Brett Soso, McLaren’s new regional manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED
Brett Soso, McLaren’s new regional manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Picture: SUPPLIED

South African Brett Soso has been appointed as MD of McLaren Automotive’s new EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.

The British supercar maker’s new regional entity covers 20 markets and a third of global sales volume, with the revised structure aimed at streamlining business operations and exploiting synergies.

McLaren said Soso has a deep understanding of complex regional markets, as well as a wealth of experience developed over 25 years in the automotive industry, including with some of the world’s most prestigious and luxurious brands.

Before joining McLaren in 2018, Soso was the Rolls-Royce Regional Director for the Middle East, Africa and South America. Before that he was MD of Chery SA and Foton SA.

McLaren has introduced four defined subregions, which are organised based on geography and culture, as well as specific in-market requirements. These include the Middle East and Africa, UK and  Central and Western Europe.

The restructure follows the brand’s recent announcement of an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture that will underpin the next generation of McLaren’s electrified model line-up.

 

SUZUKI SETS A NEW SALES RECORD

Suzuki Auto SA bucked the trend to record its best-ever sales month in September, retailing 1,787 cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles to break its previous record of 1,696 units in February.

The S-Presso budget hatchback, launched earlier this year as SA’s most affordable car, helped Suzuki achieve a new sales record. Picture: SUPPLIED
The S-Presso budget hatchback, launched earlier this year as SA’s most affordable car, helped Suzuki achieve a new sales record. Picture: SUPPLIED

Suzuki jumped to sixth in the brand sales rankings with an all-time passenger market share record of 7.46%.

What’s more notable about the feat is that overall car sales plummeted 23.9% in SA in September, compared to September 2019. Local new-vehicle sales have steadily improved since car dealers reopened for trading in May after the hard lockdown, but month-by-month sales are still significantly lower than last year.

The recently launched S-Presso budget car was Suzuki’s best-seller in September with 538 units, followed closely by the Swift compact hatch on 533 sales. The popularity of these attractively-priced small cars underline a buying-down trend by cash-strapped buyers reeling from an economically devastating lockdown.

Toyota was SA’s bestselling new-vehicle brand last month with 9,435 local sales.

Other brands in the top 15 were Volkswagen (5,458), Ford (3,679), Hyundai (2,623), Nissan (2,612), Suzuki (1,787), Renault (1,651), Mercedes-Benz (1,474), Kia (1,436), Isuzu (1,197), BMW (1,151), Haval (836), Mazda (605), Mahindra (599) and Volvo (413).

 

KNYSNA HILLCLIMB ENTRIES DELAYED

Knysna Speed Festival, the organiser of the Simola Hillclimb, has delayed the competitor entry process for the 2021 Simola Hillclimb due to the prevailing uncertainty around Covid-19 regulations.

Next year’s Knysna hillclimb is scheduled for May 6-9 but Covid-19 has delayed the entry procedure. Picture: SUPPLIED
Next year’s Knysna hillclimb is scheduled for May 6-9 but Covid-19 has delayed the entry procedure.  Picture: SUPPLIED

The event is scheduled for May 6-9 2021 and the entry process was due to have started on October 1, but the Level 1 State of Disaster regulations currently in place do not allow for the Hillclimb to take place in its current format with spectators.

“We have engaged with the Knysna Municipality to secure provisional permissions subject to national government directives closer to the time of the event in May,” explained Ian Shrosbree, MD of Knysna Speed Festival.

“We have had a positive response, but this process will still take some time to be finalised. Once we have these permissions, we will be able to engage with Motorsport South Africa to apply for a permit with the same provisos. Until such time as we have an MSA permit we are unable to open entries.

This year’s Simola Hillclimb, scheduled to run from May 7-10, was cancelled due to Covid-19.

For more information on the event visit www.simolahillclimb.com or e-mail info@speedfestival.co.za

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