Editor Week 23-28 July 2018

Monday 23 July, 2018

It’s an interesting start to the week at FCA. This Monday has brought with it a new CEO in Mike Manley (Jeep Boss) who had to suddenly replace Sergio Marchionne who is experiencing health issues. We hope that Sergio pulls through. A South African contingent of automotive media heads out to Spain to go drive the new BMW M2 and M5 Competition alongside select BMW M models like the tantalizing M3 CS at the famous Ascari race resort in Spain. While still on BMW, a year or so ago BMW canned its carbon-fibre prop-shafts in M3/M4 in favour of a metal unit. My conclusion then was preparations for hybrid technology. This week rumours and speculation abound is that the company, much like peers Mercedes-AMG, is planning to electrify its BMW M portfolio.  It’s a foregone conclusion that all and sundry will go electric or at least hybrid for the moment. Haval, the Chinese vehicle brand scores a Bronze for Dealer satisfaction at the annual NADAs (National Automobile Dealers Association) in the same week that Sandton hosts a BRICS countries summit.

Will BMW M go electric and hybrid? This is the bug bear of the week.

Tuesday 24 July, 2018

It’s a typical Tuesday and Volkswagen South Africa is launching its new Touareg from today onwards. The large SUV has largely been an enigma in the segment. I hardly see any yet the previous iteration was such an accomplished car. If you are in the market for a luxury behemoth, please remember it, and the Lamborghini Urus – the brand’s only second SUV after the enormous and gung-ho, army Hummer style LM of the 80s, which has officially gone sale here in SA. This was also a fine time to also announce that Porsche Doyen, Toby Venter, who has in recent times added Ducati and Bentley to his portfolio, has now included Lamborghini, making him the biggest importer of fine metal but importantly, the Doyen of Volkswagen Auto Group brands in this country above VWSA, which looks after VW and Audi.

Remember the Touareg R50? This was and still is one cool thing. There is new one that went on sale in SA this week.

Wednesday 25 July, 2018

It’s a sad day in the automotive industry. Former FCA COE Sergio Marchionne succumbs to the health complications reported on Monday. It was four days ago that FCA inexplicably made a shocking decision to name Jeep Boss Mike Manley as CEOs. It seems they were privy to certain information on his prospects. Under Marchionne the industry witnessed a remarkable return to profitability and liveliness to brands that were dangerously obscure. Ferrari saw its biggest technological push forward under Sergio; Maserati became cool once more and Alfa Romeo woke from a deep slumber. His guiding hand also directed the company through on the biggest mergers of the new millennium – the creation of the Fiat Chrysler Automotive group. R.I.P Sergio.

Thursday 26 July, 2018

It’s #TBT and this week we decided to bring back one of the most impressive BMWs on the road. Understandably, the i3 largely lives in the shadow of the dashing i8 and now with i8 Roadster in tow things are going to get a little darker. However, it’s an incredible little luxury EV which slots in perfectly with the dire economy of the country. If you time your life well the i3 will reward you with reduced cost of ownership. Also note that since we reviewed this iteration BMW has since launched a refreshed version with a variety of enhancements including added fuel-free driving range. In terms of debuts Peugeot adds a more affordable and LIMITED EDITION 1.2-litre Active 96kW THP 6-speed manual version of the pretty 3008 SUV into the local market and Mercedes-Benz shows the new A-Class sedan. It’s a pretty thing. The world has a refreshed Porsche Macan. New enhancements are fused to extend its envelope of capabilities to an even higher level. It’s an exceptional dynamic drive which I’d love to have in no less than Macan S form. It’s also the company’s best seller globally, surpassing even the peerless Cayenne which has seen sales slowdown as more people scale down and newer customers use it as ramp into the brand ownership.

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