Leading lights

Leading lights

The Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) presented visitors with a glut of new products from the light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector.


Citroën had a small outdoor display for its commercial vehicles, but did make mention of the new Relay minibus, of which it is expecting to sell more than 500 next year.


FAW previewed the V80 seven-seater minibus, to be launched in the first quarter of 2014. It is fitted with a 1,5-litre petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. While the V80 features a range of comfort and convenience features, it has two side-hinged rear doors and can also be converted into a 4,53 m2 van.


Ford displayed its Transit and Ranger models tailored to various applications.With the middle-sized Transit Custom well received in the local market, Ford announced at JIMS that the full-sized version, aimed at professional tradesmen and commercial fleet customers, will be launched in South Africa in the first half of 2014. The company also previewed the small Transit Connect, which was the 2014 International Van of the Year, to gauge local interest.

Also on display was a Black Edition Ranger, created especially for the show and sporting black alloy wheels, unique wheel arch mouldings and grille, nudge and roll bars – all in black. This model will be made available in the future.


The GWM stand attracted great interest because of its size and the number of models it had on display – models which, particularly in the LCV segment, will soon be available locally. One in particular was the Steed 6, which is due to go into production in China in early 2014 and will reach South Africa during the course of the year. The Steed 6 is GWM’s biggest, most sophisticated and luxurious pick-up yet. As such, the company is keen to point out that the Steed 6 will not replace the Steed 5 in South Africa, but will be positioned as a premium-segment leisure vehicle. It will be offered with GWM’s 2,0-litre VGT powerplant and feature a host of safety and convenience features.


Personalisation was the name of the game for Isuzu at JIMS, with various adaptations of the KB on display, each customised by GMSA engineers to show just how the KB can be personalised. Just one of these was the KB Sumo, a one-off high-riding KB with fat tyres, which took pride of place at the brand’s outdoor stand. Here, the opportunity was taken to afford visitors test rides at the off-road track.


The Wörthersee (left) and Edition versions of the VW Amarok drew crouds to the brand’s commercial vehicles stand.JMC presented its full model range of Boarding light pick-ups and Carrying light and medium trucks. The recently re-launched range of Changan Star light trucks also made an appearance on the stand. JMC is now responsible for the distribution and support of the Changan brand. No press briefings were held.


Locally distributed by Mandarin Motors, the Maxus V80 range of panel vans and people carriers was exhibited alongside the MG brand of cars, which also falls under Mandarin Motors. The Maxus team also plans to establish and promote the brand with taxi operators, van and truck rental companies, courier companies, small entrepreneurial businesses, tour operators and also within the private sector.


The upgraded Triton represented Mitsubishi’s commercial vehicle offering. The revitalised model sports a new 2,5-litre diesel engine that offers nine percent more power and 17 percent more torque than the old 3,2-litre unit. It also offers a lockable centre differential combined with the shift-on-the-fly system for 4×4 models. A more luxurious cabin with significant specification upgrades and fresh styling inside and out complete the package.


Nissan displayed its commercial vehicle range – including the NP200, NP300 and Navara pick-ups as well as NV200 and NV350 vans – at its outdoor hospitality area near the off-road course, where it also offered product demonstrations with the Navara.


The GWM Steed 6 will come to South Africa in 2014, with the Steed 5 remaining available to local buyers.The Tata stand was built around the theme “Horizonext” – which the company bases on four areas of focus: product, quality, sales and service. It featured the Super Ace and new Xenon XT pick-ups and the company was pleased to note that its commercial offerings are achieving good results in the local market.


Toyota announced that the Hilux will feature a few enhancements in 2014. Most noticeable of these is a new black dashboard, as opposed to the outgoing grey style. Another upgrade applies to the all-new multimedia system, which includes a photo viewer, video/DVD playback and expanded interface categories for music downloads. Hilux Double Cab 3,0 and 4,0 models now also get a back guide monitor as standard.


The theme at the VW Commercial Vehicles stand was “driving innovation” – which is something the company certainly did 63 years ago with the introduction of the Transporter. The big attraction at the company’s stand was the Amarok Wörthersee concept, which Jaco Steenekamp, VW Commercial Vehicles division head, says “may come one day”. This very low, very sporty, single cab Amarok features a 200 kW, 600 Nm V6 TDI engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with permanent four-wheel drive. It sprints to
100 km/h in 7,9 seconds yet can carry two Euro pallets in its 3,5 m2 load bay.

Another new version of the Amarok, the Amarok Edition, was on show – sporting all the luxury features of the Amarok “in an explicit form”. This version will make it to market next year.

What is available immediately, though, is the Cross Caddy. Available exclusively in Viper Green, it presents buyers with a customised exterior appearance and interior environment with a high level of spec.

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