Tyres take on new roles

As the march towards autonomous motoring steps up its pace along with efforts to make motoring ‘greener’, the car tyre is taking on a far more prominent role as an information provider to the unit as a whole.

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Continental presented Conti C.A.R.E., a comprehensive technology system.

Conti C.A.R.E. (Connected. Autonomous. Reliable. Electrified.) stands for the fine-tuned networking of wheel and tyre technology and the manageability of the desired performance characteristics. These characteristics are also closely aligned with the requirements of electric and autonomous driving in both individual and shared mobility scenarios.

In combination with the web-based ContiConnect Live application, Conti C.A.R.E. forms a flexible system solution that can provide a means of tyre management for modern robo-taxi fleets, for example, boosting performance as well as helping to optimize costs.

Conti C.A.R.E. tyres feature sensors that are built into the structure of the tyre. These sensors generate and continuously evaluate data concerning tread depth, possible damage, tyre temperature and tyre pressure.

This monitoring system, which goes by the name of ContiSense, transmits information on the condition of the tyres to ContiConnect Live, facilitating efficient mobility management for fleet operators.

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It can also actively adjust tyre pressures by means of centrifugal pumps built into the wheel. As the vehicle accelerates, the centrifugal forces within the wheel act on the pump to generate compressed air. This PressureProof technology keeps the tyre pressure constantly within the ideal range and helps achieve a sustainable drop in CO2 emissions. Any excess compressed air is stored in an integrated tank.

PressureBoost technology then uses this air to rapidly adapt the tyre pressures to various driving situations.

And, in the SilentWheel concept, Continental will be presenting a modified wheel rim that reduces the vibrations generated while driving and delivers superior ride quality.

However, it goes further than that and, like so many other industry verticals, fleet management is undergoing significant change as new technologies become commercially viable. These technologies are helping to streamline current operations but, more exciting, they promise to change the nature of fleet management altogether.

One of the most promising of these is tyre management which is already changing important aspects of fleet management for the better. But while individual technologies can be used effectively as standalone solutions, taking the ecosystem approach is actually the way to achieve new levels of value.

As an example, consider the growing use of RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips or sensors that allow the transmission of information from an object, such as a truck tyre, to a central point, like the company’s data centre.

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When vehicles typically return to a depot at regular intervals, a gate sensor can collect data using WiFi as the vehicles pass, ensuring maintenance teams know exactly which tyres need pressure adjustments.

For vehicles that are away for longer periods of time moving cargoes around the country, chips with mobile connectivity can feed information back to headquarters from wherever the truck happens to be.

Bridgestone introduced Toolbox, a cloud-based tyre management program, in 2017, which is available both as a desktop or mobile app. It’s designed to provide meaningful and actionable insights to fleet managers, enabling them to optimise overall tyre usage, selection and maintenance.

A recent development that has extended this ecosystem is the acquisition of the telematics division of TomTom. This means the system can be used to plan drivers’ routes, plot progress and immediately see all the tyre pressures of all vehicles. Using this platform thus enables the fleet manager to obtain visibility of all his or her tyre assets across the fleet — where they are, how they are being used and what their current state is.

The TomTom platform will integrate into Toolbox, providing the foundation for exponentially more sophisticated — and useful — ways of using the data, and acquiring more data.

For example, one day soon a fleet manager could monitor the full history of each tyre, including such information as how much it cost, how many times it has been retreaded, its tread depth at last reading, and begin to project when that tyre will need replacing—thanks to much improved algorithms and the use of sophisticated predictive analytics.

The final step is to integrate all of this operational information with the financial side of fleet management to obtain a truly holistic view of a whole fleet’s tyre assets.

All of this indicates that tyre and fleet management is very much at the forefront of the emerging Internet of Things. What is exciting is that as this builds momentum, we are approaching the ability to move from selling tyres to selling mobility solutions—the ‘as a service’ model that is revolutionising so much of business.

Bridgestone is already offering the option of leasing tyres to a small segment of the market, but as the range of data and ways to process it expands, will be able to roll this out to a wider market because both the risks and benefits will be more quantifiable — and transparent.

Operationally, tyres are one of key pain points for fleet managers — if the tyres malfunction, the whole vehicle is unusable with inevitable consequences for scheduling and overall profitability. Increasingly smart, data-driven solutions will serve to reduce downtime by pre-empting problems via preventative maintenance, and also maximise return on investment. It’s the future, and it will solve many of a fleet manager’s current challenges.

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Engine whizz Basil Green honoured

Basil Green, the architect of the brutal V8 Ford Capri Perana that captivated South African motor sport fans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, has been inducted into the South African Hall of Fame.

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The SA Hall of Fame serves to tell the stories of extraordinary achievers, recognising their outstanding service and overall contribution to sport. In motor sport circles, South Africa has produced numerous famous names that have excelled locally and internationally, including the likes of Sarel van der Merwe, Ian Scheckter, Wayne Taylor and multiple Formula 1 championship-winning designer Rory Byrne – such that they have been honoured by the SA Hall of Fame alongside golfing icon Gary Player, and the country’s most famous and admired citizen, Nelson Mandela.

For 82-year-old Basil Green, the nomination and subsequent formal induction to the Hall of Fame, which took place conjunction with the fourth annual Concours South Africa event, it was a fitting tribute to his decades of dedication and excellence in motorsport and the motor industry in general.

Speaking about his induction into the SA Hall of Fame, Green says: “It is a great honour to receive such an accolade. It’s difficult to put into words what this means to me, particularly when one considers previous recipients such as former President Nelson Mandela. I am truly humbled and grateful to everyone who made this possible, and also to the many people that played a role in our success over the years.”

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Image: classiccarsinrhodesia.co.za

“Basil Green created the era-defining fast Fords that were unbeatable on the track and unmatched on the road, combined with such engineering excellence and dedication to detail that various evolutions of the Perana Cortina, Capri, Escort and Granada were not only approved by Ford, but were officially sold through the countrywide dealer network,” says Neale Hill, MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Many of his modifications to standard cars were world-firsts, and Ford even incorporated some of his developments in the production model local line-up.

“Along with the road cars, Basil Green’s exploits in the motorsport arena were truly exceptional and came to define the period, with his multiple championship-winning Capri Perana V8 being the most memorable.”

Such was the dominance of the mighty Capri Perana V8 that its famous Group 5-specification car, number Z181 with its distinctive orange Gunston livery and driven by Bobby Olthoff, won 13 of the 14 races in the 1970 season. It was capable of over 270 km/h on the old Kyalami circuit’s long main straight, and topped the saloon car lap records at every one of South Africa’s circuits, using a highly tuned V8 with a high performance Weber carburettor for each cylinder.

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Image: gomotors.net

With the rules changing from Group 5 rules to the more production-based Group 2 formula in 1971 in an effort to level the playing field, the Capri Perana remained the class of the field, with car number A2 taking the title. Fortunately both cars have been carefully restored and remain part of prized collections in SA, and are used on selected outings at historic racing events.

The road-going Capri Perana V8, on which the race cars were based, was immensely successful, with estimates of around 500 having been built by the Basil Green Motors team. It soon developed a cult following, and the handful of original cars that remain are highly prized locally and internationally, and are extremely valuable.

“When the Capri was introduced by Ford in 1969, we fitted a V6 engine as they were all four-cylinder models at the time, with the V4 being the top of the range,” Green recalls.

“We sent one of our Capri V6 models to Ford for evaluation and engineering approval, and they liked it so much that they started building their own 3,0-litre V6 model based on our car, which was a first for Ford in South Africa, and globally.

“We then looked at what else we could do with the Capri, and ended up with the lightweight V8 engine from the Mustang, sourced from Windsor Export Supply in the US, which was specially built to our requirements,” he adds. “We also changed the gearbox, suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres. The bodies were produced at Ford’s Port Elizabeth plant and shipped to us, where we did the rest of the work.”

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Image: https://fordcapriperanalkl.wordpress.com/

Tested by Car Magazine in January 1971, the Capri Perana was the only Ford-sanctioned Capri V8 in the world, and was the fastest locally produced car in South Africa. It was capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in a mere 6.7 seconds, and reached an impressive top speed of 228.4km/h. New, it sold for R4 450 through Ford dealers with a full factory warranty.

Although the Capri Perana is the most iconic model, it was preceded by several years of top-notch performance modifications for various cars during the 1960s, resulting in the company’s extremely popular, high-quality aftermarket kits being sold locally and exported to the UK. Interestingly, another of SA’s motorsport legends, Willie Hepburn, formed part of the Basil Green Motors team during the founding years and the subsequent Perana era.

The Perana brand was formally introduced with the Ford Cortina Perana in 1967. The name was actually chosen by Basil’s wife, Paddy, and derived from the ferocious South American piranha fish species.

Based on the Cortina Mk2 2000 GT, it was fitted with the renowned Essex V6 engine and drivetrain from the Ford Zephyr, along with upgrades to the suspension, brakes and use of what was then sporty 175×13 radial tyres on distinctive alloy rims. It cost R2 850 out the box, and established an outstanding racing pedigree for the Perana brand, claiming several SA Saloon Car Championship titles. This was followed by the Cortina Mk3 Perana V6 in 1972, which predated Ford’s popular Cortina ‘Big Six’.

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Image: zahistorics.com

Other noteworthy Perana models were the 1969 Escort Mk1 Perana, based on the Escort RS1600, to which Basil Green Motors fitted Ford’s venerable 2,0-litre OHC engine in place of the complicated original 1,6-litre unit used in European markets. It proved an inspired choice, powering its way to numerous local race and rally titles.

A later effort in 1993, based on the front-wheel drive 1,6-litre Escort XR3, proved exemplary once again, with the hot Perana version boasting almost identical acceleration times and a higher top speed than the Ford Cortina XR6 of the same period. The company also offered tuned 3,0-litre and 3,4-litre versions of the Ford Sapphire in the early 1990s.

Besides the outstanding performance of his fast Fords, Basil Green’s association with the company was firmly entrenched when he was appointed a Ford dealer in 1974. Green and his team won numerous Dealer of the Year awards over the years for his landmark operation in Edenvale, which still proudly carries his name today as part of the SuperGroup conglomerate.

The story behind Green becoming a Ford dealer is an intriguing one, as it involved Ford Motor Company’s global president at the time, Lee Iacocca, who heard of the local team installing the Ford Mustang-derived 5,0-litre V8, as used in the Capri Perana, in the upmarket Granada Mk1 launched in 1972.

“One day Lee Iacocca phoned me and said that he wanted one of the Granada V8s we were building, so one was sent over, only for him to call me back and say the steering wheel is on the wrong side,” Green reminisces. “So it was arranged for a left-hand drive Granada to be sent to us from Germany. We managed to do the modifications in about a week, and it was then flown to America.

“Lee, as he insisted I call him, phoned me a couple of days later saying the car is fantastic and that Ford doesn’t have anything like it in the US,” Green proudly adds.

With the Basil Green Motors team churning out Peranas as fast they could, it all came crashing down when the international fuel crisis hit in 1973-74, bringing an abrupt end to what was a booming business.

“Motor sport was banned and we weren’t allowed to sell high performance cars,” Green muses. “We finished off the remaining cars we had in stock, but we didn’t have a business after that.

“Lee Iacocca contacted the chairman of Ford South Africa and told him to make me a Ford dealer, and we were given the Edenvale and Bedfordview sales areas,” Green adds. “We opened the first dealership in our workshop, put a new car on one of the ramps and added a shop window so we could drive the car out the front. I think we won Dealer of the Year from Ford the following year.

“I then built a beautiful Ford dealership in the main street of Edenvale, called Basil Green Ford, and that is where my long and proud relationship with Ford began.”

New Defender virtually debuts

Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry McGovern, has been around automobiles for a very long time and, in journalistic terms, ‘is good copy’, meaning he can always be relied upon to have something interesting to say – and with the all new Defender, does just that.

“We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family a modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”

That just about sums it up for the newcomer, unveiled as a worldwide virtual launch to computers everywhere.

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The 110 is just the start for this family and will be followed by a short wheelbase 90 in 2020.

The new Defenderhas minimal front and rear overhangs, providing excellent approach and departure angles, while the upright stance keeps the Alpine light windows in the roof, side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.

The stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality.

Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers.

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As a result, the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1 075-litres, and as much as 2 380-litres when the second row is folded. The Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.

Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.

The new Defender has been through more than 62 000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.

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During development testing, prototype models have covered millions of kilometres across some of the harshest environments on earth, ranging from the 50-degree heat of the desert and sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic to altitudes of 10 000 ft in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between.

Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.

The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291 mm giving the 110 approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (Off Road height) respectively. Its maximum wading depth of 900 mm is supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.

On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s all-conquering capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.

A choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines ensure new Defender has the power, control and efficiency for any environment. At South African launch expected in the first half of 2020, the 110 line-up will include a powerful 3,0-litre straight six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294 kW and 550 Nm.

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Alternatively, customers can choose a 2,0-litre D240 turbo-diesel with 177 kW and 430 Nm. The introduction of increased engine options, along with the short wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.

New Defender introduces Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The next generation touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design guarantees almost instant responses.

In addition, the new Defender takes Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology to a new level, with 14 individual modules capable of receiving remote updates. By downloading data while customers are asleep at home or in far-flung locations, the new Defender will get better with age: as electronic updates cascade down to the vehicle immediately, without delay and with no need to visit a Land Rover retailer.

Nick Rogers, Executive Director, Product Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “We have embraced Defender’s stunning capability and minimalistic, functional interior to reinvent the icon for the 21st century.

“New Defender gives us the licence to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original. From the start we had an absolute obsession with functionality beneath the skin, from choosing the right materials through to state of the art connectivity. The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”

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New Defender will be available in 90 and 110 body designs, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110. The model range comprises Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs.

Customers will be able to personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first year of production.

Customers will also be able to opt for a new Satin Protective Film to make the exterior paintwork even more durable. The sustainable, solvent-free and completely recyclable wrap helps protect against everything from car park scratches to bramble rash and will be available as a factory-fit option with Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green colours, providing a unique contemporary finish as it protects new Defender’s paintwork.

Felix Bräutigam, Chief Commercial Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, says: “New Defender will be available in 128 global markets and meets or exceeds the toughest emissions and safety requirements in the world.

“Combining advanced technology and durable mechanical underpinnings we have delivered the toughness and character you can only find in a Defender. Our new 4×4 has been developed for adventurous hearts and curious minds. With four personalities to choose from, two body styles and a comprehensive range of options and accessories, customers will be able to personalise Defender to make their ultimate 4×4 companion – whatever their lifestyle.”

Namib special edition Cruiser

In the spirit of other special edition model derivatives, such as the Legend Hilux, Toyota South Africa has turned its attention to the desert dominator Land Cruiser to create the Namib variant.

“The Namib Desert presents some of the most challenging terrain and surviving in these extreme conditions requires the right preparation and equipment. I am proud to announce we have created this special Land Cruiser model to offer customers a ready-to-go vehicle prepared and equipped to tackle the most daunting challenges,” says Calvyn Hamman: Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.

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The front grille has been changed to a simple mesh design with prominent Toyota lettering (akin to the Hilux GR Sport), leveraging the design of Land Cruiser heritage models. Unique stylised Namib badges can be found on the flanks alongside the Land Cruiser brand mark, as well as the tailgate.

A steel front bumper with integrated heavy-duty nudge bar and headlight protectors add utility and ruggedness. Large, high-intensity LED spotlights ensure optimum visibility under all conditions. Moving towards the business end, a tubular rear step with integrated towbar make loading and towing a breeze, whilst protective loadbin skins round off the package.

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The ‘Namib’ is available in Ivory White and Sand Beige.

To combat desert temperatures, the glovebox features an added cooling duct, allowing items to be kept chilled via the vehicle’s air-conditioning system. The Land Cruiser Namib package has been designed with the customer and unique-usage situations in mind, so the interior has been fitted with bespoke grey canvas seat covers, embroidered with the sand-dune-inspired Namib logo. The edges also feature anti-scuff panels to prevent degrading of the material during ingress.

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An application-specific roof console has been added, enhancing versatility by means of rear-facing LED lights, lined storage binnacle, driver and passenger LED lights, two-way radio compartment and microphone cord hook.

The Land Cruiser Namib has been fitted with an upgraded off-road suspension (manufactured by a respected local off-road suspension expert for Toyota), whilst maintaining the existing payload and towing capacity. The tyres have been upgraded to larger 265/75/R16 Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx versions, complete with white lettering, affixed to durable 16-inch alloy wheels.

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The ‘Namib’ is powered by the 1VD-FTV 4,5-litre turbo-diesel engine, churning out 151 kW and 430 Nm from a low 1 200 r/min (up to 3200 r/min). The Fuel Consumption index is pegged at 11,3 l/100km with CO2 emissions registering 300 g/km.

The Namib edition retains all of the standard Land Cruiser 79 D-Cab V8 specification, which include a touchscreen audio system with built-in Navigation, Bluetooth, front power socket, power windows, tilt and telescopic steering column, remote central locking and anti-theft system. The safety systems include driver and passenger crash bags alongside an anti-lock braking system.

A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is provided whilst customers can purchase optional service plans according to their needs.

Ertiga gains high-spec model

The growing market for 7-seat multi-purpose vehicles has gained a player that breaks the R300 000 ceiling in the form of the Suzuki Ertiga GLX.

Available with the choice of a manual (R267 900) or automatic (R282 900) gearbox, the Ertiga offers a range of luxuries not common to the sub-R300 000 MPV market.

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The Ertiga GLX has all of the luxuries currently available on the GL model and gains a host of styling and luxury features including chrome on the door handles and rear garnishes, with the latter discreetly hiding a new reverse camera, 15-inch alloy wheels, front and rear mud flaps and front fog lamps.

At the rear, Suzuki has added a curved LED light strip to the LED combination lamps.

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In the cabin, there is wood-grain trim along with a height-adjustable driver’s seat and new centre console box that doubles as a central armrest for the driver and front passenger.

Like its sibling GLX-models, the Ertiga GLX has remote central locking for a combination of keyless access and a Start/Stop button. It also replaces the standard air-conditioning system with automatic climate control, which includes an ambient temperature sensor to ensure that the pre-set interior temperature is maintained.

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The Ertiga central stack, which in other models houses the radio, USB and Bluetooth set-up, is replaced with the company’s 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system.

This system allows the driver to control all infotainment functions via the touch-sensitive screen or via voice commands, and it integrates seamlessly with the latest version of Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.

Suzuki has added a second 4,2-inch colour multi-info display in the instrument cluster. This screen displays driving information such as instantaneous and average fuel consumption, driving range, power and torque delivery, and fuel consumption and speed for the current driving cycle.

Safety includes of anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, two front crash bags and Suzuki’s ultra-rigid TECT platform, which includes energy dispersion channels, crumple zones and additional impact bars in all doors.

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The GLX model will share its siblings’ new K15B engine, which is also used on the new Suzuki Jimny. This 1,5 litre 16-valve four-cylinder petrol engine has a maximum output of 77 kW at 6 000 r/min and 138 Nm at 4 400 r/min.

Both the auto and manual models use 6,2 l/100 km in a combined cycle and it comes with an extended 4-year / 60 000 km service plan and will include Suzuki’s promotional 5-year / 200 000 km mechanical warranty.

 

State of the automotive nation

Up to R60-billion could be invested into the South African auto industry in the next five years, despite the precarious economy, ongoing graft, greed and corruption and the failure of state owned entities in an ongoing attempt to unlock the potential of the country as a manufacturing and exporting powerhouse.

The recent National Assocation of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) conference produced a wealth of words from key speakers with notable bottom-line requirements being further industrialisation and the empowerment of the people.

Andrew Kirby, President of NAAMSA and President and CEO of Toyota SA Motors said the R60-billion could be made up by R40-billion in direct investments by the seven vehicle manufacturers with an additional R20-billion going into component making.

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Andrew Kirby

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, headed up by Minister Ebrahim Patel, has identified six focus areas to drive the South African automotive industry forward.

He said the government fully realised the importance of a healthy and growing motor industry, in terms of being a large scale employer, the largest manufacturing operation in the country and a very successful exporter.

“The government is re-imagining its industrialisation strategy, seeking ways to unleash private investment with re-energised government strategies, ensuring policy predictability and the efficient use of resources,” said Patel.

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Minister Ebrahim Patel

“We have already had many meetings with companies and organisations involved in my ambit of the economy since the State of the Nation Address, two months ago, and planning is going well.

“The Motor Industry Masterplan, which was announced last November, is an integral part of our planning with these latest initiatives. To do so effectively we will use six focus areas to support the policy’s 2035 targets, which include growing production to 1% of global output, doubling employment, increasing local content to 60%, improving global competitiveness and achieving transformation across the value chain.”

Kirby said that the local motor industry was not only leading the drive to increase industrialisation in the country but was also a major employer with 407 000 people employed directly in various aspects of the industry. He added that this number can be multiplied by a factor of three to make 1,4-million people involved either directly or indirectly in the overall automotive industry.

He added the industry was currently in a healthy position in terms of having a positive balance of trade account with the number of exported built-up vehicles and components growing steadily. However, he stressed the importance of being globally competitive in terms of cost, quality, and reliability of supply as several other countries were eying South Africa’s automotive export markets.

According to Patel, the first area of focus is expanding existing markets and seeking new markets. Last year the motor industry exported products valued at R180-billion, which equated to 14% of the export basket, with R32-billion worth of these products going into Africa, which Patel said could grow significantly when the African Continental Free Trade Agreement comes into operation next year.

The second focus area is supporting improved industry performance by adapting new technologies, including those emanating from the global trends of electric vehicles and autonomous driving. The Minister said he believed SA could be a supply base for these advanced vehicles as a manufacturer and exporter without building a local infrastructure for these types of vehicle.

The third focus is to attract investment into the industry, with the aim of increasing localisation substantially.

The seven OEMs have invested more than R35-million in the past five years and now the objective is to attract even more investment going forward, particularly in the component manufacturing segment.

The fourth focus area is transformation and the building of an inclusive economy with a non-racial society.

Minister Patel stressed that the pace of transformation in all aspects of the local motor industry is far too slow.

“It is a critical imperative to the success and sustainability of the industry,” he says. “To this end the national Automotive Transformation Fund of more than R4-billion – funded by the seven OEMs – will be activated to assist the establishment of black-owned companies and the training of their staff.”

The fifth focus area is the availabilty of equitable spatial zones which can be developed into supplier parks and the like. Already a special economic zone (SEZ) is being planned for Tshwane which will have an area similar to 200 football fields. This aspect of support is to assist in improving the competitiveness in terms of cost and quality for locally made vehicles.

The sixth focus area is to improve the capability of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), such as Eskom, through better cooperation between role-players to enhance the performances of SOEs using partnerships with private enterprises to develop best practices.

“In fact, through the entire value chain we need to develop partnerships and technology enhancements between government and private enterprise, industry and suppliers and industry and labour. We want a large and successful automotive industry infrastructure with the state providing an enabling environment,” he says.

Kirby said major developments were required in the three sectors of the value chain, with vehicle manufacturers embracing advanced manufacturing technologies to boost productivity and quality, while the component sector needed to urgently develop Tier 2 and 3 suppliers and the dealers and retail sector needed to transform and uplift the informal sector.

“Growing production volumes, increasing localisation significantly and using the latest technologies in all aspects of the business are vital to transform the South African automotive industry and to this end the aim was increase output from the 610 000 vehicles made in 2018 to 800 000 in 2023,” he says.

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“We expect local procurement to grow by R12,6-billion in the next five years together with a 14% increase in direct employment, which equates to creating another 16 000 jobs, mainly in the component manufacturing sector as local content grows from 39% to at least 42%.”

Kirby stressed the importance of collaboration between the various vehicle and component manufacturers to enable cost-effective localisation. Already 10 joint projects have been identified for this process.

He added raw material beneficiation such as making automotive grade steel in SA was another priority and he was pleased to hear the local steel industry was currently investigating these potentially valuable developments.

He added the industry is also committed to establishing 500 Tier 2 and 3 suppliers with 130 of them black owned. Here he referred to the importance of the Automotive Transformation Fund as a key enabler.

The global vehicle manufacturing and related industries are facing enormous disruptors at present and it is a case of the sustainability and viability of these businesses relying on “an ability to manage a future not yet defined” says Douglas Comrie, Managing Driector of B&M Analysts, a local company with international strategic partners that ‘enables sustainable growth through innovative solutions in various industrial sectors’.

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Douglas Comrie

“The focus of companies involved in the automotive sector is changing drastically and rapidly, with a reported 42% of global OEM investment currently going into new mobility technologies and services and no longer only into new vehicle research and development,” says Comrie.

“The changes are also leading to many alliances in the global automotive industry, many of them unexpected liaisons. For instance, BMW now has alliances with 11 other companies and Toyota 10 of these partnerships. They not only involve different types of vehicles, such as battery electric and autonomous driving, but also a host of mobility services.

“In addition, these industries have to deal with the decoupling of several major world economies, such as the import duties spat between the United States and China and the impending Brexit deal in Europe.

“Many of these massive global changes currently taking place are not in anyone’s control. However, in the case of the South Africa’s new Automotive Masterplan this vision is in the country’s collective control, which will be arguably sufficient to define success or failure.”

On top of all of that, the demands by consumers are not only changing these days but they are also becoming more challenging in the way they expect to be treated says Ghana Msibi, the Executive Head of the Motor Division of WesBank, the country’s leading vehicle and asset finance house.

He said despite many changes in the way companies did business some consumers still think they are lagging behind in meeting their needs.

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Ghana Msibi

“I believe the key words we must consider today are personalisation, simplification, consistency, relevance – customised around the right product at the right time and right price – and choice, in the realm of being available anywhere and at any time.

“A seismic shift in attitude is needed. We must move beyond convenience to provide real value, being very aware of the type and level of service they enjoy from companies such as Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Google.”

The WesBank senior executive said the theme of this year’s NAAMSA Conference, ‘Re-imagining The Future Together’, was apt as what is needed is a true partnership between manufacturers or importers, dealers and the banks.

“We are all totally inter-dependent,” he added. “The next step is to be proactive when the time comes that loans are settled, by being ready with suggestions as to what level of finance will be available when buying the next car and even what type of car might be most suitable. We must be ahead of the game.”

Electrified Porsche

As the shudders from the truly faithful subsided around the world, Porsche launched itself into its own next generation with the formal premiere of the electric Taycan.

“The Taycan links our heritage to the future. It carries forward the success story of our brand – a brand that has fascinated and thrilled people the world over for more than 70 years,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, who opened the world premiere in Berlin: “This day marks the start of a new era.”

Photography: Christoph Bauer
Postproduction: Wagnerchic – www.wagnerchic.com

The four-door sports saloon is a unique package, offering typical Porsche performance and connectivity with everyday usability. At the same time, highly advanced production methods and the features of the Taycan are setting new standards in the fields of sustainability and digitalisation.

“We promised a true Porsche for the age of electromobility – a fascinating sports car that not only excites in terms of its technology and driving dynamics, but also sparks a passion in people all over the world, just like its legendary predecessors have done. Now we are delivering on this promise,” emphasises Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG – Research and Development.

The first models in the new series are the Taycan Turbo S and Taycan Turbo. They are at the cutting edge of Porsche E-Performance and are among the most powerful production models that the sports car manufacturer currently has in its product range. Less powerful variants of these all-wheel drive vehicles will follow this year. The first derivative to be added will be the Taycan Cross Turismo at the end of next year. By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than six billion euros in electromobility.

Photography: Christoph Bauer
Postproduction: Wagnerchic – www.wagnerchic.com

The flagship Turbo S version of the Taycan can generate up to 560 kW overboost power in combination with Launch Control, and the Taycan Turbo up to 500 kW. The Taycan Turbo S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 2,8 seconds, while the Taycan Turbo completes this sprint in 3,2 seconds.

The Turbo S has a range of up to 412 kilometres and the Turbo a range of up to 450 kilometres (according to WLTP in each case). The top speed of both all-wheel-drive models is 260 km/h.

The Taycan is the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts for electric cars. This is a particular advantage for Taycan drivers on the road: in just over five minutes, the battery can be recharged using direct current (DC) from the high-power charging network for a range of up to 100 kilometres (according to WLTP). The charging time for five to 80% SoC (state of charge) is 22,5 minutes for charging under ideal conditions, and the maximum charging power (peak) is 270 kW.

The overall capacity of the Performance Battery Plus is 93,4 kWh. Taycan drivers can comfortably charge their cars with up to eleven kW of alternating current (AC) at home.

The silhouette is shaped by the roofline sloping downward to the rear. The highly sculpted side sections are also characteristic. The sleek cabin, the drawn-in rear C-pillar and the pronounced shoulders of the wings result in a sharply emphasised rear, typical of the brand.

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The cockpit signals the start of a new era with its clear structure and a completely new architecture. The free-standing, curved instrument cluster forms the highest point on the dashboard. This places a clear focus on the driver axis.

A central, 10,9-inch infotainment display and an optional passenger display are combined to form an integrated glass band in a black-panel look. All user interfaces have been completely newly designed for the Taycan. The number of classic hardware controls such as switches and buttons has been greatly reduced and the voice control function responds to the command “Hey Porsche”.

With the Taycan, Porsche offers an entirely leather-free interior for the first time. Interiors made from recycled materials underscore the sustainable concept of the electric sports car. ‘Foot garages’ – recesses in the battery in the rear footwell – ensure sitting comfort in the rear and allow the low vehicle height typical of sports cars. Two luggage compartments are available: the front compartment has a capacity of 81 litres and the rear 366 litres.

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The Taycan Turbo S and Taycan Turbo have two electric machines, one on the front axle and one on the rear axle, thus making the cars all-wheel drive. Both the range and the continuous power of the drive benefit from the high efficiency of the permanently excited synchronous machines.

A special feature of the electric motors is the ‘hairpin’ winding of the stator coils. This technology makes it possible to incorporate more copper in the stator, increasing power output and torque while maintaining the same component volume.

The two-speed transmission installed on the rear axle is an innovation developed by Porsche. First gear gives the Taycan even more acceleration from a standing start, while second gear with a long gear ratio ensures high efficiency and equally high power reserves. This also applies at very high speeds.

The integrated Porsche 4D Chassis Control analyses and synchronises all chassis systems in real time. The chassis systems include adaptive air suspension with three-chamber technology including PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) electronic damper control, as well as the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) electromechanical roll stabilisation system including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus).

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The Porsche Taycan’s world premiere took place simultaneously in North America, China and Europe with each event location symbolising a form of sustainable energy management. Located at the border between the US state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario, Niagara Falls represented hydropower, meanwhile a solar farm in Neuhardenberg, near Berlin represented solar power and a wind farm on Pingtan Island, around 150 kilometres from the Chinese city of Fuzhou in the province of Fujian represented wind power.