Making their mark

In an industry traditionally seen as male-dominated, many women are making their mark in the motor industry – owning workshops, playing leading roles on the workshop floor, and running businesses.

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), an member of the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI), says the fact Audi South Africa has just had its first female qualify as a master technician shows that women are challenging the industry status quo.

“There are more and more female workshop owners and mechanics,” he says.

One such person is Monique Petzer, owner and head mechanic of We Care Auto Repairs (Westmead, KZN), a MIWA member.

Monique shop pics cutumers

She started her career in the motor industry by working in the office at her sister and brother-in-law’s mechanical company in Pietermaritzburg. She worked in the office for a few months before becoming interested in what her brother-in-law, Piet, was doing in the workshop.

“Piet then showed me a few things on the cars and I just loved it and wanted to know more about how stuff worked in a car,” she says.

day her sister arrived at work, gave her overalls and said they had decided to give her the opportunity to do an apprenticeship if she wanted to.

She agreed. “I did my apprenticeship in three years instead of five on the condition that I passed with 97% or higher in Olifantsfontein. If I failed, I would then have to do my last two years before I could re-write again. Luckily, I passed,” she says.

Petzer has since been in the industry for 12 years and has been qualified for nine. “I love making cars faster and re-building engines from scratch. I love that feeling when you start the car for the first time and how easy and quiet the engine is,” she adds.

She adds that they run regular successful car maintenance workshops for women and young people who are about to get/or have their driver’s licence.

Tania Louw’s love for cars lead her to attend Princeton SSS in Mitchells Plain because it offered motor mechanics as a subject.

Tania Louw

“My husband, Allistair and I then studied at Athlone Technical College – now called False Bay College – where we completed our studies but I then went to work in the beauty industry.”

She is now the co-owner of Canterbury Car Services in Cape Town and takes care of all admin duties, staffing as well as vehicle diagnostics.

“I am passionate about training motor mechanics. They must have integrity when repairing vehicles and always put the client’s safety first as well as keep cars in a standard roadworthy condition,” she says.

She adds her goal for the business is to grow it into a one-stop shop where everything can be serviced. When she’s not at the workshop, she is running a catering company as well as a mobile spa.

Another woman with a passion for the industry is Riana Conradie. When asked what her current role is at Riaan’s Auto Repairs (Parow), she responded by saying she is the paper problem-solver of the business and her husband is the cold-metal problem solver.

Riana

Having started the business together in 1998, Conradie and her husband have been running it since then.

“My father was a motor technician. When I did my aptitude tests in high school the results said I should also go into the motor technician trade. I didn’t then. I studied something totally different but ended up marrying a motor technician and supporting him while he completed his qualifications,” she says.

After that they opened the business and Conradie’s initial role was customer service – answering phones and handling the admin.

“After 1996 the MerSETAs came into play and women were seen as historically disadvantaged. This opened the way for free courses for women so I enrolled and qualified in engine rebuilding, servicing of manual gearboxes, and diffs. I focussed on what makes the engine run but wasn’t too interested in brakes etc,” she explains.

Her passion is the upliftment of the youth in the motor industry.

“Since 2000 we have been training young technicians. We usually take on one or two a year. They qualify with us and then we generally help them move on to find work. It is very rewarding. We really want to continue what we are doing at the workshop. In our own way we are making a difference,” she says.

Ranft salutes all the many women who are making a difference in the industry.

We are still evolving as an industry and these women are examples to young women wanting to enter the industry. They are showing the world that through hard work and dedication – success is possible,” he concludes.

Copy supplied

Hillclimb to be live streamed

Viewers from around the world can watch the live action at the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb this weekend via live streaming of this, the 10th running of the event in the Eastern Cape village of Knysna.

All three days of the race, starting on Classic Car Friday and wrapping up with the King of the Hill Finale on Sunday Afternoon, will be available online for any viewer with an internet connection. Some 12 cameras will be placed alongside the 1,9 km Simola track to catch every moment of action, while a dedicated camera at the start will broadcast every competitor’s launch off the line.

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb live stream 1

Another camera will roam the pit complex to offer live updates from two presenters.Popular radio personality and motoring journalist Jacob Moshokoa, together with Jaguar Simola Hillclimb race veteran Dawie Olivier, will be the voices of Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 2019 and will inform viewers of all the happenings on track and behind the scenes.

Aside from the live commentary, viewers will benefit from live timing and competitor leaderboards making it easy to keep track of which car and driver combination is placed in individual sessions including respective grand finale runs.

Viewers can tune into Jaguar South Africa’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/JaguarSA1 at any time over the course of the race weekend which runs from the morning of Friday, May 3 to the afternoon of Sunday, May 5. The broadcast will also run 24-hours a day outside of the live action for viewers to catch highlight reels and a selection of on-demand content.

First held in 2009, the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Jaguar has been the title sponsor of the event for the past six years and on each occasion has used the opportunity to demonstrate the high-performance capabilities of its various product ranges.

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb live stream 3

For the 2019 edition Jaguar has enlisted five well-known racing drivers to take on the Simola Hill and rival competitors alike. World Champion karters and former professional race and rally drivers Mark and Gavin Cronje will challenge for the overall win in the road and supercar category in a pair of identical Jaguar F-TYPE SVRs. This thrilling race within a race will finally reveal which brother is quickest after a decades-long rivalry between the two.

A fleet of three all-electric Jaguar I-PACEs will contest the EV and Hybrid class, with ex-Touring Car aces Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert and Shaun Watson-Smith at the wheels. The trio comes armed with more than 20 South African and international championship titles between them. Ultimate bragging rights are on the table for the quickest of the three, who famously battled door handle to door handle in a variety of tin-top racing series throughout the 1990s.

Jaguar Simola Hillclimb live stream 5

The 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb also marks the South African debut of the new 405 kW F-PACE SVR. A pair of Jaguar’s highest-performance SUVs are entered with journalists and skilled drivers Ashley Oldfield from Cars.co.za and Marius Roberts from Ignition TV set to challenge for Bakkie and SUV category honours.

Q8 offers new tech, new design

The letter ‘Q’ used as name always reminds me of the famous character in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels – the mysterious man in the lab who produces the trick pens and other goodies the spy uses in his relentless pursuit of the baddies.

So, Audi’s halo model at the top of ‘Q’ range – the new Q8 – is, in its own way, a provider of hi-tech clever systems put together in a five-door luxury coupé-styled SUV.

audi_q8_01_880x500

The Audi Q8 is large being 4,99 metres long, 2,00 metres wide and 1,71 metres tall, so the is wider, shorter and lower than its Q7 sister model. With a wheelbase of nearly 3,00 metres, it offers a spacious interior up to 1,755 litres of luggage space.

The Audi Q8 follows the design language that Audi first brought onto the road with the new A8 and and features the single frame grille in octagonal design.

The Audi Q8 is available in a choice of 12 colours: two solid paint finishes and 10 metallic or pearl effect shades including the new colour Dragon orange, which is exclusive to the Q8.

With as much as 254 millimetres of ground clearance, short overhangs, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and hill descent control, the Audi Q8 is no slouch off the tarmac and, suspension with damper control is standard.

Audi offers the adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as an option, with either comfort or sport setup. It adjusts the ride height depending on the driving situation and the driver’s preference by as much as 90 millimetres.

Besides the standard progressive steering, Audi also offers the option of all-wheel steering. It can turn the rear wheels as much as 5 degrees – counter to the direction of the turn at low speeds to increase agility and at higher speeds in the direction of the turn for better stability.

audi_q8_10_880x500

The new Audi Q8 55 TFSI is equipped with a 3,0-litre six-cylinder spark-ignition engine that produces 250 kW. In the range from 1 370 r/min to 4 500 r/min, it develops a maximum torque of 500 Nm. Thanks to the turbo-charged petrol engine, the Audi Q8 sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 5,9 seconds. Its maximum speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.

An additional engine variant in the form of a 3.0 TDI will be available in South Africa from mid-year 2019.

Claimed fuel consumption is between 8,9 l/100 km and 9,1 l/100 km with emissions between 207 g/km and 210 g/km.

The drive train efficiency is thanks mild hybrid technology (MHEV). The 48-volt main electrical system incorporates two important technology modules: a lithium-ion battery and a belt alternator starter. During braking, it can recover up to 12 kW of power and feed it back into the battery. The MHEV technology enables long coasting phases with the engine deactivated and a start-stop range that begins at 22 km/h. In customer operation, it reduces consumption by up to 0,7 l/100 km.

Inside, the central element is the top MMI touch response display. With its black-panel look, it almost dissolves into a large, black surface when switched off. In the dark, the contour light traces the distinctive design lines of the interior and provides backlight for the three-dimensionally lasered quattro badge above the glove compartment.

audi_q8_46_880x500

The entry-level model seats are covered with cricket leather and then there is a choice of selections, which features Alcantara/ leather combination or Valcona leather. The customised contour seats can be covered in Cedar brown, Black, Metropolis Grey or Beige Valcona leather with contrasting piping. Customers who order the S line sport package get sport seats covered in Valcona leather with embossed S logo in the front seat backs. The S sport seats are also available in Valcona leather with a rhombus pattern and embossed rhombus S logo.

The Audi Q8 comes standard with parking aid plus with 360 degree display (surround view cameras) which makes it stress-free to manoeuvre in and out of parking spaces. The ‘night vision assist’ improves difficult visibility after dark. It uses an infrared camera to detect pedestrians and larger wild animals at great distances and marks them with a yellow frame in the Audi virtual cockpit.

The new Audi Q8 includes the functions of adaptive cruise control, and active lane assist, Audi pre-sense front including turn assist. The system detects lane markings, roadside structures, vehicles in adjacent lanes and vehicles driving ahead. The improved adaptive cruise assist slows and accelerates the Audi Q8 predictively by analysing sensor information, navigation data and traffic signs. It automatically adjusts to the current speed limit, reduces the speed before corners, during turning and on roundabouts.

audi_q8_38_880x500

The emergency assist ensures safety in exceptional circumstances. It detects within system limits whether the driver is inactive and, in such cases, prompts them via visual and acoustic signals as well as brief activation of the brakes to retake active control. If this does not prompt a reaction, the system takes control of the Audi Q8 and automatically stops it in its own lane. This also activates the safety measures of Audi pre sense system.

As usual, the options list and package configuration for the car are a longer reading list than ‘War and Peace’ tbut The Audi Q8 55 TFSI quattro tiptronic will be priced at R1 388-million standard with the 5 year / 100 000 km Audi Freeway plan and inclusive of all taxes.

Glimpse of the future

South African special stage rallying got a glimpse of a potential future at the weekend when Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries dominated the Rally of South Africa in the first local outing for a R4 specification Toyota Etios.

However, it was a second victory on the trot for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Guy Botterill and navigator Simon Vacy-Lyle, Round 2 of the National Rally Championship (NRC).

IMG_0764

The event, which was held in the area around the Mpumalanga town of Sabie, also featured as part of the African Rally Championship, but in Class R2N, the South African championship class, it was the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Etios that again came out on top.

This year’s event was rebranded as the Rally of South Africa, after former title sponsors, York Timbers, decided to limit their support of the event for 2019. Even so, the rally proved as popular as ever, with many spectators lining the forest tracks that make up the bulk of the racing stages for the event.

“This year’s rally was very rough in places,” said Botterill after the event, “but everything ran like clockwork, and we are very pleased with our result.”

While the overall standings show Hergen Fekken and Pierre Arries at the top, it was Botterill/Vacy-Lyle who set the fastest time in the national class, bringing their Class R2N Toyota Etios home some 2:53 ahead of their nearest rivals, in the form of JJ Potgieter and Tommy du Toit (Ford). Third place went to Chris Coertse and Greg Godrich (Mazda).

“We had a moment on Day 2, when an engine mount broke due to the rough terrain,” said Botterill. “We nearly lost the coupling with the gearbox, but all sorts of jury rigs held things together until service, otherwise it could easily have been game over.”

IMG_0372

Despite the hairy moment, the crew managed to nurse their car to the service park without losing significant time. Once repaired, they were back on track, and posting stage times quicker than some of the Class RC2 cars, competing in the African Rally Championship.

“Overall, we had a really good event, and we’re happy to be building up a lead in the championship. You never know what happens later in the season, so we’ll gladly bank as much as possible early on,” concluded Botterill.

In the overall standings, it was Fekken/Arries who dominated proceedings in the R4 spec Toyota Etios, which competed in Class RC2 in Sabie. The pair lead from flag to flag, clearly showing the pace of the new car, which may show the way forward for South African rallying in 2020 and beyond.

Local rallying, without any direct involvement from the motor manufacturers, sorely needs an injection of competing numbers to remain worthy of being called a national series. A tough economy is major reason for the drop in competitor numbers.

Perhaps, since the R4 kit can be bolted onto any car, it may help to solve the impasse.

Next up is the KZN Rally, which will take place on 24 and 25 May, 2019. Details of the event are yet to be announced, but this will be a home rally for Botterill/Vacy-Lyle, and pair are already looking forward to competing on home turf.

Revenge is sweet

Sometimes revenge is truly sweet – and Timmy Hansen rebounded from a season-opener crash in Abus Dhabi to take the top step of the podium after the second round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Catalunya at the weekend.

He kept a perfect score to emerge with a clean sweep of wins. It was also his first World RX victory since taking the honours at the Canadian round in 2016.

Hansen was delighted to turn his fortunes around after the disappointment of Abu Dhabi.

“We had to work incredibly hard and put all our resources in to re-building my car from Abu Dhabi. The mechanics worked day and night and got the car here in good condition.”

“Honestly, I just wanted a good, clean weekend but I started with a win in Q1 and Q2 and won all four qualifying races. I think it’s only the fourth time that’s been done and only the third time anybody has the perfect weekend so I’m really happy to be in the history books.

“I really worked hard on my starts this weekend. You have to be super focussed to get a good launch with a rallycross car but we did it all the way through. And I’m really looking forward to building on this result.”

Timmy’s younger brother Kevin finished second in the final after holding off a hard-charging Andreas Bakkerud in the Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1. The Norwegian opted for a last-lap joker lap but still emerged behind Kevin at the run to the flag.

hansen1

The siblings, in a pair of Team Hansen MJP Peugeot 208s, had laid down a marker with back-to-back one-twos in Q1 and Q2 – Timmy pulling rank over Kevin.

Second place in Spain enabled Kevin to retain his overall leadership of the championship after he was promoted from second to first place in the UAE following a penalty for Niclas Gronholm.

“I am really pleased with this result. To get second place is very satisfying. I tried my best against Timmy but he was just too fast in the final,” he said.

“I don’t think about the championship too much. It’s nice to be leading and to know that I’ve been competitive so far. I am really enjoying the car and the whole feeling at the moment and I hope to keep this momentum going and keep a smile on my face.”

Bakkerud, who was disqualified after being at fault for the crash with Timmy Hansen in Abu Dhabi, was relieved to be on the podium.

“It’s been hard to play catch-up. We are still struggling from the crash in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “We are still working on the car step-by-step but we are getting there.

“Three times in a row I have been on the podium in Barcelona so obviously I Iike it here. But I have to say the Hansens have been the dominant team this weekend – especially Timmy, he has been superb, so congrats to him.”

hansen5

Gronholm finished fourth in the final to maintain his second place in the championship on 48 points, eight points behind Kevin and 10 ahead of Timmy.

Cyril Raymond was impressive all weekend in the GCK Academy Renault Clio and his fifth place in his first World RX final, was just reward. The Frenchmen finished ahead of the Team STARD Ford Fiesta driver Janis Baumanis.

The GC Kompetition squad had an improved performance from Abu Dhabi by getting Guillaume De Ridder and Guerlain Chicherit to the semi-finals along with Raymond.

Liam Doran, third place last time out in Abu Dhabi, had a mixed weekend in his Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1 but made it to the semi-final as did Timur Timerzyanov in the GRX Taneco Hyundai i20.

Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo had a last-corner spin in the EKS Sport Audi in the second semi-final but scored 10 points in another solid weekend for the World RX newcomer. ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider had a troublesome semi-final in the Seat Ibiza in finishing fifth ahead of Szabo.

hansen4

British driver and former Olympic champion Sir Christopher Hoy thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of World RX – picking up world championships in the process.

“I’ve had the best experience of my motorsport career so far,” he said. “I’ve done the Le Mans 24 Hour, I’ve raced GT cars, historics and Caterhams, but honestly nothing compares to the sheer exhilaration of a world rallycross car.

“I take my hat off to the guys competing in this series, it really is cut and thrust competition. I’m so honoured to be given the chance to compete in an FIA world championship – and to come away with points.”

Hoy’s Xite Racing stablemate Oliver Bennett showed flashes of pace in the Mini Cooper as did ESmotorsport – Labas GAS’s rookie Rokas Baciuska in the Skoda Fabia.

The championship now moves to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium for the World RX of Benelux on May 11-12.

Palpable tension

Tension hangs heavy in the air as teams prepare for round 2 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy in Barcelona this weekend following the dramatic events of the opening round.

Events on the Yas Marina track and in the stewards’ room conspired to hand a maiden World RX victory to Kevin Hansen in the Team Hansen MJP Peugeot 208.

6e207a88-581b-43f1-bfc4-c48e80c67b31

That was after two of the leading protagonists – older brother Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud in the Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1 – had a high-speed coming together in Q3. Timmy’s Peugeot suffered event-ending damage while Bakkerud was disqualified for his part in the incident.

Timmy’s mechanics have worked tirelessly in the time since Abu Dhabi to have the No.21 Peugeot re-built, including repairs to the chassis and reconstructing sections of the roll cage in readiness for Barcelona and the Circuit de Catalunya.

There is spice to the battle between Norway’s Bakkerud and the Hansens, as witnessed in the pre-event press conference in Abu Dhabi. That carried over to the race track and is likely to continue this weekend.

The 1.135km rallycross layout at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona includes turns 11-15 of the Formula One track and comprises a 60-40% split of tarmac and gravel.

98e62f4f-f158-43b1-bc99-2bfa72b98e0b

So, the leaderboard entering the Spanish round, has Kevin at the top of the pile with 30 points, Niclas Gronholm, the provisional race winner in Abu Dhabi prior to a three-second penalty in the final, second on 26. The Finn drove strongly all weekend in his GRX Taneco Hyundai i20 including a semi-final win en route to the final.

Kevin clinched the Euro RX Supercar title at Barcelona in 2016 so knows his way around the circuit.

Team STARD Ford Fiesta driver Janis Baumanis and Timo Scheider in the ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport Seat Ibiza are locked together on 20 points and likely to be among the challengers this time out.

Germany’s Scheider was the top qualifier in 2017 eventually finishing second to Mattias Ekstrom in the final. Barcelona was also the scene of Scheider’s World RX debut in 2015.

Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo, made an impressive World RX debut in Abu Dhabi, in his EKS Sport Audi, with fourth place. He lies fifth in the championship.

Liam Doran took his Monster Energy RX Cartel Audi S1 to a first World RX podium in Abu Dhabi, and is likely to be a contender again. The Briton prepared for the second round of World RX with victory in a Group B Retro Rallycross Championship race at Lydden Hill on Easter Monday.

eb1916ea-f6c6-482b-8421-c8cf1d09bb91

The 19-car field will also feature cycling royalty in the shape of Sir Chris Hoy. The six-time Olympic gold medallist will pilot the Xite Racing-prepared Ford Fiesta.

Following a recent test at Pembrey in Wales, Hoy, who has competed in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016, and European Le Mans and British GT racing, is relishing the latest motorsport challenge.

“I want do the best job I can, make the most of the opportunity and have as much fun as I can and just soak up the experience,” he says.

Oliver Bennett will combine mentoring duties for Hoy with racing the Xite Racing Mini Cooper, repaired after a roll in Abu Dhabi.

GC Kompetition’s Guerlain Chicherit and Anton Marklund narrowly missed the final at Yas Marina Circuit and will look to go make amends while the GCK Academy duo Cyril Raymond of France and Belgium’s Guillaume De Ridder will take learnings from their maiden World RX outings in the Renault Clios.

ESmotorsport – Labas GAS’s Rokas Baciuska, will look to build on the semi-final placing of his World RX debut in Abu Dhabi. Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov, partnering Gronholm in the GRX Taneco squad in the Hyundai i20, has a Barcelona podium on his CV from 2016 and is expected to run at the sharp end.

Hungary’s Tamas Karai will be at the wheel of the Karai Motorsport Audi A1 while Frenchman Herve Knapick competes in a Citroen DS3.

Also joining the line-up in a second Team STARD Ford Fiesta is the former works WRC driver and European Championship competitor Jani Paasonen, of Finland.

This weekend also sees the start of the RX2 International Series and the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 the training ground for the next generation of World RX stars.

Barcelona is start of a busy few weeks for World RX. After Spain, there is one weekend’s break before Spa-Francochamps makes its debut in hosting the World RX of Benelux on May 11-12 with Silverstone’s SpeedMachine Festival to follow on the weekend of May 25-26.

Service pressures mount

The closure of many small town franchised motor dealers is leaving vehicle owners having to stump up extra money to cover the cost of travelling hundreds of kilometres to the nearest dealer.

“Many dealerships have closed down in the smaller towns due to the poor economic situation in South Africa,” says Gunther Schmitz, Chairman of Right to Repair South Africa (R2RSA). “This means motorists with vehicles under warranty in these small towns are forced to have their vehicles serviced in the bigger towns and cities. This is not only inconvenient but can be costly too.”

auto-3230876_1280

He says the likes of dealerships such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, VW, KIA, Hyundai, Jeep, and Chrysler aren’t present in many towns where in the past they were. “Ford and Toyota seem to be the exception,” he says.

While there are some dealerships offering a service to customers in smaller towns where they collect the vehicle and a loan vehicle is left for the motorist’s use, but mainly applies to fleet owners and the likes.

“What doesn’t make sense is that in many, if not most, of these smaller towns there are independent workshops that are able and willing to service these vehicles. Unfortunately, due to the current status quo in the country, the vehicle owners do not have a choice but to use these out-of-town dealerships or risk losing their warranties,” he says.

This is one of the reasons why R2RSA is advocating for change which will give consumers the right to have their vehicles repaired at a workshop of their choice.

car-repair-362150_1280

Andy Goetsch, a former owner of a dealership and independent workshop in Mokopane, Limpopo, says while still an owner of a dealership he realised manufacturers were making it more and more difficult for dealerships in smaller towns.

“The manufacturers began demanding too much from dealerships in terms of building specifications, furniture and so on. All additional expenses. It made it difficult for dealerships in small towns to survive. The manufacturers responded by closing the dealerships,” he says.

He says in Mokopane, vehicle owners who do not have a dealership in town have to travel to Pretoria for servicing, in most instances.

“Pretoria is more than 200 km away while there are accredited independent workshops and other dealerships a kilometre away who could very adequately service the vehicle,” he says.

And this is even not the worse case scenario. Goetsch shares a story of a couple who bought a vehicle from a dealership while living in Pretoria.

“They were then transferred to Springbok in the Northern Cape for work. After a few months it was time to service their car. They realised that the nearest dealership was in Cape Town – some 550 kilometres away. They had to take two days off work to have their car’s oil and filters changed.”

Besides the inconvenience and cost, Schmitz believes we should also be supporting existing and potential Small Medium Enterprises (SME), especially in these smaller towns, and dispersing economic concentration.

winter-tires-2861853_1280

“This is key to job creation in economies globally. Part of the reason the South African economy is where it is today is because of economic concentration and this is being perpetuated by the manufacturers in our sector,” he says.

He adds the additional costs associated with having to travel out-of-town for repairs means there is a good chance car owners delay doing maintenance or servicing of their vehicles.

“Consumers need affordable and convenient repairs. We need to discourage unroadworthy vehicles on our roads. By opening up the market to independent workshops and offering consumers choice, there will be a drop in prices as competition increases. We need this to happen in our country,” says Schmitz.

“If things continue as they are there’s a very good chance in less than 10 years the independent aftermarket will be significantly reduced due to no access to repair information, tools and training. The workshops in smaller towns will most probably be the first to close their doors.”

He says that what we do now will directly affect the sustainability of the SME portion of this sector as well as new empowerment businesses entering the market in the future.

“Vehicle owners have been dictated to and inconvenienced for long enough. The time for change is now and we will continue advocating for this change while waiting for the Automotive Code of Conduct to be finalised,” he says.