of injecting water. Using separate injectors makes it easy to control the water/fuel ratio. The cooling effect obtained is claimed to reduce NOx production by up to 42% and, in combination with EGR, by up to 82%. However, modifications needed for the engine – and the controls required – make the set-up costly. Another method involves the injection of an emulsified water/fuel mixture. This may help to improve atomisation and mixing, but the method also requires the installation of expensive and complicated emulsifying equipment.
Intake manifold water injection systems are relatively inexpensive and are widely used on large marine diesels, whereby water is administered via a separate valve so that it does not interfere with fuel flow. The system has been successful in reducing NOx emissions across a spectrum of engine loads. DISADVANTAGES OF WATER INJECTION One expects that production installations – such as that developed by BMW – will be hassle-free, but the same cannot be said of some DIY kits that have been advertised for sale on the Internet for many years. DIY installations are risky for a number of reasons, not least being the possibility of rust developing on uncoated engine parts – especially if the vehicle is not used every day. While additives are available to help to prevent the problem, another risk is that the water injection control system may
malfunction and deliver more water than it should. Since water is incompressible, conrods will suddenly come up against a solid substance that will bend them with ease. I’ve seen bent conrods from an off-road vehicle that has gone through water – it’s a very interesting, if depressing, sight. Further, if water injection has been introduced in order to increase the compression ratio and advance ignition timing and the system fails due to a malfunction or an empty water tank, the engine will most likely self-destruct.
Jake Venter has worked as a mechanic, as an engineer in an engine assembly plant and as a lecturer, but now prefers journalism.
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46 MAY 2017 Enquiries:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 www.automobil.co.za 483-1002
How Audi has made the revolutionary, lightweight body structure of its upcoming A8 even lighter – but at the same time, stronger – than that of the predecessor
udi is looking to write a new chapter in the history of lightweight design. The weightbearing body structure of the next generation A8 will be made up of four different lightweight materials – a greater number than has previously been used in any of the brand’s production models. According to company spokesmen, the new A8’s low mass – coupled with greater rigidity – is aimed at offering better performance, efficiency and safety. At the centre of the claim is an amalgam of aluminium, steel, magnesium and carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP)
48 MAY 2017
that will be used for the first time in the car’s space-frame chassis. “The right material in the right place and in the right amount,” says a statement which maintains that the company consistently applies new material technologies and designs as a means of directly benefitting customers. According to the statement, the upcoming flagship’s torsional rigidity – a critical parameter for precise handling and refined acoustics – surpasses the excellent values of its predecessor by a factor of about 25%.
Anchoring the design is an ultra-highstrength, torsionally rigid rear panel made of CFRP – the largest component in the passenger cell – which contributes about 33% to the torsional rigidity of the total vehicle. “To optimally absorb longitudinal and transverse loads as well as shearing force, between six and 19 fibre layers are placed one on top of the other, ensuring a loadoptimised layout,” says the statement. The individual fibre layers consist of tapes 50mm wide which are individually mounted to minimise trimming while
the lower section of the front bulkhead, the side sills, the B-pillars and the front section of the roof line.
Looking ahead to the new A8… for the first time, Audi will use a mix of four materials – aluminium, steel, magnesium and CFRP – in the body structure of its new A8, claiming the flagship model’s reduced weight and increased strength offer improved performance, efficiency and safety
adhering to desired placement angles. “The innovative direct-fibre layering process specially developed for this purpose makes it possible to entirely dispense with the normally needed intermediary step of manufacturing large fibre sheets,” says a spokesman. “Using another newly developed process, the layered package is coated with epoxide resin and sets within minutes.” A high-strength combination of hotformed steel components make up the occupant cell, which comprises
Some of the sheet metal blanks are produced in varying thicknesses using tailored technologies – meaning they are customised in terms of the positions in which they are used – while others undergo partial heat treatment. The result is a reduction in weight and an increase in strength, especially in areas of the vehicle that are critical for safety. Aluminium components make up 58% of the new body, the largest share in the mix of materials. Cast nodes, extruded profiles and sheets are the elements characteristic of the space frame design. Here, too, the characteristics of materials have been driving progress. New heattreated, ultra-high-strength cast alloys attain a tensile strength of over 230 Mega Pascals (MPa), with the corresponding yield strength in tensile tests rated at over 180 MPa. Profile alloys are rated at 320 MPa – significantly higher values than seen previously. Rounding out the intelligent mix of materials is a magnesium strut brace. A
comparison with the superseded model shows that it contributes to a weight saving of 28%. Aluminium bolts secure the connection to the strut tower domes, making them a guarantor of the body’s high torsional rigidity. In the event of a frontal collision, forces generated are distributed to three impact buffers mounted in the nose. In addition to the complete redevelopment of the space frame for the next generation car, the production halls at the Neckarsulm assembly have been specially built for the upcoming flagship. A total of 14 400 metric tons of steel were needed just for construction of the new, 41-metre-high body shop, twice as much steel as was used for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The highly complex yet energy-efficient production operation uses 14 different joining processes, including roller hemming for the front and rear door cutouts. This mechanical, cold technology is used to join the aluminium side wall frame to the hot-formed, ultra-strong steel sheets at the B-pillar, roof line and sills. The engineers thus realised improvements of up to 36mm at the door cutouts compared with the predecessor.
MAY 2017 -
That in turn makes getting in and out of the car easier and widens the driver’s field of vision around the A-pillar, an area that is key to safe driving. As for the warm joining processes, Audi stands alone among the premium automakers by virtue of its development of remote laser welding for use with aluminium. Exact positioning of the laser beam in relation to the welding edge considerably reduces the risk of hot cracking during the production process. The procedure makes it possible to precisely control the penetration depth of the laser by means of heat input. In this way, process control can immediately determine the gap width between parts being joined, and this can effectively be closed using regulating controls. The laser beam’s high feed rate and low energy use reduce CO2 emissions of the production process by about a quarter. Also, the step results in a 95% saving on recurring costs in series production because it eliminates the need for expensive process controls that are required for conventional laser welding. “The remote laser welding technology perfectly symbolises the entire production process of the new Audi A8,” says the spokesman. In 1994 it was the first generation of this luxury saloon, with its aluminium unitary body, that made the Audi Space Frame an established presence in the automotive world. Since then the company has built more than one million production cars using the design principle, and it has been continually building upon its knowhow in the use of materials and joining techniques.
50 - MAY 2017
Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Group – owners of the Audi brand – has outlined production plans for upcoming Q8 and Q4 models as it accelerates its push into the SUV/crossover market. The automaker will start production of the Q8, which will be its flagship, next year at the Volkswagen Group’s assembly plant in Bratislava, Slovakia. Q4 production will start in 2019 at Audi’s factory in Gyor, Hungary. The SUVs will increase Audi’s competitiveness "in an extremely important segment," the automaker's production chief, Hubert Waltl, said in a statement. Audi is expanding its SUV/crossover lineup to seven models by 2019 from four now, and expects that sales of the vehicles could account for up to half of its total
global volume – up from a third now. The coupe-styled Q8 will join Audi’s Q7 at the top of the Q lineup. The Q7 is already built in Bratislava, alongside its platform siblings, the Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. Volkswagen also builds the Up at the factory. The Q8 – which is based on a concept model revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January – is said to combine spaciousness with emotive design and will offer the latest technologies in assistance and infotainment systems. The Q4, which will also have coupe styling, will be a niche model. It is expected to resemble the TT Off-Road concept car which was shown at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Audi currently produces Audi A3 and TT models at the Gyor facility.
PEACE OF MIND ALWAYS JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY
WHEN YOU REACH A BUMPY STRETCH IN YOUR CAREER, IT’S COMFORTING TO KNOW THAT THE MOTOR INDUSTRY STAFF ASSOCIATION (MISA) IS ALWAYS JUST A PHONE CALL AWAY.
As a MISA Member, should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a retrenchment, dismissal, unfair labour practice, or other labour dispute, MISA’s Legal team of experts is always just a phone call away. MISA provides professional advice and representation at Conciliation, Arbitration, Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, where required, at no additional cost to members. We also assist members with disputes on Collective Agreement contraventions by their employers, disciplinary hearings, and grievance processes and 100% of all settlement amounts or awards are paid to the member.
Where to find MISA MISA Head Office Tel: (011) 476-3920 Fax: (011) 678-4537 Email: email@example.com Website: misa.org.za
With a weekly membership fee less than the cost of a cappuccino in most coffee shops, can you afford not to join the Intelligent Alternative? Peace of Mind in Labour-related Matters | Sound Advice & Support when you need it most | Study Assistance | Collective Bargaining | Free Wills for Members | Exclusive SAF Benefits www.automobil.co.za
MARCH 2016 -
Even if an employee is deemed to have deserted the workplace, he or she is entitled to a procedurally fair and just hearing before dismissal can be effected, says Douw Breed, a director at Barnard Incorporated Attorneys
52 MAY 2017
unning a business poses its own set of challenges â€“ facing further challenges leads to immense frustration and places unnecessary strain on employers and employees. Having to deal with these problems consumes valuable time â€“ and one of these taxing aspects may include employees who desert the workplace. If such an incident occurs at your business, it is pre-eminent to determine what constitutes desertion â€“ also known as abscondment. There is no specific time period stipulated in law which would, for it to elapse, qualify as desertion.
A reasonable time should be given for absence to be classified as desertion. For example, five days may perhaps be considered a reasonable period in one workplace, while a much longer period could elapse in another before desertion could be alleged. One of the important characteristics of desertion is whether or not the employee intends to return to the workplace. This is an essential point to consider when determining correct procedures to follow. In Khulani Fidelity Services Group v CCMA and Others  7 BLLR 664 (LC) the court confirmed that the
LABOUR employee must have the intention to never return to the workplace before absence can be regarded as desertion. In this matter, the employee sent his medical certificate to his employer to justify his absence and therefore his absenteeism could not be regarded as desertion. In an employment contract, an employee commits and agrees to render his or her services to an employer for the duration of the contract. In circumstances where the employee deserts the workplace, such absence could be regarded as repudiation of the contract – which the employer can either accept or reject. The repudiation theory was confirmed in the matter between SACWU v Dyasi  7 BLLR 731 (LAC), where acceptance on the employer’s part resulted in the employee’s dismissal. However, for dismissal to be fair, procedural and substantive components need to be adhered to. This means an employer is obliged to hold a disciplinary hearing which conforms to all procedural aspects. A notice of desertion must be issued, along with notification that a disciplinary hearing will be held. The notices should be delivered to the employee at his or her last known address. As stated, it is advisable for an employer to take all necessary steps to establish the intention of the employee. If the last known address proves inaccurate, the employer is required to take further steps to ascertain the whereabouts of the employee. Examples of action to be taken include (but are not limited to): Phoning and e-mailing the employee; making use of social media; inquiring from
fellow colleagues or family members regarding his or her whereabouts or making inquiries at the last known address. The information is necessary to establish to which address to send the notices of desertion and of the disciplinary hearing. Importantly, the employer has to keep proper records of all efforts that have been undertaken to obtain the relevant information. Termination of an employee’s services in absentia may be justifiable if the employee has not informed the employer of his or her whereabouts, providing that all procedural aspects relating to the termination have been adhered to. The employer should also bear in mind that even in the event of an employee being dismissed because his or her whereabouts could not be established, such dismissal may be overturned in circumstances where the employee can provide justifiable reasons and concomitant proof regarding the facts of absence.
The effect of an inactive designation on the payroll means that the employer is not obliged to contribute to the UIF, rendering the employee a noncontributor at the fund. Also, the employer is not obliged to contribute any other statutory payments. If the employee occupies an important position in the workforce which needs to be filled, the employer may consider employing someone else on a fixed term contract which lasts for the duration of the original employee’s absence. However, it is advisable that an employer carefully considers the above, bearing in mind amendments to the Labour Relations Act. To sum up: Desertion is not only a challenge within any workplace, but it also places an administrative burden on the employer. However, complying with relevant procedures and establishing the intention of the employee mitigates the risk of wasting valuable time in resolvingthe issue.
Alternatively, should the employee feel that the dismissal is unfair, he or she has the right to refer the matter to the CCMA within a stipulated time frame set out in the Commission’s rules. Should he or she fail to do so, the matter could still be referred at a later stage provided the employee advances justifiable reasons for failing to comply with the CCMA’s rules. An alternative remedy for an employer would be to signify the employee’s status as “inactive” on the payroll until such a time that he or she is located or makes his or her appearance at the workplace, whereupon the formal notice of a disciplinary hearing regarding the abscondment can be issued.
Douw Breed (BCom (NWU) LLB (NWU)) is a director at Barnard Incorporated Attorneys , Centurion www.automobil.co.za
Protecting your own A trademark may be one of the greatest assets that a business can ever possess. Louw du Toit, of Barnard Incorporated Attorneys, explains why
n the highly competitive market place, businesses are required to invest an essential amount of time and money in developing new and innovative products and services in order to compete with opposition businesses and ensure their survival. This investment directly contributes to the building of a brand that, in turn, attracts goodwill in the market place. Customers associate the quality of the products and services to a name and build trust and loyalty towards it. Consequent to this reputation and clientele which a business attracts through good service and products, often other businesses, unimpressively so, capitalise on that hard work by imitating the original products or services â€“ perhaps unlawfully so. Mostly, these products or services are not of the same quality as the originals and this could lead to the proprietor business suffering damages or dilution of the brand. A trademark may be one of the greatest assets that a business can ever possess. A registered trademark is an asset which has value. It may be licensed, franchised, sold and even provided as security for a loan. For example, a brand like Apple constitutes a name on a product which is indicative of the quality that can be expected from the manufacturer and, in addition, determines the price that the owner may ask.
54 MAY 2017
In registering a trademark a business protects its identity. Under the Trademarks Act a business is afforded protection against others using the same or similar trademark to identify their business and or products. This means that should a business or individual institute action against an infringing party, it need only prove that it is in possession of a lawful trademark registration. The burden of proof then rests on the infringing party to prove that it is not acting unlawfully and infringing on the rights of the business which owns such registration.
The registration of a trademark offers the owner concrete proof of its legally protected rights and eliminates the need to rely on common law. In common law, a business or other proprietor is afforded protection against infringement through the law of unlawful competition and, in particular, under an action of passing-off. However, quite the contrary to trademarks, in common law the burden of proof is on the owner of the business whose rights are being infringed. He or she has to prove that the other party
is passing off a copy of a product or service as its own. This means that the infringed party has to comply with all the requirements for an action of passing-off, which include, amongst others, that it has a reputation in the industry.
This aspect is often quite difficult and costly to prove, especially when the infringed party is not well-known or does not possess the commercial footprint of its competitor. Proving a reputation in the marketplace may lead to costly research and high legal bills.
A trademark is defined as a mark used to distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. This can be in the form of words, drawings, signs, symbols, colours or combinations thereof.
A trademark can be a slogan, name, logo, a specific shape or a combination thereof. The following facts should be considered when registering a trademark: • It takes approximately two years to register a trademark; • In terms of Section 9 of the Trademarks Act, a mark must be distinctive and be able to distinguish goods and services from the same kind of goods or services which are connected in the course of trade with another; • Section 10 of the Trademarks Act places prohibitions on the registration of marks and lists the negative attributes which trademarks may not possess;
A trademark can therefore only be registered and remain on the register if it is distinctive, as defined in Section 9, and if it does not contravene any of the provisions of Section 10; Trademarks are territorial and registration grants rights only in the country in which the trade mark is registered. If a trade mark owner wishes to use and protect his trademark in more than one country, application for registration has to be made in each of the territories; Trademark registration is subject to classification in one of 45 different classes. The first 34 classes relate to goods and the remaining 11 classes relate to services – banking, construction, transport and education; It is possible for a product or service to be registered in more than one class; and Businesses have to renew their trademarks every 10 years.
Considerations when registering a trademark: • Be creative in choosing a trademark – ensure that your mark distinguishes your products; • Be pro-active and protect marks from inception – this may prevent unnecessary time and resources spent protecting unregistered marks by way of passing off; and • Businesses should seek the advice of a professional in ascertaining in what class to register marks. Registration in the wrong class may render inefficient protection.
Louw du Toit of Barnard Incorporated Attorneys, Centurion RMI4Law members enjoy the benefit of legal advice from an attorney 24 hours a day. If you wish to join RMI4Law, call 0861 668 677.
RMI UPDATE Answers by experts to questions recently received by the RMI Q. What does MIBCO do? A. The Motor Industry Bargaining Council (MIBCO) is responsible for maintaining industrial peace and stability in the automotive sector, providing services to about 21 000 employers and about 300 000 employees throughout South Africa. It facilitates collective bargaining of employment conditions such as wages, salaries and hours of work, as well as the settlement of labour disputes through the Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC). Q. Can you explain what the Labour Relations Act governs? A. The Labour Relations Act (LRA) governs how employers and employees interact with each other in the ADVERTISERS AUTOMOBIL workplace and sets out the rights and obligations of trade unions and employer organisations.
rights of individuals in the workplace, with the emphasis on fairness, bargaining and dispute resolution. Q. Why do we have an Occupational Health & Safety Act? A. The OHS Act aims to protect the health and safety of people in the workplace, taking into account the type of work they do or the job-related activities in which they are involved. In the interests of maintaining a healthy workforce, is mandatory for employers to comply with all aspects of the Act.
The certificate will then be forwarded to MIBCO for adoption. The employee may not practice as a qualified technician until such time as the validation process is complete. This situation arises because MIBCO has received many fraudulent certificates through the years. However, if legally permitted to work in South Africa, the prospect can be employed as a repair shop assistant under supervision of a qualified technician within the business until such time as the validation process is finalised. To lodge an application to employ a foreign national as a qualified technician, log on to http://www.saqa.org.za. Check under SERVICE: Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications – Online Application. You can also telephone the Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications Call Centre (012) 431 5070.
Q. Can you tell me what the situation is regarding the employment of a foreign national as a qualified technician in South Africa?2017 EDITION FEBRUARY A. If an employer is planning to employ a foreign national as a qualified technician, the employer must submit the prospective employee’s original trade qualification certificate to the It is not concerned with terms and South African Qualifications Authority conditions of employment but rather the (SAQA) for evaluation.
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56 MAY 2017
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Gearing up for action Having a step-by-step action plan at the ready will help you to effectively manage HIV/AIDS in the workplace
hile companies may recognise that HIV/AIDS has an impact on the workforce in terms of levels of productivity, absenteeism, lowered morale and increased costs, they are often less clear on how to respond and manage these risks. This article looks at the need for a well-designed step-by-step action plan. An action plan is important for the successful implementation of an HIV/AIDS programme. It’s a tool through which a company’s vision and commitment is communicated, encouraging transparency and a sense of ownership.
• It encourages a more focused approach, and outlines responsibilities and accountability. A step-by-step plan enables ongoing monitoring, allowing for timely adjustments and changes, so that problem areas can be isolated and managed without jeopardising the entire programme. What would an action plan typically include?
Background and motivation for the plan – why put a plan together? Overall vision of the company’s HIV/AIDS management programme – what is it trying to achieve? Specific primary and secondary objectives of the programme; Activities related to each objective – break down objectives into bitesize blocks; Indicate who is responsible for each activity – make each person involved accountable; Indicate budget allocation – how much money is assigned and who can spend it? Indicate how the success of each activity will be measured – what are the deliverables? Is it the number of people trained, or possibly a reduction in absenteeism? An expected timeframe for each activity – i.e. when does the activity need to be completed by?
needed to implement the plan, key players responsible for these can be identified and briefed. The overall budget for the programme can be divided into more manageable chunks, and progress can be tracked according to agreed timelines. Deviation from expected outcomes can be identified timeously and managed accordingly. Participants can be held responsible for welldefined portions of the plan, and can easily measure their own progress. Routine reports on the progress of the programme can be structured around the deliverables and associated timeframes and budget.
Contact Redpeg for accredited HIV/AIDS workplace training, consulting and research. email@example.com | 0861 REDPEG or (011) 794 5173 | www.redpeg.co.za)
The plan in action Once you know what activities are
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58 MAY 2017
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Adding up the numbers To help make your start-up a success, run down this checklist before you embark on operations, say the advisers at global business coaching company, ActionCoach
t ActionCoach, we’re often asked by would-be entrepreneurs and start-up business owners what skills and abilities they need to develop to truly succeed in business. That's always a tough question for us to answer. We’ve always believed that, in order to really achieve, aspiring entrepreneurs need to learn as much as they can about everything and anything that has to do with business That said, there are two main skills new business owners need to cultivate and acquire to be a great entrepreneurs, along with five other skills on which they need to focus to really get a sense of what it’s like to successfully run an enterprise. 1. Become a generalist. While there is a drive toward specialisation in every area of our lives, the person who commands armies is called a general. Being a generalist allows you to have a lot of flexibility as a business owner. It means you have to know the fundamentals of how a business works, as well as how all the independent parts work together to create success. 2. Know the numbers – yours and everyone else's. Numbers are great! They can be a significant motivational force in your business and your life. Numbers are also the language of business, so you’ll need to become
fluent in them and familiarise yourself with a number of different formulae and key benchmarks if you want your business to succeed. 3. You should start by knowing the size of your target market, the number of companies currently competing in that space, the types of revenues they are generating and the kind of profit margins they are currently running. 4. Treat your current job like an apprenticeship to being an entrepreneur. Your best ally in your position is time. Use it to leverage your knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t), and learn as much as you can about what drives sales and profits, because those are lessons you can use at some point in the future. 5. What can you learn from your current position that will help you down the road? What don't you know about your current company’s operations that you could learn in terms of sales, marketing or accounting that could broaden your understanding of business generally? 6. Work more jobs. Would you open a restaurant for the first time without ever having worked in one before? Maybe you wouldn't, but we’ve had clients who did. And the results weren't pretty. To avoid this fate you
need to find ways to work in the type of business you are thinking of starting. 7. Learn the value of systems – they are the keys to creating better and more profitable businesses. Until you can learn to systemise fundamental processes, you’ll forever be reinventing the wheel. 8. Get good at sales. In business, nothing happens until a sale is made. If you are the owner of a company, you will be expected to generate sales. Sure, you can hire out this function but experience has shown us that initially, your customers are going to want to first buy from you. 9. Learn the rules. You can't play a good game if you don’t know the rules or objectives. So get some grounding in the legal aspects of business, tax codes, licensing requirements and jurisdictions. This is especially important for homebased businesses and professional service providers. 10. While there are a number of other things you need to learn and adopt to succeed in business, this list is a good place to start. There are few truly new things under the sun. So build on the intellectual capital of those who have gone before you. It’s more valuable now than ever before.
ActionCoach assists business owners to significantly grow their profits and develop their entrepreneurial skills. To find out more about business coaching or to receive a complimentary consult and a business health check, log on to wwwactioncoach.co.za.
60 MAY 2017
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The RMI welcomes these new businesses into membership
Member’s Trading Name A ACC Equipment Parts & Tyres ACD Randburg ACD Service Centre Roodepoort AU Tech Motors Auto Magic Strydom Park B Bosch Rivonia Auto Expert C Car Care Clinic Valley View Cedar Isle Auto Ceraj MB-EM Auto Works CJ Kleyns Auto Services D Dent Doctor Weskus E EGO Mechanical Services Engen Petrolew Limited Eurospec Auto Extreme Rides F Ford Hermanus G GO Power & Developments – Bosch H Henco Autocheck Centre HGZ Autobody & Spraypainters J JOJOHE Friendship Panelbeaters K Kidrogen Kwikfit Port Nolloth
City/Town Pretoria Randburg Roodepoort Plettenburg Bay Randburg Sandton Muldersdrif Sandton Cape Town George Vredenburg Witbank Cape Town Lenasia Nelspruit Hermanus Springs Bellville Pretoria Pretoria Cape Town Port Nolloth
BENEFITS OF BELONGING
With a membership of 7 500, the RMI provides a very effective collective voice that gives members considerable clout in negotiating better trading conditions. As the lead voice in the motor industry, the RMI is a member-driven organisation that constantly seeks solutions to concerns raised by members in the day-to-day running of their businesses.
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Member’s Trading Name City/Town L Linkpe Motor Engineering Centurion M Metrepair Midrand MIT Auto Parts Durban Durban MMD Towing & Recovery Services Ulundi Modern Auto Services Strand P Pongola Toyota Pongola Put Straight Auto Body Repairs Midrand Q Quin Automotive Roodepoort S SA Biotech Johannesburg Sasavona Motors Hammanskraal Sasol Houghton Johannesburg SDL East Vehicle Testing Station Pretoria Star Stop Milly’s Machadodorp Suburban Motors Durban Sweet Matat Motor Repairs Matatiele T TD & HB Auto Repairs Pretoria Tyreplus Rustenburg Rustenburg U Unique Motorsport Pretoria V V M Auto Electrical & Air Conditioning Repairs Richards Bay Van Zyl’s Autobody Pretoria Volvo Cars Pinetown Pinetown VW and Audi Service Centre Kempton Park X Xlint Hyundai New & Used Spares Pretoria
ADVERTISERS AUTOMOBIL – MAY 2017 EDITION CLIENTS
Aer O Cure
011 444 6454
Africa Automotive Aftermarket Solutions
011 879 6000
19 & 35
42 & 43
Autocosmos Biz (Electrolog)
012 327 6210
Automobil Association Technical College
011 799 1068
012 450 2222
Grove Auto City
011 483 1002
Gumtree South Africa
011 100 8600
Moto Health Care
0861 000 300
10 & 11
Motor Industry Staff Association
011 476 3920
Precision Power Components
0861 887 267
7 & 58
011 453 0924
011 651 9600
15 & 39
031 910 3111
Silver Falcon Trading
083 628 2288
62 & 63
Snap On Africa
IFC & 59
26 & 27
Contact: Natalie Nelson Operations Manager: Gauteng Automotive Learning Centre Tel: (+27) 12 564 5076 FEBRUARY MAY 2017 2017 45 65 Email: NNelson@aidc.co.za
Car makers promise ‘robotaxis’ in four years The race to get self-driving vehicles on the road now has a clear finish line, with Daimler joining BMW, Ford and General Motors in deciding that the feat will be accomplished in 2021. TU-Automotive’s Andrew Tolve reports General Motors (GM) bought Cruise Automation for more than a billion dollars in 2016 and has a similar target date, as do mobility companies Waymo and Uber.
uman history often turns on a single year – the printing press of 1440; the first powered airplane of 1903; the first computer, Colossus I, in war-torn England, in 1943; and, if carmakers have their way, the first commercially available self-driving car of 2021. Recently, Daimler became the latest carmaker to promise a fully self-driving vehicle by that date. As you will have seen in a report on Automobil’s news pages, auto supplier Bosch is on-board to help accomplish that lofty goal. The two companies say they will work together to bring fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) driving to urban roads by the beginning of the next decade. That’s just four years away. BMW announced the same target date earlier this year and has partnered with Intel and Mobileye to make it happen. Then there’s Ford, which says that it too will have fully self-driving cars commercially available by 2021. It recently invested $1-billion (about R13,86-billion) in start-up tech firm Argo AI to kick-start the initiative.
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It’s important to note that none of the carmakers is promising fully self-driving vehicles for private customer purchase. Instead, the focus is on ridesharing and putting robot taxis on the road to cash in on the new paradigm of on-demand mobility. Daimler said as much in its announcement and Ford made a similar promise last month at the Society of Automotive Engineers International World Congress, noting that self-driving cars for consumers may not hit dealerships until 2026 or perhaps even as late as 2031. In other news, there has been a flurry of activity recently on the car-sharing front. The PSA Group took its car-sharing service, Free2Move, to the United States, holding the launch at Los Angeles airport. Free2Move incentivises car owners to rent their rides with free parking at set locations plus rental income for use of the cars, while car users pay approximately 50% less than traditional car rentals. PSA is creating a new North American entity devoted to the programme. Audi announced plans to take over 100% ownership of car-sharing company Silvercar, which streamlines the rental
process by offering only one vehicle type – silver A4s. Customers make bookings using an app, with each deal completed in a matter of minutes. The auto brand has held a minority share in Silvercar since 2015. It says it plans to use the service as a springboard to pursue a range of mobility applications.
Meanwhile the new Mercedes-Benz S Class will come with an impressive suite of ADAS when it goes on sale later this year. Automatic steering, automatic braking, assisted lane changing, speed limit monitoring and pedestrian detection and avoidance are included. More impressive is the fact that these can be combined into fully autonomous driving given the right situation, like a wide open country road. Also, the fact that each feature is responsive to real-time data from the car’s map and navigation systems, allows the vehicle to predictively reduce its speed ahead of bends, junctions, roundabouts or toll booths. Finally, Hyundai is building a new Internet of Things platform that will be integrated into its vehicles starting in 2018. The Connected Car Service Platform is broken into two bins: Home to Car voice controlled operations that allow drivers to start their cars and open or close doors through speech; and Car to Home options that connect customers with smart home services, including lighting, climate control and audio systems. The connectivity services went on display recently at the 2017 Seoul Motor Show.
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