The Simola Hillclimb in Knysna has been postponed to later in the year, one of several motoring casualties of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Simola Hillclimb in Knysna has been postponed to later in the year, one of several motoring casualties of the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: SUPPLIED

A number of motoring events in SA have been cancelled or postponed in accordance with the Disaster Management Act announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on March 15 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of the government’s decision to prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people for the foreseeable future, these events include:

• The South Coast Bike Fest in Port Edward from April 25 to 27. Full refunds will be made to any ticket holders, who contact hello@bikefestsa.co.za to arrange this. The remaining three Bike Fest SA events remain on schedule, namely Clarens from July 24-26, Ballito from September 4-6, and Lanbebaan from October 23-25. Please visit www.bikefestsa.co.za for the latest updates.

• Motorsport SA (MSA) announced that all MSA-sanctioned motorsport events scheduled to take place over the next three weekends have been suspended. This may be extended, depending on further government decisions. MSA will engage with the member clubs, promoters and organisers of the affected events and updates regarding the individual events will be published on www.motorsport.co.za as soon as the details are finalised in each instance.

• The Simola Hillclimb due to have taken place in Knysna from May 7-10 has been postponed to later in the year, at a time when this becomes “sensible, safe and possible” according to the organisers. The annual Hillclimb has become one of SA’s premier motorsport lifestyle events with about 17,000 people from around the globe attending over the weekend.

• The Knysna Motor Show scheduled for May 3 has been cancelled. Organiser Peter Pretorius of the Garden Route Motor Club says that the show will not be rescheduled to a later date in the year.


New York auto show postponed to August

The New York Auto Show will now be moved to the end of August. Picture: REUTERS
The New York Auto Show will now be moved to the end of August. Picture: REUTERS

Organisers of the 2020 New York auto show have postponed next month’s show until late August due to increasing health concerns related to the spreading coronavirus in the area.

“We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus,” Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association that operates the auto show, said in a statement.

The show will be held from August 28 to September 6 at the Javits Center in New York City.

The 2020 New York auto show is the latest in a string of auto shows or vehicle debuts that has been pushed back due to the spreading coronavirus. Earlier in March, the Geneva auto show was also cancelled.


Significant response to service and repair deadline

Competition Commission will take several weeks to go through responses to its controversial draft guidelines on the Automotive Aftermarket industry. Picture: SUPPLIED
Competition Commission will take several weeks to go through responses to its controversial draft guidelines on the Automotive Aftermarket industry. Picture: SUPPLIED

Local motorists won’t be able to choose their preferred automotive service providers just yet.

The Competition Commission of SA has received several comments and submissions to its draft guidelines for competition in the SA Automotive Aftermarket industry, which were published last month.

The controversial guidelines, which were open for comment until March 16, proposed to ensure that vehicle owners were able to service or repair their cars at non-franchised workshops without fear of voiding their warranties.

Car owners would also be able to choose between fitting original and nonoriginal spare parts (where a specific part’s warranty has expired), without the risk of voiding their warranty. The competition watchdog further proposed that maintenance and service plans be unbundled from the vehicle’s purchase price, with consumers given the choice of whether to purchase these plans or not.

The process was triggered by Right to Repair SA (R2RSA) which called for improved competition in the motor repair industry.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), the umbrella body for SA’s motor vehicle manufacturers, has slammed the draft guidelines, calling them a punitive and dangerous retrogressive step that would harm the economy.

The Competition Commission’s Sipho Mtombeni confirmed that Naamsa was one of the respondents that made a submission by the March 16 deadline, and said it will take a number of weeks to go through all the submissions received.


Coronavirus leads to cheaper fuel

Petrol and diesel are expected to respectively drop by 86c and 85c a litre next month. Picture: SUPPLIED
Petrol and diesel are expected to respectively drop by 86c and 85c a litre next month. Picture: SUPPLIED

Motorists have one silver lining to look forward to in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic: cheaper fuel.

Oil prices have plummeted due to declining global oil demand as the Covid-19 virus hits manufacturing and commerce, and the rand’s weakness against the US dollar has paled into insignificance against this fuel price bonanza, says the Automobile Association (AA).

The AA expects a decrease of up to 86c/l for petrol, and up to 85c/l  for diesel in SA next month. The levies are not applied to paraffin.

The data shows petrol down by up to R1.11/l and diesel by R1.10/l, says the AA. However, these declines must be weighed against the 25c increases to the fuel levies announced by the finance minister in February which come into effect in April.

“As the spread of the Covid-19 virus accelerates across the globe, world financial markets have plunged, with capital fleeing to safe-haven assets. The rand has been sharply weaker against the dollar on this trend,” the AA says.

“However, this has happened side by side with Saudi Arabia’s decision to break ranks with Opec. Not only has Saudi Arabia slashed its crude prices, it has also increased production substantially.”

The last time oil prices dropped this suddenly was in the first Gulf War, almost 30 years ago, says the AA.

The AA says it doesn’t believe the declines will end at their current levels.

“There is little indication of what the final picture of Covid-19 spread will be, nor where the rand will stabilise against the dollar. It can also not be predicted how long the Saudis are prepared to hold out in their oil price war, since their oil industry is believed to be able to maintain profitability at substantially lower per-barrel prices than the current level,” the AA notes.

The AA says it foresees an extended period of turmoil.

 “It will take quite some time for the global economy to get back on an even keel after the current ongoing events, and the next two or three months seem set to provide some fuel price relief to hard-pressed motorists,” it concludes.


Carlos Tavares is car industry’s person of the year

Carlos Tavares has been named the car industry’s Person of the Year. Picture: REUTERS
Carlos Tavares has been named the car industry’s Person of the Year. Picture: REUTERS

World Car Awards (WCA) jurors from 24 countries have chosen Carlos Tavares, CEO of PSA Group, as recipient of the 2020 World Car Person of the Year award.

Tavares’s accomplishments over the past year made him the jurors’s choice over several other auto industry executives, engineers and designers from all around the world.

PSA Group is responsible for the Peugeot, Citroën, and Opel brands and Tavares was lauded for bringing the company back to profitability. He also negotiated a merger of PSA and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) that will create the fourth-largest auto company in the world, and also for masterminding the integration of electrification and mobility and strengthening market development in China and beyond.

Previous World Car Person of the Year recipients were Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO, Volvo Car Group (2018), and the late Sergio Marchionne, CEO at FCA; CNH Industrial chair; and Ferrari chair and CEO (2019).

The World Car Person of the Year award is just one of six awards handed out annually by the World Car Awards.

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