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Wednesday 17 March 2021

Suzuki’s boisterous Brezza is here Suzuki’s new Brezza breathes new life into iconic Vitara and is now available in Namibia. Augetto Graig


ith the arrival of the Suzuki Brezza in the capital, Namibia can join in on the nostalgia and the breath of fresh air the brand has blown into the revival of their iconic Vitara. The original found its way into the hearts and dreams of many a young aspirant who thought the price might not be too far out of reach, although more recent reincarnations of the gusty little sports utility vehicle have seen it grow in size, stature and cost. The Brezza brings the Vitara on a refreshing return to the compact segment of SUVs, and for the car, as much as for anyone fortunate enough to drive one, it is a welcome home-coming. My.Na Cars recently had the pleasure of taking one out through the streets of Windhoek and along some of the lesser-travelled gravel roads. As the name implies, it was a breeze. Easy does it with this remarkable automobile eager to help ease things further at every opportunity. The Brezza is fitted with a variety of automatic features like the rain sensors to keep you abreast with the weather by switching on your wipers at the first sign of raindrops on the windscreen. Automatic headlights ensure visibility while automatic climate control helps maintain the perfect temperature inside the cabin.

Brand ambassador Charl Oosthuizen will happily put the Vitara Brezza through its paces for you. Photos Augetto Graig

Nifty features

Being a truly modern iteration of the Vitara, the Brezza boasts nifty features like a button to start and stop the urban adventure a­ pproved 1,5-litre engine. The four cylinder 16-valve K15B can kick out 77kW of power at 6 000 revolutions per minute (rpm) and generates up to 136Nm of torque at 4 400rpm. It also sounds really nice. The audible headlight-on reminder, the key-off reminder, the spot map lamp and the glove box lamp, standard only in the GLX, all illustrate how much thought Suzuki manufacturers have put into the needs of the driver and passengers. A cold-storage built into the top cubbyhole is another example. Rear passenger assist grips are just as convenient as the driver footrest, the luggage shelf strings and the hook in the luggage area.

Tech savvy

A seven-inch touchscreen is equipped with Bluetooth technology and USB as well as auxiliary input sockets. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink, according to the manufacturers. Connecting your smartphone allows you take calls, access your music and even get directions and access phone features using the touchscreen or voice commands. Keyless entry is another technological appli-

The Brezza has enough space for rear passengers and their luggage fits well in the boot.

cation that simplifies the Brezza owner’s life, although most of the real tech is employed to ensure safety. Total effective control technology is what Suzuki calls the body design structure able to efficiently absorb and disperse deadly energy in the event of a collision. Seat belt pre-tensioners and force limiters with standard dual front airbags are also in use. Preventing collisions are the standard anti-lock braking system and electronic brake-force distribution. The Brezza also comes with ultrasonic sensors fitted to the rear bumper to detect obstacles when reversing with warning sounds and a reverse parking

The touch-screen ensures up-to-the-minute information displayed with entertainment at your fingertips.

camera displayed on the touchscreen.

Breath of fresh air

Easier still is actually driving the Brezza, especially when using the four-speed automatic transmission instead of the five-speed manual variation. With hill-hold control, the automatic provides ample assistance to the driver and thanks to the overdrive-off switch, it adapts nicely to take on hilly, winding roads or steep descents. The Brezza’s throw-back roof-rails and integrated chrome grille, the headlamp eyelids and the sporty fog lamps all add to the can-do

demeanour of this SUV. With 328 litres of luggage space and a spacious cabin layout, it lets you take along everything you might need, while being compact enough to take you anywhere you want to go. The Suzuki Brezza is available from all Auas Motors dealerships, where the top of the range GLX four-speed automatic will cost you less than N$310 000 and comes with a five-year or 200 000km warranty as well as a four-year or 60 000km service-plan. They also have the entry-level five-speed manual available, starting from less than N$250 000. - [email protected]


wednesday 16 march 2021

Car Supplement

Volkswagen targets profit recovery

A woman’s take: Driving in Windhoek

VW wants to make one million electric vehicle deliveries in 2021.

Monique Adams

Volkswagen aims to more than double deliveries of electric vehicles to one million this year. Photo

Aims for operating margin of 7 to 8% from 2022


olkswagen is confident that cut costs will help it raise profit margins in the coming years, the world’s second-largest carmaker said on Tuesday, a day after outlining an ambitious electric mobility expansion. “Our good performance in 2020, a year dominated by crisis, will give us momentum for accelerating our transformation,” chief executive Herbert Diess said in a statement. Volkswagen aims to more than double deliveries of electric vehicles to one million this year, it said, adding it would also apply a standardised platform model introduced for vehicle production years ago to software, batteries and charging. Diess’ comments come a day after Volkswagen unveiled plans to build half a dozen battery

Volkswagen has unveiled plans to build six battery cell plants in Europe and expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles globally. Photo

cell plants in Europe and expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles globally, accelerating efforts to overtake Tesla. Volkswagen said it aimed for an operating margin of 7% to 8% in the years after 2021, not specifying an exact timeframe, but confirming it would likely end 2021 at the upper end of a 5% to 6.5% target corridor. This will be achieved through two billion euros less fixed costs by 2023 compared to 2020, a decline of 5%, as well as a decline of 7% in material costs over the same period, Volkswagen said. “We aim to put the ambitious transformation of the Volkswagen Group on a solid financial basis,” incoming finance chief Arno Antlitz said. - Nampa/Reuters 

Nissan gets new chairperson for Africa The Nissan Motor Company last Friday announced that Guillaume Cartier is its new chairperson for the Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) region. Effective 1 April, Cartier will lead all Nissan operations in the region, which covers more than 140 markets across four continents with a population of around 3.8 billion people, representing more than 30% of global vehicle sales. With over 25 years’ experience at Nissan and in the alliance in global and regional leadership positions, Cartier will lead the new region as the Nissan Next transformation plan continues to gather pace and with key models in Europe including Qashqai and Ariya launching soon. The brand continues to grow in the AMIO markets, thanks to a powerful vehicle line-up ranging from the iconic Patrol to the recently launched Magnite in India. “I am thrilled to be leading this culturally rich and diverse region into a period of unprecedented change for the automotive industry, and with a refreshed range of Nissan models and technologies coming to the market. A new period of sustainable growth is beginning for Nissan, as we continue to progress the Nissan Next transformation plan, accelerating our journey towards a fully electrified line-up in Europe by 2023, and bringing our enhanced product line-up to our growing loyal customer base in Africa, the Middle East, India and Oceania,” Cartier said.

Stronger position

Currently the vice-chairperson of the AMIEO region and the Africa, Middle East and India (AMI) president, Cartier first joined Nissan in 1995 as an after-sales manager and went on to hold a number of senior management positions in the alliance, including AMI chairperson, head of the global Datsun business unit,

“We continue to progress... accelerating our journey towards a fully electrified line-up in Europe by 2023, and bringing our enhanced product line-up to our growing loyal customer base in Africa”.

Growing up, I would always cry once we reached our destination because that meant we had to get out of the car, and that the ride was over. That was always the pit of driving every weekend to the farm with my family. In 2018 I got my driver’s licence, and to date, getting that piece of paper has been one of the most satisfying moments of my life. We all know how rough things can get at NaTIS. I am extremely lucky because my dad was the one who taught me how to drive in his manual Toyota Hilux single cab. Even though the driving lessons consisted of a lot of shouting – my dad being a perfectionist – I do not regret going through that at all because it made me such a good driver. Once I got my licence and started driving by myself, most of the time it was a journey with mixed emotions because now I got to experience different drivers on the road.

That look of confusion

Being so young and a woman at that, many drivers would use my appearance to their advantage and try to bully me. I am not going to deny that a few times I allowed that, but with time, I learnt to stand my ground – safely, obviously. Even to this day when I get into the car and I drive myself to work and back home, people still look at me with awe. They’re probably wondering “What is this young girl doing driving this car? Shouldn’t she be in school?” They always have this look of confusion on their faces, and I laugh because their expressions are just priceless. On Windhoek roads, I find it okay, but the more you drive around, the more you come across drivers who are reckless and have no respect for the next driver. When I come across such drivers, nine times out of 10, it’s a taxi driver. Being a legal driver for almost four years now, I have to come to a place in my life where I do not give these drivers the satisfaction of getting road rage. But do not get me wrong, I do get mad – I just breathe slowly in and out. That relaxes me rather than shouting, giving them the finger or leaning on my car’s hooter. I am very young and I cannot be having road rage, because it has negative effects on your health. So next time when you run into these types of drivers on the road, just relax, breathe and keep it moving.

Guillaume Cartier Nissan AMIEO chairman

Guillaume Cartier is the new Nissan chairperson for the Africa, Middle East, India, Europe and Oceania (AMIEO) regions. Photo Nissan Africa

executive officer and senior vice president for Mitsubishi Motors, and senior vice president for sales and marketing in Europe. Cartier will report to vice chief performance officer and chief quality officer, Christian Vandenhende. He will replace Gianluca De Ficchy, who served for three years as the chairperson of Nissan Europe and latterly of the expanded AMIEO region. De Ficchy said: “I have been proud to lead the region through a challenging period, and

I am confident that the company is now in a stronger position and with a solid base for future growth. I would like to thank the full team in AMIEO and wish them every success for the future.”

Sub-Saharan markets

Nissan’s regional business unit in Africa serves 42 sub-Saharan African markets with 14.7% market share and 37 national sales companies across the continent. In total, the company offers a range of 24 vehicles to retail and commercial customers in the region. South Africa serves as a light-commercial vehicle manufacturing hub for the region with its Rosslyn plant north-west of Pretoria producing the NP200, NP300 and forthcoming all-new Nissan Navara. The South African plant employs approximately 2 000 employees with additional assembly plants located in Nigeria and Ghana.   – Nissan Africa

Monique Adams shares her insights on drive Windhoek streets as a woman. Photo contributed
















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Get ready for your next adventure Cars have always been seen as instruments of freedom and mobility.


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Contact Off-Road Centre at +264 61 237 532 to experience why so many tour companies, overlanders and outdoor-motoring enthusiasts trust in them.

Wednesday 17 march 2021

Car Supplement

Online demand up, used car supply down

The Old Wheelers Club of Namibia boasts its own museum.

Augetto Graig

The Old Wheelers Club is a place for passion, fun and nostalgia. Photos Old Wheeler’s Club

Serious classic car enthusiasts

Old wheelers love to ride Augetto Graig


hy would you own a classic vehicle?” is the question Rainer Rusch, the chairman of the Old Wheelers Club of Namibia, is asked often. This along with “why join the Old Wheelers Club?” To these, he answers: “There are many reasons. For some it refreshes childhood memories: ‘My granddad had one just like this!’ for instance. For others, it is the sheer driving pleasure and simplicity of these classic vehicles”. The Old Wheelers Club of Namibia is affiliated with the Museums Association of Namibia, the Southern African Vintage Vehicle Association and the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens on an international level, and regularly enjoys the patronage of international classic vehicle enthusiasts and clubs, Rusch said. “The club was founded in June 1986, when 26 old car enthusiasts got together to form a club with the aim to encourage the interest, ownership, use, restoration and preservation of motor vehicles older than 25 years,” he said. “Our main objective is to enjoy and encourage the Old Wheelers lifestyle with beautiful restored oldtimers, outings, events and shop talk.”

Old Wheelers Museum

“In 2017 we began fulfilling our long-awaited dream; the construction of our beautiful Old Wheelers Museum. “Our museum is open every Saturday during club opening times from

The Old Wheelers Club museum is open every Saturday from 11:00 or on appointment.

One can admire a classic vehicle for hours and still find something you haven’t observed before.

any more. One can admire a classic vehicle for hours and still find something you haven’t observed before. “Driving your Old Wheeler is an experience which cannot be easily captured in words, not to mention the reactions from pedestrians and fellow drivers.” The Old Wheelers Club of Namibia also offers a great restaurant and atmosphere where you can relax after a long day of hard work.

Rainer Rusch, club chairman

Arrive in style

11:00 or on appointment. Please feel welcome to visit us and have a look at some of Namibia’s finest old wheels,” the chairman added. “The shape of these vehicles is absolutely unique and something you don’t really find in today’s cars

Nothing beats driving your classic automobile to see Namibia’s spectacular sights.

According to Rusch, some of the club’s members also offer a chauffeur service in their old wheelers. “If you are looking for a special drive to the next big event in your life, visit our website!” he said, adding that the club also rents out its facilities for business and private functions. “We have about 560 members, of which more than 60% own one or more classic vehicles, and additionally we have some international members. Typically, these are people with a close affinity to Namibia and the Old Wheelers Club. Also, the BMW Motorrad Club, the Harley Owners Group of Namibia and the Land Rover Owners of Namibia are affiliated with us,” Rusch said. Regular and popular monthly “old wheeling” events are organised by the club, “ranging from exhibitions at our club house to outings through Windhoek, or other parts of Namibia”.- [email protected]

The latest AutoTrader bi-annual car industry report is out and it highlights that southern African consumers are resilient, despite devastating arrival of Covid-19 on the sub-continent. It also illustrates an alarming reduction in available second-hand stock for sale to a demanding market. The report was extracted from AutoTrader data analytics tools and internal data sources over the period of 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020. According to AutoTrader CEO George Mienie, the online platform has done a rigorous car taxonomy data clean up over a number of years, largely eliminating duplication of listings, and is therefore in a strong position to apply these trends as general market insights. AutoTrader also only allows sellers to list by VIN number, thereby ensuring each car listed on the marketplace is unique, he said. By interpreting the data, Mienie has come to the conclusion that in the six months ending December 2020, over 700 000 vehicles were listed on AutoTrader, with September accounting for the largest stock count. Y ­ ear-on-year, there was a 10% reduction in available stock as less consumers were purchasing and selling vehicles.

‘Not sustainable’

“With high import duties, even more so on electric vehicles, we are faced with a situation where new cars are – relative to used cars – expensive. In 2021, consumers are going to vote with their wallet and that wallet might not vote for new cars just yet. It will probably continue to vote for used cars. “This is a risk. Used car retail buoyancy is not sustainable and we need to work with the government and industry bodies to stimulate new car demand,” warned Mienie.


“I’ve always said that new car retail is an important feeder to used car retail. Without new car retail stimulation, we may face an ageing car population in South Africa in the near future. This risk is even greater when one applies one’s mind to the fact that over 60% of South African manufactured motor vehicles are exported. “The South African motor vehicle consumer market is not big enough to sustain the motor vehicle manufacturing output. We are a net exporter of motor vehicles. “Without re-tooling, South Africa runs a further risk of losing our export retail industry. We need to just look across the pond at Australia, who now do not manufacture motor vehicles and are net importers,” he added.

Lessons learnt

“While this situation is a challenge, all is not lost, thanks to lessons learnt in 2020. Companies that prosper in 2021 will have embraced digital transformation,” said Mienie. According to him, lockdown was a catalyst for change, and the automotive innovation curve has shortened, meaning that “same old, same old” no longer works. Mienie said successful vehicle retailers have embraced automotive digital retailing. AutoTrader’s own data reinforced his statement. During the last year, 276 million total searches were conducted, a record high, representing growth of 54.1% year-on-year. The top three most searched for car brands on the site took 45% of all car searches, an increase of 11% year-on-year. Of these, 15.4% of all car brand searches went to BMW, up from 12% previously. Mercedes-Benz took second place with 14.8%. Volkswagen, having taken a 21% share of all new car sales in SA in 2020, lost its second place, taking 14.3% of all car searches. The most searched models, according to AutoTrader, were the Toyota Hilux, the Volkswagen Golf, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the BMW 3 Series, the Ford Ranger, the Volkwagen Polo, the BMW 1 Series, the Toyota Fortuner, the BMW X5 and the Audi A3. 

- [email protected]

AutoTrader says online marketing is the future of vehicle sales and used car stock is under pressure. Photo

Harley-Davidson Service Centre 12 Andimba Toivo-ya-Toivo Street We offer services, repairs, diagnostics, custom parts, power upgrades and customizations.


wednesday 17 March 2021

Car Supplement

Harley-Davidson keeps on rolling Brand restructuring costs M+Z the francise, but service agreements stand.

This 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster 48 was entered into the Battle of the Kings 2018 and was the first entry and winner of the Africa Division custom contest, by master technician Mareé Smit, scoring a first for Namibia.

New horizons call to service team Augetto Graig


he incredible exhiliration of riding an iconic Harley-Davidson on the open roads of Namibia lives on for those lucky few who enjoy the epic lifestyle the brand has been known for in the Land of the Brave. In October 2020, Harley-Davidson Incorporated announced its brand restructuring strategy, which is driven to focus on its core customer. “Unfortunately, this meant that the franchise agreement between Harley-Davidson and M+Z Motors was terminated. “However, Harley-Davidson and M+Z Motors signed a service agreement for the existing customer base. “The service agreement honours all HarleyDavidson warranties and recalls for all motorcycles that are still under warranty in Namibia,” explained Mareé Smit, the Harley-Davidson

master technician at Old Skool Bike Garage. Based on these circumstances, the M+Z Harley-Davidson team – Smit, motorcycle sales expert Guilliaume Kruger and merchandise, accessories and client liaison Mona Kleinschmidt – is excited to announce that the brand will continue to ride the Namibian roads, he said.

Revamped showroom

The trio envision a new and unique one-stop motorcycle experience and have made it available at revamped premises at 12 Andima Toivo Ya Toivo Street in Windhoek’s Suiderhof, just down the road from the previous showroom. Services offered include sales of new and preloved Harley-Davidsons as well as all other motorcycle brands, characteristic Harley merchandise and accessories as well as services, repairs, fitments, performance tuning and customisation for all motorcycle brands.

Preparations at the Old Skool Bike Garage are well advanced. Photos contributed

The resultant Vintage Motorcycles Namibia, Old Skool Bike Garage and MotoMerch businesses have all secured strategic partners and suppliers internationally due to their close ­relationships with various dealerships, and the partners are confident that they will continue to provide the support the local biking community deserves.

Pan America

In February 2021, Harley-Davidson launched the latest model, the Pan America. It is the very

In February 2021, Harley-Davidson launched the Pan America, its the very first adventure touring motorcycle. Photo

first adventure touring motorcycle produced by this brand. The Pan America redefines ADV with a new category-first powertrain to help you find freedom on your own terms across new terrains. It’s a two-wheel multi-tool built to endure, designed to explore, and engineered for adventure. This new kid on the block is ideal for Namibia’s endless horizons, according to Smit. “This will offer loyal and new customers a whole new experience of their beloved motorcycle brand,” he said. - [email protected]

wednesday 16 march 2021

Car Supplement

Sir. Lewis Hamilton is keeping a keen eye on the competition this season.

New year, new teams, new twists

Photo: Getty Images

F1, Moto GP look to shift up a gear in 2021

Yochanaan Coetzee


ith new team formations, aerodynamic rule changes and revised new Pirelli tyres to wrap their heads around, the upcoming F1 season, in its usual fashion, promises an amplified and even more exciting experience, both on and off the track. Thanks to the FIA freezing much of their design prescriptions, teams have been allowed to carry over most of their 2020 vehicles, thus benefitting from established research and design. McLaren, however, is going all-in and betting big that their new talent, Daniel Ricardo, will help revitalise – or rather challenge – the team to achieve new heights, as they have in the decision to switch from Renault to Mercedes as their power unit supplier. Finicky as these technological marvels can be, this will undoubtedly mean that the team will have to put a lot of energy into getting all the components to gel cohesively. Luckily, their pre-season tests went swimmingly, not that the rest of the field can feel the same, with the likes of Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE and teammate Valteri Botas struggling to get as much track time as they would like. What they did get wasn’t the most spectacular either, with the W12 struggling with power issues and Lewis spinning out during a sandstorm. Former champion Sebastian Vettel seems to be settling in at Aston Martin, and despite his session coming to an early end due to a loss of turbo boost pressure, he seemed confident and comfortable for the road that lay ahead. With all the team shake-ups, technical considerations and an industry under financial pressure, teams seem to be throwing everything at the upcoming season, with Alpine boldly declaring that the mid-field fight should be much more competitive this year.

Ducati’s Jack Miller has grabbed the attention off the paddock, setting a blistering pace, which is sure to see him mixing it up with the

three faster of the four Yamahas fielded in the races to come. The question over eight-time world champion Marc Marquez’s return to the track since his aborted attempt at a comeback at the Andalusian Grand Prix last year has gotten even more cryptic, after the Honda Repsol rider posted a video of himself doing a few laps on a Mini Moto bike, hinting at a possible return at the season opener. Reigning world-champion Joan Mir comes into the 2021 season on a high and with their GSX-RR providing a consistent platform, many suspect that the champ’s biggest threat this season could be in the form of 25-year-old teammate, Alex Rins.

Formula 1 Calendar - 2021

Moto GP 2021 Calendar

Emilia Romagna GP Imola – 18 April Portuguese GP Algarve International Circuit – 2 May Spanish GP Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya – 9 May Monaco GP Circuit De Monaco – 23 May Azerbaijan GP Baku City Circuit – 6 June Canadian GP Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – 13 June French GP Circuit Paul Ricard – 27 June Austrian GP Red Bull Ring – 4 July British GP Silverstone Circuit – 18 July Hungarian GP Hungaroring – 1 August Belgian GP Circuit De Spa Francorchamps – 29 August Dutch GP Circuit Zandvoort – 5 September Italian GP Autodromo Nazionale Monza – 12 September Singapore GP Marina Bay Street Circuit – 3 October Japanese GP Suzuka – 10 October United States GP Circuit Of The Americas – 24 October Mexican GP Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez – 31 October Brazilian GP Autódromo José Carlos Pace – 7 November Australian GP Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit – 21 November Saudi Arabia GP Jeddah Street Circuit – 5 December Abu Dhabi GP Yas Marina Circuit – 12 December

Qatar GP Losail International Circuit – 28 March Doha GP Losail International Circuit – 4 April Portugal GP Algarve International Circuit – 18 April Spanish GP Circuito De Jerez – 2 May French GP Le Mans Circuit Bugatti – 13 May Italian GP Mugello Circuit – 30 May Catalan GP Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya – 6 Jun German GP Sachsenring – 20 June Dutch GP Tt Circuit Assen – 27 June Finnish GP Kymi Ring – 11 July Austrian GP Red Bull Ring – 15 August British GP Silverstone Circuit – 29 August Aragon GP Motorland Aragon – 12 September San Marino GP Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – 19 September Japanese GP Twin Ring Motegi – 3 October Thailand GP Chang International Circuit – 10 October Australian GP Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit – 24 October Malaysian GP Sepang International Circuit – 31 October Valencia GP Valencia Circuit Ricardo Tormo – 14 November

Daniel Riccardo is still finding his feet at Mclaren, but all signs show positive prospects. Photos: Mclaren

Moto GP 2021 season shaking up

With just under two weeks before the season opener in Qatar, pundits are still struggling to nail down their predictions, given what they have seen during a difficult and dicey five-day session at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.

With the racing season set to start, teams are scrambling to get a good start. Photo: The Checkered Flag


It does appear we are perhaps not quick enough at the moment, but I have every faith in the team. We love challenges and this definitely is a challenge for us with the [rule] changes. Lewis Hamilton Defending champion (Mercedes)

Marc Marquez has been medically cleared to race and fans are eagerly awaiting his return to the track. Photos: Repsol Honda