GMSA sets the record straight

TRY IT: Audi A4 on the market. Pic. Unknown
TRY IT: Audi A4 on the market. Pic. Unknown

Phuti Mpyane

Phuti Mpyane

The turbulent times experienced by the big three US motor manufacturers - Chrysler, Ford and GM - have been documented extensively in the media.

I have also touched on it several times. As mentioned last week, GMSA sat journalists down in an effort to correct some ill-informed reports about its future, particularly its South African operations.

GMSA general manager Steve Koch dispelled a number of untruths, such as that they were shutting shop.

He instead gave the assurance that operations would continue as normal and if an investor were to buy GM, clients and employees should celebrate the cash that would be injected to extend the existence of the company.

GMSA general manager marketing Brian Olson pointed out that the recent reshuffling of model ranges, also reported in this newspaper, now leaves only two models in the entire Astra line-up - a mid-level option - and the OPC begs me to now introduce readers to a term widely used in the motoring industry - "cannibalising".

This is part of the reason why the Zafira and Astra ranges were discontinued.

The Corsa has eaten into the Astra market owing to its now ample size, impressive features and better price, and the same fate is reserved for the seven-seater Zafira that costs less than a nine-seat Movano.

Last week, we gave readers a chance to post their questions to GM management and that we would publish the answers.

Matome Malatji of Phalaborwa: The GTC is among the models that fared poorly in terms of sales and is part of the above-mentioned model reshuffling but, importantly, it is not totally discontinued.

But it is available on an order basis.

JE Mbathaof Newcastle: GM says there is a nine-seat Movano bus that can be utilised for purposes such as taxis.

All in all, it was a job well orchestrated and GM should be congratulated for opening itself to scrutiny. Now we wait and see if the company's two counterparts, Ford and Chrysler, will follow suit.

This week, Mercedes-Benz of South Africa whispered in my ear and confused me slightly about a "price benefit" of up to R130000 on its R500 (not five clipper) but a model of the R-Class.

What's a price benefit? I figure it's a decrease in price but what I know for certain is the R-Class is a MPV-bullet-train lookalike that's unparalleled on segment space, luxury and performance.

Those looking for a 2008 model A4 and are within earshot of the Audi Centre on the West Rand (Clearwater Mall) should see the dealer in the area as it's selling low mileage demo units at prime less five percent if you qualify.