This Week In The News
NEWS IN SHORT
- Chinese car brands are continuing to expand in South Africa, as there are at least 11 different models anticipated to release here in 2024.
- Following a year with mixed financial results, WeBuyCars (WBC) owner Transaction Capital is pursuing the unbundling of the pre-owned car business from its portfolio to list it on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
- There has been a rapid increase in vehicle number plate cloning in South Africa, which has dangerous implications for the average motorist.
- It costs the South African government an average of between R900,000 and R1.5 million to replace one broken or stolen traffic signal.
- By 2030, cars are expected to evolve into 'smart machines' that also serve as reliable, personal weather forecasting units, with advanced sensor technology and machine learning algorithms delivering real-time, pinpointed weather updates.
- Old Mutual says it is on track to launch a new bank in South Africa in 2024, with the plan to soft-launch for “friends and family” before taking the almost R2 billion build live with the wider public.
- During its annual State of the Motoring Industry address, Toyota announced plans to introduce 6 new vehicles in South Africa over the course of 2024.
- The International Monetary Fund downgraded its economic growth forecasts for South Africa, warning that logistical challenges are constraining activity and acting as a drag on the entire region.
The economy will likely grow a meagre 1% this year, significantly slower than the IMF’s forecast in October, when it saw South Africa’s GDP expanding by 1.8%, the Washington-based lender said on Tuesday in an update to its World Economic Outlook.
DID YOU KNOW
- Automotives first came to South Africa in 1896 when a Benz Velo was imported and it was demonstrated on January 4 of 1897 in Pretoria in front of President Paul Kruger.
- The earliest known petrol-driven truck in South Africa was a vehicle built by the Boers in Johannesburg to transport ammunition and other heavy stores, but owing to lack of fuel it was abandoned.
- By 1925 there were some 18 000 Model T-Fords on South African Roads almost three times more than any other make.
- In spite of all the positive changes that the motor car has brought about, one should not forget the negative aspects: 15 to 20 million people were killed by it in its first century
- It is illegal to slam a car door in Switzerland after 10pm
- In the United States, a car is stolen every 45 seconds!
7 high-risk vehicles for theft and hijacking:
According to Fidelity’s latest data, the seven most high-risk models for theft and hijacking in South Africa are:
• VW Polo
• Ford Ranger
• Nissan NP200
• Toyota RAV 4
• Toyota Corolla Cross
• Toyota Hilux GD-6 and D-4D
• Toyota Fortuner GD-6 and D-4D
“Hijackers target specific vehicles for a specific purpose and market,” SAID Fidelity Services Group CEO Wahl Bartmann . “The demand for Toyotas, VWs, Fords, and Nissans remains high on the black market.”
He further said that hijackers have shown an increased interest in stealing commercial vehicles and trucks as they often carry valuable cargo, such as the Hyundai H-100 which is regularly used by companies as a last-mile delivery vehicle.
It’s important to note that the above high-risk vehicles are not the only cars in the crosshairs of hijackers, and anyone on the road remains at risk.
JANUARY 2024 USED, SALES STATS
TOP 10 DERIVATIVES USED CAR SALES.
|POLO VIVO 1.4 TRENDLINE (5DR)
|ERTIGA 1.5 GA
|NP200 1.6 A/C SAFETY PACK P/U S/C
|RANGER 2.2TDCI XL P/U D/C
|POLO VIVO 1.4 COMFORTLINE (5DR)
|TIGGO 4 PRO 1.5 LIT
|TIGGO 4 PRO 1.5 LIT CVT
|POLO 1.0 TSI COMFORTLINE
|PICANTO 1.0 STREET
THE 5 BEST USED CAR SELLERS
TOP 3 USED COMMERCIAL / BAKKIE SALES
|NP200 1.6 A/C SAFETY PACK P/U S/C
|RANGER 2.2TDCI XL P/U D/C
|RANGER 2.0D XLT A/T P/U D/C
Average age of used vehicles sold : 6 Years
TomTom, Microsoft to bring conversational AI to cars.
Digital mapping specialist TomTom has partnered with Microsoft to create an artificial intelligence-powered conversational assistant for vehicles:-
The assistant will allow users to “converse naturally with their vehicles” and enable voice interaction with infotainment, location search and vehicle command systems, the company said.
TomTom, which competes with Google Maps and the world’s biggest mapping platform, Here, used various Microsoft services like its Azure OpenAI service to create the voice assistant.
The voice assistant can be integrated into other automotive infotainment systems
The Microsoft Azure OpenAI service allows enterprises to leverage ChatGPT maker OpenAI’s large language models (LLMs).
The voice assistant can be integrated into other automotive infotainment systems and is also built into TomTom’s Digital Cockpit, an open, modular in-vehicle infotainment platform, the Dutch map maker said.
Finance chief Taco Titulaer said in October that TomTom saw new opportunities in generative AI and was “investing time and money and people” into the technology.
TomTom launched an LLM plug-in for ChatGPT in July to allow the chatbot’s users to plan trips and explore new places using its maps.
The company began working with Microsoft in 2016, when it first started powering Azure Maps location services. — Arsheeya Bajwa, (c) 2023 Reuters
Done and Dusty: 2024 Dakar Rally concludes, Southern Africa done proud
Spaniards Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz quite literally cruised home to clinch El Matador’s fourth Dakar win at Yanbu in Saudi Arabia . It was a major petrol-electric coup for Audi, while seven South African made cars filled the top ten.
One of the toughest Dakars on record, the 2024 race was great for Southern African men and machines, with South African Cross Country champions Ross Branch second overall and Bradley Cox third in Rally 2.
The results highlight the success of the South African Rally-Raid Championship, with local vehicle manufacturers Toyota, Ford, Century Racing, and Red-Lined Motorsport all achieving remarkable results. This success also underscores the effectiveness of the SARRC in establishing the foundation for high-level international participation.