Proudly SA car a reality

Phuti Mpyane

Phuti Mpyane

What a week I've had. Seven days of adventure travel, reviewing new cars and also election manifestos.

Sipping exotic fruit concoctions at one of South Africa's most beautiful holiday resorts, you'd never guess the world is in financial turmoil, jobs are on the line and emotions are muddled.

Last week I congratulated BMW SA's Mini division for its bold advertising strategy and yes, in the same frenzied week, we had the opportunity to drive the car that promises 'iPholas'. Read about it elsewhere in this issue.

Also, it seems it is convertible season. I'm doing the rounds in an Audi TTS roadster. It's a fantastic performer. Try it out for size if you have not been affected by the economic downturn and you need an alternative to the Mercedes SLK 350 and BMW Z4 3.0.

We also drove around in the new range of small Porsches; the Cayman and Boxster launched in Durban. Driving deep in the belly of the green province, I couldn't help but wonder why the motor industry was haemorrhaging when there exists an opportunity to solve the transport woes of all the people walking about the province's streets who clearly wouldn't look away from a very affordable motoring solution. Why can't those vehicle plants on the brink of closure be used to churn out a small affordable car? This is no pipe dream because the country has long shown its capability of building its own car.

The Hippo is home-brewed and if you want evidence, check out the Port-Elizabeth born Barnard super-car and the Bloemfontein (Masokolareng) conceived Perana Z-one or bring on the Tata Nano.

General Motors SA (GMSA) is in the headlines again. This time talk is around the future of the locally-built Hummer H3. Steve Koch, president and managing director of GMSA's African operations, says it was decided at its viability plan last year that the Hummer brand did not fit into its plans and would be either sold or shut down when it was no longer economically viable. Why did they bring it in in the first place? Watching Graeme Smith's men slice through the Australian order at St Georges Park, I was reminded of the vast advertising opportunities that dealers and manufacturers have . Every ball that hit the covers for a four or six inadvertently, the Chevrolet brand smiled on everybody. Target your man or woman where they feel the most comfortable , show them your wares and they will remember you . For that, GMSA gets a thumbs-up for innovative efforts to stave off impending disaster.