Petrolheads delight

August will see the return of the WesBank-backed Festival of Motoring to Kyalami with organisers claiming additional involvement from automakers for this year’s event that starts on August 31.

With additional automotive brands already confirmed, visitors can again expect even more new car launches, latest model displays, supercars on track and an engaging 4 x 4 area. With the focus on interactive experiences, self-drive activities will now be available on each of the show days at the centrally located Kyalami Handling Track.

Various new models can be driven on the 1,1 km test track. Some additional features to look forward to this year include double the amount of OEM pit door displays, improved and varied catering areas, a wine garden, dedicated kid’s area and air displays.

High quality and varied content, both on and off track, will entertain show visitors. National championship motor sport will feature at FoM for the first time.

The Sasol GTC Championship and Investchem Formula 1600 Series will race in official championship rounds.

An interactive pit area, with full public access, will bring cars and drivers closer to race fans. Modern GT race cars and a selection of quality historic race cars will be located in a new pit lane behind the main pit building.

Historic motorsport content will include a tribute to cars of endurance racing, all with iconic liveries. The Pablo Clark Ferrari Challenge will have a dedicated pit and provide action on track with a selection of racing Ferraris.

Motor sport legends will once again be honored at FoM and Sarel van der Merwe will act as the Grand Marshall of the event.

“I am proud to be associated with this prestigious event held at such an iconic venue” said the multiple SA champion.

Fifty modern road going supercars can be seen both in a dedicated pit area and on track during the three show days, while Classic cars will once again be a major drawcard with a focus on a selection of 15 quality cars making up the ‘Best of the Best’ display.

Classic car clubs will also once again feature in a dedicated area. A display of cars celebrating the evolution of the automobile will showcase cars with a unique South African story.

A new focus on future technology will showcase the latest trends and innovations in the motor industry. Two retail areas will exhibit the motoring aftermarket, conversion and other specialist industries. The indoor retail area located in the lower pit complex with the outdoor area located on the upper platform.

General Access tickets for the event are available at www.itickets.co.za. Tickets will be available at the gate.

 

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No Kwid pro quo

There is a series currently running on television about a mirror image world to the one we know and in which the same people exist – your double – but do not necessarily have exactly the same lives, aspirations or outcomes.

Putting the Renault Kwid Climber and the AMT alongside each other, produces somewhat of a similar scenario with two cars from the same stable, identical in many respects but so different they are. . . wait for it. . . world apart.

In South Africa, the SUV-inspired Kwid hatchback has sold more than 10 000 vehicles since its launch in late 2016 and took third position as one of South Africa’s 10 best-selling passenger cars in December 2017, with 1 120 units sold.

Affordable transport is a key issue in South Africa, made even more important considering the economy is in a slump and there are strikes in the bus industry along with taxi violence. Young people who do have jobs and need to make the journey to and from work are eager to achieve the independence their own transport can provide.

Thus, the competitive pricing of the Indian manufactured Kwid along with the reasonably high levels of specification, make this an attractive proposition.

The Kwid Climber boasts enhanced design by means of an exterior styling pack and comes in Electric Blue or Planet Grey two-tone colouring, further enhanced with the Kwid Climber insignia, distinctive protection cladding on the doors, bumper over-riders and arching rails sporting orange accents on the roof.

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Inside is a strong piano black centre fascia with orange contours and the bespoke Climber insignia on the headrests of the two-tone seats. The orange accents extend to the door trims, side air vents, the two-tone gear knob and sporty steering wheel with unique orange perforations.

Standard features include air-conditioning, electrically operated front windows and onboard navigation, this incorporated in the MediaNav navigation/multi-media system complete with 18 cm touchscreen display, radio and Bluetooth connectivity.

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The 1,0-litre 3-cylinder Smart Control efficiency (SCe) engine powering the Kwid models has been optimised for power and performance and pushes out peak power of 50 kW at 5 500 r/min and maximum torque of 91 Nm at 4 250 r/min.

It is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox and delivers a claimed 4,7 l/100 km – real world testing however put this much closer to 5,5 l/100 km.

As much as there might be a willingness from the engine, it is quite a noisy little child heading for the upper reaches of its rev range. However, it all needs to be taken in context of what the car is, what it is intended for and so on.

It is not a hot hatch. It is convenient, affordable and comfortable transport for a congested urban environment and, once on the boil, will scoot along highways without disgracing itself in terms of being able to maintain speed with the surrounding traffic.

Sure, the little engine does mean a need to gear down for the hills, but the gearbox is slick and accurate so this is far less of a chore than often is the case.

Good all round vision and the trim dimensions means it jinks through traffic with ease and whips smartly into those tight little urban parking spaces.

The Kwid AMT is, however, something different. Except for the unique colour scheme of the Climber is mechanically, dimensionally and feature wise exactly the same.

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It is just the AMT gearbox.

AMT stands for Automated Manual Transmission that means a manual gearbox with an electronically controlled clutch.

The idea may be sound but the execution is horrible.

The intention is the driver should have the same sensation in the car as if he or she were dipping the clutch and changing gear – even down to the slight dip of the nose of the car as the clutch engages.

Instead it struggles from pull off to make up its mind, takes an eternity to change one gear up and get going again – to the point where crossing a road or turning into a road becomes something of a heartstopper.

Even worse is when faced with a hill and there is neeed to change down – it almost come to a total stop as the gearbox tries to sort itself out.

This is by no means the first AMT gearbox that has found its way to market and all other before this one have had the same sort of issues – it just does not work.

There is also no possibility of driver input – there is no gear shift, just a rotary know on the dashboard offering ‘R’, ‘N’ or ‘D’ – it is either stopped, going forward or backward and one must remember it is not an automatic so releasing the footbrake on an incline will have the Kwid running backwards.

Handbrake use is paramount.

Once in top gear and up to speed, the AMT is pleasant enough to drive and it handles motorway speeds and rural routes quite easily and comfortably.

I had the upspecced Dynamique version so had the MediaNav navigation/multi-media system complete with a 18 cm touchscreen display, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free telephony, built in navigation, USB  AUX-input ports and speed sensing volume control.

The Climber and the AMT could not be more different and. . . wait for it . . . there is no Kwid pro quo here.

As is standard across Renault’s entire product range, the Renault Kwid model range comes with a 5-year/150 000 km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. Services take place at 15 000 km intervals. Optional service plans are available.

Isuzu joins the fray

The ‘new look’ Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA) has launched its first product since being forced to go it alone with the departure of General Motors from South Africa – and has done so with the 7-seater mu-X, adding its hat into a very busy ring.

This is not the first foray Isuzu has made into the SUV market locally, having previously marketed the Trooper way back in 1992.

“The launch of the mu-X is an important milestone for Isuzu Motors South Africa, as it expands our current product portfolio into the sport utility vehicle category, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in the automotive industry, both globally and in the domestic market,” says Dominic Rimmer, Executive Technical Services.

“Building on Isuzu’s long-standing heritage, along with the proven reliability and trusted capabilities of the KB, the mu-X introduces an entirely new level of practicality, comfort and convenience that is ideally suited to the adventurous and lifestyle-oriented nature of South African customers.”

Although the trendy mu-X is new to South Africa, it is already a well-established contender in several international markets, having been launched in Thailand in 2013. It is also currently sold in Australia as well as the Philippines, where it is the market leader.

The mu-X is powered by Isuzu’s 3,0-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbo-diesel diesel engine that produces 130 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque. It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which has a sequential sport mode. A three-tonne towing capacity makes it a great choice for towing trailers or caravans.

Two models are available with the choice of 4×2 or 4×4 derivatives. The four-wheel drive version relies on Isuzu’s Terrain Command 4×4 system with electronically selected two and four-wheel drive high-range modes, or 4×4 low-range for more challenging off-road driving.

The mu-X is equipped with a fully independent suspension all round, encompassing a five-link set-up at the rear.

LED daytime running lights and Bi-LED projector headlamps with auto-levelling functionality is standard on both models.

The interior includes an electronic climate control system for front and rear occupants – the latter having access to their own cooling vents for added comfort.

A multi-function infotainment unit with a nine-inch colour touchscreen display provides access to the imbedded satellite navigation, audio and communication systems that includes a DVD and MP3-compatible CD player, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Front and rear USB slots are provided, in conjunction with an auxiliary iPod input and HDMI port.

Leather trim is standard for the seats, with the driver’s seat offering six-way electric adjustment. The leather-trimmed steering wheel has convenient fingertip controls for the audio and phone functions, as well as the cruise control.

Safety features include anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA). This is complemented by Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Hill Descent Control (HDC) which can be engaged in low-range 4×4 mode.

Passive safety equipment includes dual front, side and full-length curtain air bags, linked to front seat pre-tensioner seatbelts, plus a high-tensile steel passenger safety cell that offers outstanding strength and rigidity.

A rear-facing camera aids reversing and parking via the nine-inch full colour display, while a factory-fitted immobiliser and alarm system is standard fitment.

Customers have access to a wide range of accessories to personalise their mu-X. This includes functional items such as audible parking sensors, a storage box located beneath the luggage compartment, a tow bar, bonnet guard, weather guard kit for the windows, front spoiler set and rear bumper scuff plate as well as side steps.

Cosmetic enhancements are also available, comprising chrome trim adornments for the tailgate and front fog lamps.

The Isuzu mu-X comes standard with Isuzu Complete Care, comprising a 5-year/120 000km bumper-to-bumper warranty and Isuzu Roadside Assistance, a 5-year/unlimited km anti-corrosion warranty and a 5-year/90 000 km Service Plan. Service intervals are every 15 000 km/12 months.

Pricing

Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4X2 AT6 R568 000

Isuzu mu-X 3.0 4×4 AT6  R629 100

We are one

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in South Africa has merged its individual national sales companies to complete the integration locally of the world’s seventh largest car maker.

While FCA South Africa has been under a single management team since 2012 in line with the global merger, Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa and Chrysler South Africa have been operating as separate financial entities. The administrative merger of the entities from will formalise Fiat Chrysler Automobiles South Africa (Pty) Ltd as a single trading entity.

“We are excited to enter the next phase of FCA in South Africa,” says Robin van Rensburg, CEO of FCA South Africa. “For our customers, it will be business as usual with even more improvement in service levels thanks to the simpler and more effective systems.

“Our dealers and partners have invested with us over the past six years to get to this point and this will allow them to become even more effective.”

FCA South Africa is responsible for the sales and after-sales business of the Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fiat Professional, MOPAR, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands. MOPAR won the Gold Achiever Award for Excellence in Logistics in 2017 and FCA’s first-time pick rate remains the industry benchmark in South Africa, benefiting customer experience directly with aftersales service efficiency.

The product future for FCA South Africa is bright and 2018 will see the introduction of the all-new Jeep Compass and the Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV in the third quarter.

The latter will be another in the performance SUV segment, as will the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the most powerful and quickest Jeep SUV ever powered by the supercharged 6,2-litre V8 engine delivering 522 kW and 868 Nm of torque. The venerable Jeep Wrangler replacement will make its debut appearance in late 2018.

“We have created a vision to take us forward into 2020 in a sustainable and profitable manner, having learnt some valuable lessons from the past,” says Van Rensburg. “Customers will only benefit from this merger and the dealer network will remain unchanged. FCA’s brands will continue to succeed in the market and we look forward to the journey with our customers, dealers and partners.”

 

Road Impressions – Hyundai Grand i10

A sort of insider joke among a group of us regularly exposed to high quality wines but a long way from fluent in the art of winespeak, is to refer to whatever we are offered as “a brave little wine” – amazingly, often getting a nod of approval from the winespeakers, as if we were truly kindred spirits.

Having had the opportunity to drive both the Hyundai Grand i10 1.2 and 1.0 versions back to back, I thought it fitting to put them together in this road impressions – not as a direct comparison, but more as view from either end of the scale.

In that, the 1.0 emerges as a “brave little car” and, for me, was the more fun to drive of the two.

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However, to backtrack a little.

Hyundai rejuvenated its Grand i10 range in South Africa with new features and added a new entry derivative to give this popular entry-level model a fresh appeal in the local automotive market earlier this year.

The Grand i10 hatchback, which is the smallest new car in the local Hyundai range, has taken over the role of entry-level model after the i10 was discontinued.

“We had a relook at the Grand i10 range, change the specification levels and added a new entry derivative with a 1,0-litre engine and the Motion specification level. The end result is a hatchback model with a variety of derivatives that offer exceptional value,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

The revised line-up of this smallest hatchback in the Hyundai range consists of six derivatives –three powered by the new 1,0-litre 3-cylinder engine delivering 48 kW at 5 500 r/min and 94 Nm maximum torque at 3 500 r/min and the other three using the 1,25-litre 4-cylinder engine, which delivers 64 kW at 6 000 r/min. and 120 Nm maximum torque at 4 000 r/min.

A passenger air bag was now been added in all the derivatives to the driver’s air bag and steering wheel remote controls, including buttons for the Bluetooth connectivity for cell-phones and an integrated microphone also form part of the upgraded features across the range.

The Grand i10 Fluid and Glide derivatives have electrically heated side mirrors that can also fold in at the touch of a button and an ‘infotainment’ centre with a large full-colour touch-screen where.

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The body shell of the Grand i10 produces one of the roomiest occupant cabins on the market, as well as an impressive 256 litres of trunk capacity. Up to 1 202 litres become available when the rear seats are folded.

The Grand i10 incorporates the hexagonal grille, the signature front end for Hyundai Motor’s cars, which clearly showing its family DNA and providing a link to its larger siblings. Grand i10 Fluid and Glide derivatives boast a chrome grille in front, as well as alloy wheels. The Motion derivatives are equipped with steel wheels with a wheel cover.

Colour-coded door handles and side-mirrors, with turn indicators built into them, combine with the attractive alloy wheels (in the Fluid and Glide specification levels) to create a very good-looking small hatchback.

Interior styling and trim differs from black cloth for the Motion and Fluid derivatives, to black leather and red cloth for the Grand i10 Glide. The Glide also sports red inserts on the instrument and door panels, as well as the centre console.

All Grand i10 derivatives are also equipped with a full-size spare wheel, height adjustment for the driver’s seat, and remote controls for the sound system and driver’s information on the steering wheel.

With that as the backstory, why do I say the 1,0-litre is more fun to drive?

Many of us love to root for the underdog in any form of competition and the 1.0 is certainly the underdog in this fight – but makes up for its lower performance by the same kind of willingness that powered ‘The Little Engine that Could’.

Both variants are intended in life as city commuters or short-haul runabouts and, while they would both make the distance, are not ideally suited as open road tourers.

So, neither of them accelerates like a Ferrari, goes as fast as a Ferrari or corners like a Ferrari. Keeping it all in context, they both move energetically off the line and are happy to be revved to the max going up through the gears.

It is also true both (especially the 1.0) require a downshift or two to keep momentum up longer  hills, but with the slick action gearbox fitted, this is not an arduous task.

Interestingly, both the 1.0 Motion and 1.2 Glide are fitted with 5.5J x 14 rims and 165/65 R14 rubber – the alloy wheels on the 1.2 giving the impression of a large tyre footprint as well as taking the leads in terms of overall looks.

Misbehave into a corner, however, and the Grand i10 can bite back. The small footprint means it does not like sudden directional changes, but feed it gently into the bend and it will remain mostly neutral with, perhaps, a little initial understeer.

Where the 1.2 has that much more left in reserve for overtaking, the 1.0 requires a little more planning and it is ‘achievement’ that makes it fun to play with around town and the R53 000 difference in price between the two adds to the appeal of the commuter.

In real terms, when it comes to motoring essentials, the 1.0 loses nothing to the 1.2, the latter simply more luxurious and fettled with more features.

The Grand i10’s 1,25-litre engine belongs to Hyundai Motor’s popular ‘Kappa’ engine family and incorporates a range of features that raise power and torque, and enhance smoothness and driveability.

The 1 248 cc engine delivers 64 kW peak power at 6 000 r/min, and reaches its maximum torque delivery of 120 Nm at 4 000 r/min. Fuel consumption can be as low as 5,9 l/100 km, while the fuel-consumption of the 1,0-litre engine is 5,4 l/100 km for the manual gearbox derivatives.

Up front is a McPherson strut suspension while, at the rear, a coupled torsion beam suspension ensures comfortable driving with a stable and firm grip on the road.

The ‘Yin and Yang’ of the Hyundai i10 range occupy important places in a crowded – and very competitive – market segment, providing high levels of specification for a car under the R150 000 mark and competitive levels of luxury at the other end of the range.

 

XC40 launches locally

With diesel or petrol engine options, the new Volvo XC40 expands the design trend started with the XC90 to take on other players in the premium compact SUV arena.

A new evolution of Volvo’s latest design language has resulted in an expressive and unique exterior, while a bespoke interior inherits all of Volvo’s latest design elements, including the 9-inch Sensus Connect touch screen and digital instrument cluster.

New design elements such as the optional contrasting black or white roof, white mirror caps and wheels, Oxide Red leather and ‘Lava’ carpets, which are made from 100% recycled materials, will allow XC40 customers to express a more individualistic style.

Functional practicality has also been a major focus on the inside of the XC40, where smart features such as a removable rubbish bin, a cubby hole hook, a dedicated smartphone storage area with wireless (inductive) charging, and a multi-adaptable boot floor, transform a typically cluttered and sometimes messy car interior into a place of serenity and organised efficiency.

The Volvo XC40 launches in SA with a choice of two trim levels (the sporty R-Design and elegant Momentum), two engines (D4 diesel or T5 petrol), and all-wheel drive on all models. Top-of-the-range Inscription derivatives arrive later in 2018, as well as the T3 front-wheel drive version.

The XC40 also introduces the new Care by Volvo subscription model, whereby customers are able to subscribe to a car rather than buy it, for a fixed monthly fee which includes service, maintenance, insurance and other added value benefits. Care by Volvo is under consideration for introduction in South Africa with a planned date of mid-2019.

Says Greg Maruszewski, MD Volvo Car South Africa, “This car is perfectly suited to the South African market. It’s luxurious, capable and compact, and pricing is extremely competitive. The new Volvo XC40 is equipped with a higher level of standard specification than any of its competitors.”

City Safety is included as standard in the new XC40. This system senses potential collisions, even when it is dark, and can activate the brakes automatically should you not react in time. City Safety provides three levels of intervention; warning, brake support and full autonomous braking, and uses a combination of instruments and sensors to constantly monitor surrounding conditions.

The Pedestrian, Cyclist and Large Animal Detection technology detects and automatically brakes the vehicle in the event of a pedestrian, cyclist or large animal (such as cattle) stepping/swerving/jumping out in front of the car. The advanced sensor system scans the area ahead and will prompt you to act with a flashing warning light, along with an audible alarm. If you do not react to the warning, and a collision is imminent, the car immediately brakes with full braking force.

Rearward facing radar detects if a rear impact is imminent, and safety belts are tightened in advance in order to protect the occupants. Lights also start flashing to warn the driver behind and brakes are activated to help reduce the impact movement.

Lane Keeping Aid is a standard-fitted system that helps the driver keep the car in its lane by gently steering the car back if it is about to cross a lane marking, and if the car senses that the driver is not driving actively, or for example, not using their indicators. If the supplied steering intervention is insufficient the driver is alerted by vibrations in the steering wheel. The system is active between 65-200 km/h.

The new XC40 can also help you stay informed by displaying real-world road sign information within your instrument display. This function also has the ability to warn the driver should the vehicle exceed the current road speed limit. At Volvo we understand that you have a lot on your mind sometimes.

Optionally available, is Volvo’s next generation of semi-autonomous technology. The Adaptive Cruise Control feature maintains the desired set vehicle speed but utilises radar to monitor the vehicle in front and automatically slows down or speeds up as necessary.

In an evolution of this, Pilot Assist also takes care of the steering (up to 130 km/h and when lane markings are clearly visible) by continually monitoring the area in front of the vehicle, making the necessary steering, accelerator and brake inputs as required to keep to the desired speed, distance and within the lane markings.

The Blind Spot Information System uses sensors to alert the driver to vehicles within the mirror blind spots, on either side of the vehicle. Cross Traffic Alert uses radar to provide information to the driver about vehicles approaching from the side – for example when reversing out of a parking space. New in the XC40, Cross

Traffic Alert now also includes braking support, which allows the car to brake on its own if an impact from either side is imminent.

This function allows the car to take over steering control in difficult parallel or perpendicular parking spots. The driver is prompted to control the throttle, braking and gear inputs. The “park out” function also assists in exiting tighter spots.

During low speed manoeuvres, the Visual Park Assist 360º Cameras provide the driver with additional information relating to the car’s surroundings. A birds-eye view of the car is provided via four hidden cameras, digitally stitched together to create a seamless image on the centre screen.

Run-off road accidents are amongst the largest cause of single vehicle accidents. To combat this, Volvo Cars has developed two support systems aimed at helping to avoid a run-off road accident from taking place, or protecting the car’s occupants in the case of an unavoidable road departure.

The Run-off Road Mitigation function is designed to help prevent unintentional road departures at vehicle speeds between 65-140 km/h. Run-off Road Protection focuses on accidental road departure. Using input from the car’s advanced sensor system, the technology is able to detect a run off road scenario.

Distraction, lack of concentration, and falling asleep are major reasons for accidents. In 2007 Volvo Cars introduced a world-first technology to combat this danger. Driver Alert Control keeps track of the car’s path in relation to lane markings on either side, by means of the camera in the windscreen.

If the system detects that the car is being driven in an erratic manner the driver gets an alert in the form of an audible signal as well as a text message and a coffee cup symbol in the driver display, that indicate it is time to take a break. With Sensus Navigation, the driver also gets guidance to the next available place to take the break.

 

BMW expands parts operation

BMW South Africa has upped its game in terms of parts distribution with the opening of a new regional centre (RDC) following a R260-million investment together with project partner Attacq.

The 32 000 square metre facility at Waterfall, Gauteng has the capacity for 600 000 parts and this investment is in addition to the R6,1-billion injection that has been pivotal in upgrading the company’s Rosslyn manufacturing plant for production of the new BMW X3.

“The business of mobility is increasingly complex and intricate. More than ever, it is critical we are able to be flexible in our approach,” says CEO BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, Tim Abbott. “The new Regional Distribution Centre will allow us to react timeously and seamlessly to changing customer needs because it is a state-of-the-art, highly technical facility.”

The bespoke warehouse has doubled in size and has capacity for further expansion in the medium term.

There are approximately 100 000 bin locations in the RDC containing 30 000 different kinds of parts. It will store some 600 000 parts, handle thousands of dealer orders every day and service 56 dealers across Southern Africa. It will refine yet further the service customers of the BMW Group brands, with service delivery of up to three times per day to dealers in Gauteng.

The relocation of parts warehousing has created space at BMW Group South Africa’s Midrand head office. A further R260-million investment is being made for the upgrade of all of the Group’s Midrand facilities, including the development of the Midrand Campus.

“This expansion will include office space to house some 500 associates from our SAP Shared Services Centre, currently based in Menlyn, Pretoria. The BMW Group South Africa SAP Shared Services Centre has grown at a phenomenal rate recently, doubling its headcount as it takes on more global contracts. Such is the space available at Midrand, there is capacity for further large-scale expansion if required.

“As a leader in the future of mobility we are a company focussed on learning, innovating, and inspiring. Our employees are at the centre of this philosophy. By moving our associates from the SAP Shared Services Centre, as well as incorporating our colleagues from BMW Financial Services, we’re in a better positon than ever to collaborate and learn from each other,” says Abbott.

“Taking care of our customers is a vital part of our business. This RDC will guarantee we are there for our customers when they need us most and that faster than ever, we can get them back to where they want to be – at the wheel of their BMW or MINI,”