South African Crash Test for Dummies
The Steed 5 pickup, Haval H1 five-door SUV, and the Renault Kwid five-door compact, all achieved poor levels of adult and child protection in crash tests conducted by Global NCAP and AA South Africa yesterday.
Ghana Have Factories: African Nation Bans Importation of Old Cars
Ghana has banned the importation of cars older than 10 years in a move designed to attract automotive plants. As a major importer of second-hand vehicles, the West African nation is largely dependent upon cars discarded by other nations. However, the country’s leadership wants it to become an automotive hub for at least a healthy chunk of the continent. This is a relatively new yet persistent dream for the nation, and it includes a bizarre roster of characters we don’t quite know what to make of.
From In-Road Rock Formations to Traffic-Directing Robots: A Dispatch From Congo
If you can describe a road surface as being home to a rock formation, you might be in Kinshasa, Congo.
Protrusions of solid rock extend several feet above the road surface, as though thrust upward by some geologic force. In fact, these shockingly large outcroppings are made possible through an unfortunate combination of poor construction, over-use, and extreme neglect. I came upon several such promontories during a recent visit to the Congolese capital. And these were not rural or back street rock climbing opportunities. These can be found on main roads across the city center.
Four Weeks in Africa With the Land Rover Defender
After 67 years, production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ends today. It’s an amazing feat that the Defender has lasted this long. It was a utilitarian vehicle developed at a time when going off-roading meant just going. It helped Europe rebuild after World War II. And it explored Africa, where often the Land Rover was the first automobile ever seen by locals. It continued that way for years, undergoing constant but slow evolution, rather than complete revolution.
Rather than boring everyone with interesting quasi-factual trivia about Land Rover’s most iconic model, I’ll bore you with my own personal experiences.
Could Africa Support Its Own Auto Industry?
Africa may be one of the last untapped continents for automakers and one of the largest growth markets in the future. But the opportunity is now for carmakers such as Uganda-based Kiira Motors, Kenya-based Mobius Motors, Nigeria-based Innoson and Ghana-based Kantanka Motors, they say.
“The automotive industry presents one of the fiercest competitive market environments,” Kiira Chief Executive Paul Isaac Musasizi told the Wall Street Journal. “We need to remain focused, courageous and committed.”
His commitment is shared by other automakers such as Ford, who recently announced that it would produce 5,000 trucks at a plant in Nigeria for sale within the continent. Hyundai said they would invest $22 million to build an assembly plant in Nairobi and expand dealerships.
A cursory look at market penetration for automakers looks promising — no African country cracks the top 50 in vehicles per capita.
With New Honda CEO, Possible FCA Partnership?
New Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told media Monday that the automaker wouldn’t aim for a specific global sales figure to drive growth and would be open to partnerships with other automakers, Automotive News reported.
The speech also emphasized sharing global manufacturing resources within Honda’s six regional divisions and to create “challenging products.” (Which may or may not — probably not — mean “Challenger.”)
Mobius Leads Path Toward Local Manufacturing For African Consumers
Today, 50 units from Nairobi-based manufacturer Mobius are set to be delivered to customers, marking the first step for the company as it aims to prove Kenya — and the continent of Africa — can produce just as well as it supplies raw materials.
Mobius Motors: A Different Kind Of Low-Cost Car
Africa is quickly becoming the focus for auto makers looking to discover the last island of growth in an overly saturated global marketplace. Toyota, PSA and Renault-Nissan are hoping to make inroads on the continent beyond their current strongholds in trucks (Toyota) and North Africa (PSA/Renault) respectively. But a new start-up is proposing a very different kind of car for Africa, one far removed from the current crop of compact offerings.
Morocco's Cash For Clunkers Means Discounted Dacias
Fans of the W123 Mercedes better book the next flight to Marrakech. If the Moroccan government has its way, the country’s ubiquitous fleet of W123 taxi cabs will be scrapped, in favor of Renault and Dacia minivans.
Ford to Fight for the Heart of Middle East, Africa
From the Blade Runner future in Dubai to the shores of Tripoli, Ford aims to launch an aggressive campaign in the Middle East and Africa markets through the creation of a fifth business unit that will consolidate the Blue Oval’s operations in the two regions.
Beyond The BRICs
Emerging markets have been a big theme at TTAC for the past few years, with our coverage going beyond the cursory articles on automotive developments in the BRIC countries. Our articles on places like North Africa and Indonesia aren’t always the most popular, but we keep an eye on them for a very important reason. These countries are the final frontier for growth in the automotive sector.
Datsun Looking To Latin America, Africa For Expansion
Datsun’s first product, the GO subcompact, has yet to go on sale in its first market, but Datsun is already looking elsewhere to expand its offerings beyond the initial four markets of India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa.
French Authorities Sell Off Ultra Luxury Cars Seized From Son of Dictator
While Equitorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, only half of the people have access to clean, safe drinking water. One fifth of children born in the country die before they are five years old. Two years ago the French government raided the €80 million, 101-room mansion near the Champs Elysees belonging to Teodorin Obiang, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in power since 1979. Among the treasures found in the mansion were a cache of supercars, which have now been sold of f.
Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: How The Chinese Are Setting Themselves Up For Success (Part 1: Africa)
Today we inaugurate a 5 Part series about how Chinese carmakers are setting themselves up for success abroad. Each day of this week I will publish a new Part for the series. I hope you enjoy it!
For the first time in the history of car manufacturing, Chinese carmakers have sold 1 million cars outside of China in 2012. They are now relying more and more on export markets to boost their bottom-line, especially as conditions have worsened for local passenger cars at home over the last couple of years. However, as I described in my article “ China: How local brands may finally find their mojo at home“, the Chinese are learning how to sell low-cost overseas and apply these strategies at home, making themselves more competitive in the process.
In fact, while the long-dreaded Chinese ‘invasion’ of the West European and American car markets is still a long way off, Chinese manufacturers have been working extra-hard under the radar to secure less developed markets that will form the bulk of the global car sales growth over the next couple of decades.
And this is why they will win…
First case in point, Africa.
Piston Slap: Is It Piston Slap? Ja-nee, Baby!
Mu-een (from Cape Town, South Africa!) writes:
Hi I would like to know what is the difference sound of a tappet noise, or bad rocker, or a piston slap. Thanks regards.