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The 2010 motoring year – from A to Z
Most people connected to the motor industry will be glad to see the back of 2009. But that’s all water under the bridge now: it’s a new year, and a new decade.
In South Africa, car sales were down by more than 20 percent, but many are hoping for a mild upturn this year. And there’s certainly no shortage of new models expected here – from small to big, from commuter to sports car, from gas guzzlers to hybrids.
But let’s start with two brands that have been arch-rivals for decades. And the both come from Bavaria. We’re talking, of course, about BMW and Audi. And both brands have a very busy 2010 planned as far as new model launches in South Africa are concerned.
Expect Audi to expose the Spider version of its seminal R8 supercar in time for the European summer. It’s likely to be offered in V10 form only, and feature an electrically operated soft top. Lucky occupants will really be able to savour the banshee wail of that Lambo-sourced engine.
Much bigger news for South Africans is the debut, this week, of the all-new A5 Sportback. Although it’s a mix of hatchback, sedan and coupé, the design convinces aesthetically, with swift dynamics to match.
Yesterday General Motors announced that they had reached a binding agreement with Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker Cars on the purchase of Saab Automobile AB. The Swedish Government and European Investment Bank have thrown their weight behind the transaction.
The fate of Saab has been unknown ever since GM (facing serious financial strain due to the ailing American economy) said that it was looking to dispose of Saab which it has owned since 2000. At first it looked like fellow Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg Group AB would purchase Saab but the deal was scrapped later due to timing uncertainty.
This is undoubtedly good news for everyone involved, but especially for Spyker because they have the advantage of buying a company at bankruptcy prices but with very little of the negative goodwill that is normally associated with such a deal. GM has taken the brunt of the bad publicity and Saab (although not the strongest of companies) in seen to have just been in the wrong hands at the wrong time.
Autocar is reporting that during an interview with VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn, the first official confirmation that a sub-Boxster sports car was being evaluated. He went on to say that it would probably not arrive before …
Some good news for all us small and downright beautiful car lovers – Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne recently announced in a teleconference with financial analysts that Fiat will finally be launching the new Panda in 2011.
A few readers might already know this but Toyota has not had the best of times over the last two weeks or so. It seems that under certain very rare conditions the accelerator pedal mechanism maybe be harder to depress, slow to return to the idle position or remain open in a partially depressed position. In other words, you could find yourself going forward long after you decided not to.
The American press has been buzzing about this for the better part of this week as rumoured pedal issues transformed into a full blown recall, culminating in Toyota including Europe and South Africa in the list of affected countries last night.
Toyota South Africa is on record saying that it is currently investigating which vehicles may be involved in the recall and will make an announcement in due course, but in the mean time here is the list of European Toyotas that are affected (built between February 2005 and February 2010)
Peter Schreyer, design director at Kia Motors has undoubtedly been earning his weekly wage. The Cerato and Cerato Coup are both very handsome cars and the recently upgraded Sorento is light years ahead in looks when compared …
BMW has officially announced that there will be a formal debut of an upgraded version of the 335i coupe and convertible at the New York Auto Show in March. According to the American press release the 2011 335is, although looking very similar to the current 2010 335i, will have power boosted to 240 kW and 450 Nm (an extra 15 kW and 50 Nm) with an over-boost function pushing maximum torque to 500 Nm.
Styling differences include the scrapping of fog lights in favour of additional cooling to the engine bay, an integrated rear diffuser as well as various M Sport bits and pieces. A 6 speed manual or optional 7 speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will be offered with the DCT gearbox sporting Launch Control and a claimed 0-100 sprint of 5.0 seconds flat.
The press release for the 335is came from BMW USA and therefore a few things need to be kept in mind when looking at the South African market.