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By unknown | Sep 23, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

CAN you please tell me what all these abbreviations that one sees on various cars stand for, for instance GSX, GLE, GLS, RSI for Toyota Corolla, and TSI, TDI, FSI, GSX and so on for Volkswagen.

CAN you please tell me what all these abbreviations that one sees on various cars stand for, for instance GSX, GLE, GLS, RSI for Toyota Corolla, and TSI, TDI, FSI, GSX and so on for Volkswagen.



EVANS, that's a good question. Having long tried to figure out the meaning of these mysterious letters, I have come to the conclusion that they mostly have no meaning - except in a few rare cases. They are simply conjured up by the marketing boffins of the car manufacturers to impress would-be buyers.

The marketing people realise that in the mind of the ordinary person the letter "X" is associated with extra, the letter "G" has connotations of Grand, the letter "L" of Luxury, the letter "S" of Sporty, the letter "E" of Executive and so on.

They combine these letters in various ways to influence the public's perceptions, while at the same time using them as a convenient means of distinguishing between different equipment levels and engine options on cars with the same body shape.

There are exceptions to this fad. I am told that on VW models TSI stands for Turbo Stratified Injection, FSI stands for Fuel Stratified Injection (here the logic breaks down - what else than fuel is injected into a car engine, why not simply "SI"?), and DSG stands for Dual-Shift Gearbox, VW's genuinely interesting automatic transmission.

Certain general trends are emerging. The letter 'T" is increasingly reserved for Turbo, "i" or "I" for Injection.

"D" used to denote Diesel, but now sometimes means "Direct" (injection). "TDI" creates a problem because "TD" has a strong association with Turbo Diesel, but since all diesels use fuel injection, what is the "I" doing there? Do they mean Turbo Direct Injection?

It is also noticeable that certain manufacturers (Toyota and Ford, for instance) are moving away from the three-letter fashion, at least on their car ranges, just as others like Tata are enthusiastically embracing it.

An additional problem is that the methodical Germans originally chose model designations to incorporate the engine capacity - a BMW 518, for instance, was a 5-series with a 1,8-litre engine - but occasionally they lose the plot, so that now a 523i model has a 2,5-litre engine, and a 125i has a 3-litre engine.

I RECENTLY bought a 1,9 TDI Golf. But then I had to buy a house for my parents and me after the house we were living in was repossessed.

Now I cannot keep up with the instalments on the Golf. I will have to see what I can do with the car as it is not as important as the house. I just need some guidance as to how I go about solving this problem.

Name supplied


MILLIONS of people in South Africa can identify with you in this predicament. You might want to consider calling on the services of a debt counsellor who will attempt to restructure your debts and negotiate with your creditors to accept his proposed scheme of payment.

You will have to pay him a fee (ironically, when extra expenses are the last thing you need, but that's how it is), and your name will then be "flagged" on ITC, which means (a) your creditors cannot repossess the property you are paying off as long as you comply with the debt restructuring terms, and (b) you cannot enter into any new credit transactions until you are completely in the clear.

Make sure the person you consult is registered with the National Credit Regulator (insist on seeing his registration certificate and number).

For many months you will be handing over your disposable income to this person for distribution among the creditors, so you want to be absolutely sure about his honesty.

And don't wait too long; I believe you can only avail yourself to the services of a debt counsellor if you do so before the bank takes action against you.

If you wish to avoid the fee of a debt counsellor, you can try to negotiate directly with the banks, provided again you do so timeously. However, you may find it tough going without the bargaining clout of a registered debt counsellor.


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