Thumbs up

Automatic gearbox options on Hino trucks are gaining traction in the fleet market with the most recent ‘thumbs up’ coming from Riaan Harmse, who is the fleet logistics controller for Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), the largest Coca-Cola bottler in South Africa.

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“We haven’t had many Hino trucks in our fleet previously, but I was impressed when we had the latest models with automatic transmission for extended evaluation,” says Harmse.

“We have used Toyota Dyna light trucks for many years, but only purchased the larger, Hino 300 Series trucks a few years ago when they were offered with the option of automatic transmission. We then waited until the Hino 500 Wide Cab range with automatic derivatives was launched before we ordered our first Hino 500 models.”

Launched first in the 300 range, in 2015, the auto option is now available on most models in the Hino 500 Wide Cab range of trucks of 16-tons and above.

The national CCBSA fleet currently includes 38 Hino trucks, mainly 300 815 and 500 1627 long-wheelbase models. The 300 models are used mainly for special promotional events. These include some trucks that have been fitted with special Serco van bodies which double as an entertainment stage with professional music and sound systems.

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The 500 Series trucks are used for a variety of tasks, including the delivery and collection of coolers. The Dynas work hard servicing vending machines.

A study into building special drop trucks for smaller retail outlets is currently underway, using Hino trucks as the prototypes. They have van bodies with lockable roller doors and can be operated by the driver only.

The CCBSA fleet, which has been consolidated following the merger between non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink bottling operations of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller, and Gutsche Family Investments, is made up of more than 6 200 pieces of equipment, which consist of trucks, trailers, cars, light commercial vehicles, forklifts and motorised pallet jacks. Owner-drivers operate the vast majority of the trucks and truck-tractors, but all the trailers are company owned.

The fleet operates from 12 major sites and then there are about 100 distribution partners which assist with deliveries from various sites close to the market place. The fleet moves in excess of one million cases of beverages daily and operates 24/7 with many night-time deliveries to major customers. The delivery volume can move up to 1,5-million cases a day during the festive season and then additional trucks are hired in – as many as 150 trucks at peak demand periods.

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The CCBSA fleet has just been awarded RTMS accreditation after an exhaustive process.

“It was a big task, but it will be very beneficial to our fleet operations going forward,” says Harmse.

He added the company had a huge focus on road safety with all trucks having both tracking systems and in-cab cameras to monitor driver behaviour.

The latest initiative has been the acquisition of two sophisticated driver simulator rigs which will be mounted in 8-metre dry freight box bodies, so they can be moved around the country. All drivers will in future have to undergo annual evaluations on these simulators as well as physical, on-road assessments to be issued with a CCBSA drivers’ licence.

“Our safety drive includes speed governing to a legal 80km/h limit and full operational checks done at each service, whether it is carried out by a dealer or at the on-site workshops at each depot,” added Harmse.

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Shattered glass

You have all seen the movie. You know the one – a winding road in the middle of nowhere, a skid, a crash and the car ends upside down in the river with the music building to a massive crescendo as the occupant(s) race against time to undo their seat belts and….SHOCK! HORROR!…cannot break the glass to escape.

The hero type who arrives in the nick of time to save them is, sadly, not the likely scenario in real life where cars actually do crash and rollover – espeially not on that long and winding road far from the madding crowd.

It is difficult to describe the aftermath of a roll, even when this does not involve being upside down and under water. There is shock, disorientation, disbelief and panic.

What is true is the fact auto glass is a lot stronger than it might appear and even side windows are hard to break with bare hands or even feet.

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As a product you should have but hopefully will never need, the LifeHammer has a spring-loaded ceramic tip to shatter glass and an integrated seatbelt cutter. The small hand-held unit can easily be mounted in the car within reach.

Simply pressing it against the glass will cause the hammer action to work.

The LifeHammer has been developed by Life Safety Products in the Netherlands.

 

Toothy grin from Seven

With a front end grin not too dissimilar to that of Lightning McQueen of the Disney Pixar ‘Cars’ movie franchise, the profile of new BMW 7 Series is ‘being sharpened’ according to the company.

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Only the Long Wheel Base models will be available when the car goes on sale in South Africa in the second quarter of 2019 (BMW 745Le xDrive, BMW 750Li xDrive, BMW M760Li xDrive and BMW 730Ld).

The line-up of power units for the new BMW 7 Series has also been updated and includes a new eight-cylinder engine, a six-cylinder in-line unit and plug-in hybrid systems offering extended electric range. All of the model variants already meet the stipulations of the Euro 6d-Temp emissions as standard.

The longer body variant translates its extra 14 centimetres of wheelbase into a similar on-board space gain for the rear seat passengers. The long-wheelbase (5 260 mm) is 22 millimetres longer than its predecessor. The new model’s width and height remain unchanged.

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The extensive design refresh at the front end – which now rises 50 millimetres taller at its foremost point – plays a particularly prominent role in giving the new BMW 7 Series its more powerful visual presence.

The new bonnet has more sharply cut contour lines and a larger BMW roundel. The dominant force of the reworked front end is the BMW kidney grille, with its single-piece surround, whose surface area has grown by some 40%.

Inside, the luxurious ambience features Nappa leather with extended quilting added to the options list.

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Optimised acoustic comfort – achieved via carefully executed refinements around the rear wheel arches, B-pillars and seatbelt outlet covers in the rear of in the new BMW 7 Series – help to enhance on-board comfort over long distances. Added to which, the side windows and rear window have thicker glass, either as standard or as part of the Comfort Glass option (depending on the model).

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The choice of power units for the new BMW 7 Series includes petrol and diesel engines with six, eight and 12 cylinders, as well as an all-new plug-in hybrid drive system. Topping the range is the 6,6-litre V12 engine at the heart of the BMW M760Li xDrive, which produces 430 kW (fuel consumption combined: 12,5 l/100 km) that now comes with a gasoline particulate filter to minimise emissions.

Meanwhile, the BMW 750i xDrive features a newly developed V8 engine with 4,4-litre displacement and maximum output raised by 60 kW to 90 kW.

The plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series take all of the luxury sedan’s sporting prowess, passenger comfort and feel-good ambience and combine them with exceptionally high efficiency and the ability to offer a virtually silent, all-electric driving experience with zero local emissions.

Their plug-in hybrid system now employs a specially adapted six-cylinder in-line petrol engine and a more advanced high-voltage battery. As a result, the system can unleash a combined output of 290 kW with the Driving Experience Control switch set to SPORT mode.

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The combined fuel consumption of the BMW 745e, BMW 745Le and BMW 745 Le xDrive is between 2,6 and 2,1 l/100 kilometres with CO2 emissions between 48 and 59 g/km. The three models achieve an electric range between 50 and 58 kilometres.

Three highly efficient and low-emission six-cylinder in-line diesel engines, each with 3,0-litre displacement and up to four turbo-chargers round off the drive system line-up for the new BMW 7 Series.

Under the bonnet of the BMW 750d xDrive is a 294 kW engine, while the power unit fitted in the BMW 740d xDrive develops a maximum 235 kW and the 195 kW engine for the BMW 730d
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The construction of the chassis, suspension and damping systems, steering and the braking system are designed to facilitate both relaxed cruising undisturbed by inconsistencies in the road surface and a sporty, active driving style.

All variants of the new BMW 7 Series feature, as standard, adaptive suspension including electronically controlled dampers and two-axle air suspension with automatic self-levelling. Among the options customers can choose from are Integral Active Steering and the Executive Drive Pro chassis system available for all models except the plug-in hybrid variants.

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The Driving Assistant Professional provides a comprehensive package of functions aimed at making driving as comfortable and safe as possible. They include the Steering and lane control assistant with Traffic Jam Assist, the Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection, the evasion aid, the Cross Traffic Alert, Priority warning and Wrong-way warning systems, plus Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function.

The standard-fitted Parking Assistant helps the driver with parking and manoeuvring. In addition, it now includes the Reversing Assistant, which can reverse the car for distances of up to 50 metres by steering it along exactly the same line it took when moving forward.

The new BMW 7 Series comes with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional as standard. This comprises a navigation and multimedia system, together with a digital, high-resolution instrument cluster behind the steering wheel with a screen diagonal of 12,3 inches and a Control Display measuring 10,25 inches across.

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is another element of the operating system. The digital companion can be activated with the spoken prompt “Hey BMW” and helps the driver to use various vehicle functions. What’s more, he will keep acquiring new capabilities all the time thanks to the updates transmitted seamlessly by Remote Software Upgrade.

The driver and passengers can also use natural voice commands with the help of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant to activate the Experience Modes and the vitality and relaxation programmes, which offer need-based compositions of various functions – such as interior lighting, air-conditioning, fragrance and shading, not to mention seat massage, heating and ventilation.

Local pricing to be announced soon.

Geared up in Cape Town

It’s another petrolhead party at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World as the Cape Town Motor Show (CTMS) returns on March 2 – with one lucky visitor going home with a custom MG at the 2019 show.

This special project will boast a complete rebuild, some unique Cape Kustoms elements and a 3,9-litre Rover V8 engine.

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Now in its third year, the CTMS has grown to become a motor show that rivals some of the best in the world, and this year’s show promises to yet again deliver an even bigger and better spectacle.

The show spans the length and breadth of GrandWest and features a complete range of domestic and imported passenger cars, bikes and trucks, as well as sport utility vehicles and experimental or concept cars.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see numerous accessories and auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles, antique and collector cars, engine modifications (pimped-up rides), a Sound Off competition, virtual simulations, car wrapping, drifting, a large 4X4 outside area, live music and much more!

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Soundmatch will deliver a world class Show & Shine, with a wide range of the finest cars showcasing custom builds, with a few being premiered on the day. The entertainment will include an internationally recognised Sound Off competition in association with IASCA (the standard by which mobile electronics performance is measured). For the passionate entrants of the Sound Off, the louder the sound the greater the chance to win!

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After their successful debut at CTMS last year, Dusty Rebels and the Bombshells will be back, offering visitors an experience of the good old days of Rock n Roll.

Be trackside for some wheel spinning, tyre smoking and sideways action brought to you by XS Promotions. The popular drift car displays will run all weekend and spectators are welcome to either watch from the sidelines or, for those brave enough, join the experts as a passenger as they take you for the spin of your life.

The Wildebeest 4×4 Challenge Club will again host 4×4 tracks built for all classes of vehicles to challenge technical skills as well as the different vehicle capabilities. Off-the-showroom floor 4X4s as well as extreme 4X4s will be showcased, and visitors can purchase tickets to try this out for themselves.

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The impressive Grand Arena will host the best of the best of the top manufacturers and dealers, showcasing new cars and concepts in South Africa, including some past brands such as Shelby, Road to Race, Audi, BMW, VW, Ford, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Peugeot, Subaru, Jeep and Alfa Romeo to name a few. The Grand Arena will also once again have interactive test driving, following on from the success of this area in the 2018 show.

The Nostalgia Zone will take you back in time to the “Good Ol’ Days’ with vehicles dating as far back as the 1920s. These are among the most rare and unique in the world. Check out the beautifully restored vehicles and the products that make it possible for these classics to be modified back to their original manufactured or showroom conditions.

Due to popular demand these fine cars will be found in their own dedicated area and there will be up to 80 cars on display.

 

60 years young

MINI joins the ‘Big Boys Club’ this year and, 60 years after the first one was launched, celebrates the milestone with a special edition package in British Racing Green.

To mark the anniversary, the automobile manufacturer presents a design model that highlights both its British origins and the agile MINI character.

The special edition will be available in South Africa from June 2019 onwards as a MINI 3 Door and MINI 5 Door, each with two engine variants.

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Sports car designer John Cooper was an especially strong believer in the compact four-seater’s race track potential. In collaboration with Alec Issigonis, the creator of the classic Mini, he developed ideas for variants of the small car with a more powerful engine, thereby laying the foundations for an exceptional career on racing circuits and rally tracks, culminating in three outright victories at the Monte Carlo Rally in the 1960s.

The design model’s 60 Years logo appears not just on the left-hand bonnet stripe but also on the side scuttles of the turn indicators and on the door sill finishers at the driver and front passenger doors. Inside the car it can also be seen on the model-specific interior trim finishers, front headrests and steering wheel.

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The standard equipment of the edition vehicles includes a sports leather steering wheel along with sports seats in the leather finish MINI Yours Leather Lounge 60 Years and the exclusive colour Dark Maroon.

In conjunction with the equipment package 60 Years Chili, the edition vehicles also feature such items as LED headlights, LED fog lamps, white turn indicators and LED rear lights in Union Jack design, the lighting package for the interior and also the MINI Driving Modes and the MINI Excitement Package complete with ambient lighting. There is also an on-board computer, automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor and a storage package on board.

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Two petrol engines with an output ranging from 100 kW to 141 kW provide the drive portfolio for the MINI 60 Years Edition.

Little crime fighter

The ever-increasing incidences of theft from slow moving trucks and light commercial vehicles is creating migraine sized headaches for business owners.

In order to help combat this, vehicle tracking and telematics provider, Ctrack, has launched its BX500 and BX600 range of wireless, ultra-compact GPS tracking devices.

Ideal for use in cars, trucks and motorcycles, quads, golf carts, delivery vans and generators, the new devices are also designed to track non-powered assets such as containers, trailers and packages.

Both BX models are ultra-compact, meaning either unit can be concealed in cargo easily and both have enough memory to record 25 000 trips.

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Featuring adaptive tracking, these devices make use of accelerometers as well as data from GPS transmitters, to intelligently detect movements and send live updates. Either model can be scaled to provide continuous tracking information or just once a day in order to preserve internal battery life.

The BX500 model is powered by removable Lithium batteries, which can last up to four years when providing a single, daily tracking update.

With a robust internal battery pack, the BX600 model can be recharged using the provided micro-USB cable and compact charger. Several BX600 units were recently used to monitor the progress of the recent Sasol Solar Car Challenge, with great success. Each device recorded an average of 96 hours of driving time, having been charged once before the event commenced.

The BX600 model is further equipped to detect tampering. This feature makes it ideal for high-value cargo applications and both tracking devices are enclosed in rugged housings made from sturdy ABS/Polycarbonate plastics.

Ctrack’s BX units can be remotely configured and updated over the air and, using a single micro-SIM, can be configured to roam across multiple 2G, 3G or 4G networks in South Africa.

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With either of these devices, business owners can now be in control of every aspect of their business, knowing where all their assets are and whether they have been moved or not.

Game farm and nature reserve managers now also have the ability to see where their mobile assets are when out in the field.

Furthermore, those needing to better optimise and control their mobile assets – such as delivery motorcycles – can also benefit from Ctrack’s lightweight tracking solutions.

By simply dropping the Ctrack BX devices into a bag or cargo hold, Ctrack can discreetly show you where your assets or deliveries are going, as well as how to better plan their next movements.

Aiming for the top

With very little time between finishing the marathon Dakar event and strapping himself into a Hyundai i20 Coupé for the start of the Monte Carlo Rally, Sebastian Loeb is going to be a busy man and a core element of the Korean manufacturer’s chase for the title.

Hyundai Motorsport is unequivocal about its intentions to compete once again at the front of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with its sights set on the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles.

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The team finished as runners-up in 2018, for the third time in a row, having taken the title fight down to the wire. In one of the closest, most hotly contested seasons in recent years, a three-way battle was only concluded at the season finale in Australia.

Hyundai Motorsport has stated its intentions at the Autosport International show in Birmingham recently, where the team was introduced.

Running a revised crew line-up and with an extended calendar of 14 rounds in 2019, Hyundai Motorsport will aim to revisit the competitive form that helped it score three victories and 11 podium finishes last season.

With WRC’s regulations remaining stable, the team has been able to evolve the technical foundations of its rally winning Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. All aspects of the car have been rigorously assessed in order to perform consistently across all terrains in the coming season. A brand new event in Chile will join the existing events on the world tour.

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Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport’s new team director who replaced Michel Nandan at the end of 2018, said the targets for Hyundai Motorsport in its sixth season are clear: “Our objectives for WRC remain the same as they have been for the past years, namely to fight for the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles. This is important for Hyundai and our N brand. The WRC is incredibly competitive and the other teams will want to approach the new season with the same winning mind-set. We have to make sure we’re delivering and performing at our best at all times.”

Three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars will compete in each of the 14 rounds on the calendar in 2019. Last year’s runners-up in the driver’s and co-driver’s championship, Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul, will be joined by Norwegian crew Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger-Amland in all events, while the seasoned WRC champion Sébastien Loeb will compete in 6 of this year’s races.

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Loeb, nine-times WRC champion who will drive his first event in the Hyundai i20 WRC in Rallye Monte-Carlo, has signed a two-year contract for 2019 and 2020 with Hyundai Motorsport. Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio – twice podium scorers last season – will take part in eight events, starting at Rally Mexico.

Neuville says: “We have used the opportunity of the winter break to recharge our batteries for another assault on the WRC titles. We showed a lot of promise last season and gave it our best shot but, for various reasons we could not sustain our challenge. We recognise that consistency is an important area of improvement for our team, as well as creating strength in depth across all crews.”

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Mikkelsen said he was ready to put “a difficult 2018” behind him and approach a new season with renewed purpose and attack. “Although the results were missing last year, we learned a lot about the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC and I feel we are better prepared for 2019.”

Loeb added: “I am pleased to be joining such a great line-up of crews for my first season with Hyundai Motorsport. It is clear to me the car was a competitive package in 2018, which enabled the team to fight for the championship titles right to the very end.

“Thierry has improved a lot in recent years and is a genuine title contender. He is fast on every surface, which is important. Andreas, too, has proven his speed. Dani is the guy I know best in WRC, as we were teammates in the past. It promises to be a great season. I hope I can get up to speed with the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC quickly and show competitive pace.”

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“We have all the ingredients to win in WRC. There is nothing lacking compared to our rivals. We are right up there in terms of our engineering capability. We are arguably the strongest in terms of our crew line-up – Thierry, Andreas, Dani and Sébastien are all top-level drivers. I am confident we have the package to win,” says Adamo.