This Week In The News

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  • South Africa's business confidence slipped in the fourth quarter, mainly due to weak local demand for vehicles. (See main story)

  • Audi will expand its South African portfolio in 2024 with over eight new special-edition cars and SUVs.

  • VMoto Soco (VSSA) has officially opened its doors in South Africa, offering a range of six electric motorcycles.

  • VW has officially launched a pilot project for its ID.Buzz electric van in South Africa as part of its long-term plan to introduce battery-powered passenger cars to the country.

  • Mini has confirmed that the new Countryman S crossover will be coming to South Africa next year.

  • South African startup Eagle Eye Defence (EED) has developed a new system with which normal motorists will be able to scan their fingerprints to authenticate themselves as the owner or an authorized user of a car before it will start.

  • The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to hold interest rates for the third consecutive meeting.
    This keeps the repo rate at 8.25%, with the prime lending rate at 11.75%.


Business confidence slips

Data showed on Tuesday that South Africa’s business confidence slipped in the fourth quarter, mainly due to weak local demand for vehicles as consumer incomes remained under pressure in the face of high borrowing costs.

A survey by the Rand Merchant Bank, and compiled by the Bureau for Economic Research, showed the business confidence index fell to 31 points in the fourth quarter from 33 points in the previous three months.

Confidence among new vehicle dealers, who have been reporting very high inventory levels, dropped 24 points — the lowest level since the second quarter of 2020, when South Africa imposed its strictest Covid-19 lockdown.

Rising borrowing costs have curtailed consumer spending, while businesses are struggling to pass on higher input costs to buyers.

Respondents on the survey also pointed to logistical challenges, ranging from delays at the ports to dealing with potholes and a struggle to receive timely payments for delivered goods.


Springbok Eben Etzebeth
Earlier this year, Etzebeth and his wife, Analia Etzebeth, joined the Mercedes-Benz FOTB programme (Friend Of The Brand). Mercedes-Benz South Africa announced that the Springboks player would spend one year behind the wheel of a white Mercedes GLE 400 d, and Anlia Etzebeth would pilot the latest GLC 300 d model.

Eben Etzebeth Mercedes-Benz

Did you know?

  • Topolino is the Italian name of Mickey Mouse, and the nickname people gave to the iconic first Fiat 500. Today it is the name of the new electric quadricycle.

  • Most EVs run on specific tyres.

  • 90% of drivers admit to singing in the car.

  • The first ever car accident occurred in 1891.

  • The word “car” is derived from the Latin word ‘Carrum’ which means “two-wheeled Celtic war chariot.

  • Volvo is Latin for “I roll”. That’s how I roll.

  • It would take nearly a month to drive to the moon, at 95 km/h.


SUVs and crossovers are hot property at the moment.

Buyers just love these high-riding machines for their combination of practicality and fashionable looks, even if it comes at the expense of some handling finesse and overall stability.

Of course don’t expect to tower above traffic in your shiny new SUV because the latest sales numbers show that every second motorist is also buying one.

Figures released by Hyundai at the recent facelifted Grand i10 launch show that, for the first time ever, more than half of all new passenger cars sold in South Africa were SUVs or crossovers.

Year-to-date in 2023, these accounted for 50.3% of the passenger sales pie, while hatchbacks were a distant second at 36.7%. This comparison excludes bakkies and other light commercial vehicles, which made up around 25% of the overall market last year.

Cape Town

The City of Cape Town has refuted claims that one of its traffic officials wanted to experience driving a Ferrari and had purposely impounded it, as claimed by the owner.

It is alleged that on October 1 the Ferrari California T, was at a car repair dealership at the V&A Waterfront; when the mechanic had taken it for a test drive, he was stopped by the officer and the vehicle was subsequently impounded.

The owner of the vehicle, Bruwer Raats, a member of the Cape Winemakers Guild and international award-winning winemaker, is seeking damages and compensation from the City to the tune of R160 000. The vehicle’s interior seating material had apparently been torn.

The City admits that the Ferrari had been driven by one of its officers to the impound but said the vehicle was damaged prior to the day in question.

Maxine Bezuidenhout, spokesperson for Traffic Services, explained that “All the damages as claimed, were recorded in the presence of the driver and franchise manager who refused to sign the vehicle checklist prior to our officer driving the vehicle.”


Bruwer Raats Ferrari Was Driven by a City Traffic Official to the Impound Picture Supplied