Volvo XC90 named Auto Express Car of the Year 2015

volvo xc90The Volvo XC90 has been named Car of the Year 2015 and Large SUV of the Year at this year's Auto Express New Car Awards.

Volvo Cars' award-winning XC90 is already close to selling out its entire first year's planned production run of 50,000 cars. To date over 44,000 cars have been ordered.

"This award reflects the great passion that Volvo Cars puts into its new cars. We understand our customers' desire to have beautiful cars - cars that make their lives easier by delivering the latest technology - but in a user-friendly manner. We also understand the driving need for powertrains that deliver efficient performance, and a chassis that provides a balanced and engaging driving experience," said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group, accepting the award.

Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express, said: "We've been waiting a long time for the XC90, but it was well worth the wait - it's a sensational SUV. It not only sets new standards for Volvo, but for the car market in general, leading in terms of technology, efficiency, style and safety. It's also got an element of style - inside and out - that you might not have expected. If the XC90 points the way for the future of Volvo, the future looks very bright indeed."

The all-new XC90 is the first car to be built on Volvo Cars' Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) using its acclaimed Drive-E powertrain technology.

A blend of rich Scandinavian design elements, both inside and out, makes the Volvo XC90 stand out from the crowd. Delivering a commanding road presence with the distinct 'Thor's Hammer' LED headlights and larger grille, the XC90's powerful exterior design makes a strong, yet subtle statement.

The interior's crowning glory is the in-car control system, Sensus. This intuitive system controls all the major functions of the vehicle, from the infotainment, phone, navigation and connectivity features. The interior is the epitome of Scandinavian design, a serene and relaxing environment, combining the finest natural materials available such as leather and wood, and at the same time being a practical seven-seat SUV.

Note to Editors:

Since its launch in August 2014, the Volvo XC90 has been the recipient of many high profile awards, recognising its innovative approach to design, both interior and exterior and its ground-breaking approach to in-car control systems and connectivity features with its Sensus technology.


Award Awarded By Year Country
Most Innovative HMI System  Car HMI Concept & Systems 2015 Germany
Best Technological Car Mas Que Coches, TELE 5 2015 Spain
Swiss Car of the Year - Runner up Schweizer Illustrierte 2015 Switzerland
Automotive Launch of the Year AUTO LIDER 2015 Poland
Interior Design of the Year Automotive Interiors Expo 2015 Germany
Best Big SUV Auto Motor & Sport reader poll 2015 Sweden
Best Innovation, Design, Quality and Operating Comfort Plus X Award 2015 Germany
Most Innovative car of the year Automotive Innovations 2015 2015 Germany
Best car of the year Auto Swiat 2015 Poland
Big SUV of the year AUTO LIDER 2015 Poland
Car Maker of the Year TU Automotive 2015 USA
Best Luxury Midsize SUV U.S. News & World Report 2015 USA
Yankee Cup Technology Award New England Motor Press Association 2015 USA
Best SUV of the year Motor-Presse Bohemia reader poll 2015 Czech Republic
Best 4x4 Diesel Car Magazine 2015 UK
Company Car of The Year - Large SUVs Firmenauto/DEKRA 2015 Germany
Best of the Best Product Design Award Red Dot Awards 2015 Germany
Connected Car of the Year 2014 France


Also view:

Vehicle Finance, Car Insurance and Road Safety

Buying and Selling a Vehicle – Informed decisions and the Vehicle Retailer


Data collection can lead to safer driving conditions

Medical Research Council data road deaths

Data generation is a daily occurrence, yet the inability to effectively collate and analyse data across multiple industries remains a challenge. Reasons include the inability to collect real time raw data, system integration across multiple platforms and an inability to take all the data we have and to use it to make our roads safer.   Collating data, applying data analytics and coupling mobile sensing technology can help improve driver behavior.

Annually we see an increase in the number of road fatalities across our road networks and motor claim statistics indicate that as the number of accidents increases so too does the number of uninsured claims. Each year about 14 000 drivers, passengers and pedestrians die on South African roads – that’s the equivalent of a Boeing 747 full of passengers crashing every 10 days.  Human error constitutes more than 80% of these collisions.

Road safety is a critical public policy issue and the statistics are indicative of the need to start looking at not only data analytics but at the collation of data across multiple entities to drive change and improve road conditions.

Law enforcement authorities rely on data to monitor the occurrence of infringements and to keep track of legal proceedings.   Data also enables an intelligence-led approach to enforcement that assists in the identification of high speed areas and outlining where incidences of drunk driving are on the increase.

The transport sector aims to collect data indicating where road conditions need attention and improvement so as to promote safe road conditions for travelers.   They are also responsible for monitoring roadworthiness, registration and examinations to establish driver ability on our roads.    And they require data for the identification of hazardous locations, or hotspots, to identify high risk routes and road design problems so that engineering standards are improved.

Similarly, the healthcare sector relies on data to estimate the magnitude of both fatal and non-fatal road traffic injuries and to identify the risk factors involved to effectively cater for the fallout.      And to give insight into trends of impact prevention programmes and to help the sector to plan effectively for trauma care and rehabilitation services.

In the same way, data collected by insurance companies could be used not only to make drivers more aware of their driving habits, but also to analyse broader trends such as geographical and historical information that could inform things like better infrastructure, or finding better ways of communicating certain messages for certain things.

The tools exist in telematics and big data to do something about this unacceptable state of affairs, but it requires commitment and cooperation from multiple industries including insurers, traffic authorities and vehicle owners.

If a national system could be put in place (and it can, given the necessary cooperation and funding) then it would dramatically reduce accident rates and also end the need for speed trapping as cars could be GPS-programmed to slavishly follow speed limits.   Imagine the possibilities when multiple systems could be tapped in to in order to provide a data bank which could be accessed by transport, healthcare and private sectors and law enforcement authorities to provide roadmaps for the future.    And in so doing to give our citizens better infrastructure, better care – and better offerings that make sense for their personal needs, and within the bigger picture.

Insurance companies are leading the charge in many ways to pioneer innovation in areas like telematics which enable them to price policies more fairly based on individual driving behavior and profiles.   It stands to reason then, that they too should pioneer systems that could enable innovative road safety in South Africa.

The obstacle is achieving the necessary cooperation between all parties and the commitment to driving change and making our roads safer.   Systems would need to be standardized across industries, significant investment would need to be made to upgrade traffic authority systems and insurers would need to look at accommodating these types of changes in the pricing of their policies.

Analytics and predictive technology would go a long way to help all stakeholders not just in monitoring the traffic rerouting plans, but also in evaluating the efficiency and thresholds of the new projects after their completion. This would allow authorities to employ solutions long before a potential problem matures into a crisis.

[Jonathan Holden, Managing Executive: Insurance Innovation Group South Africa]

Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello Podium Finish At Trailseeker Western Cape

Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello Podium Finish At Trailseeker Western Cape

Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebello is proving his class when yet again this weekend, he took podium for first place for the U23’s and 3rd place overall at Race#2 at the Nissan TrailSeeker Western Cape Series, which took place in Grabouw on 27 June.

Rebello completed the 70-km race in 3h28m48s, just minutes behind first-placed Adriaan Louw (3h24m55s) and Lourens Luus in 2nd (3h25m19s). Edward Best finished 4th (3h32m57s), with Nico Pfitzenmaier 5th (3h36m28s).

Rebello, a former Junior African cross-country champion, has been in fine form recently when he finished 2nd overall ahead of some of the country’s top riders at the three-day stage race RECM Knysna 200 on 15 June.

Said Rebello after the Nissan TrailSeeker event, “It was a super tough race and I'm chuffed to be back on the podium in 3rd. Thanks to Advendurance for another great event! Proud to be wearing my Jeep Team colours.”

Other Jeep Team news


Jeep Team’s Hank McGregor continues to dominate the KZN surfski scene, securing yet another victory this weekend at the Zurich Pirates Umhlanga Pirates clash – Race#3 of the five-leg 2015 FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Series.

Having missed the first two events of the series, McGregor seemed intent on winning at Saturday’s race, edging out strong competition to claim victory in 1h54m28s. Matthew Bouman finished 2nd, Wade Krieger 3rd, and Steve Woods 4th, with McGregor’s dad, Lee McGregor, placing 5th.

Said McGregor: “The Pirates Umhlanga Pirates clash is such an iconic event so it was great to come down and be a part of this year’s race. I took it quite easy on the way to Umhlanga and Matthew [Bouman], my dad [Lee McGregor] and I turned about a minute behind Steve [Woods] and Wade [Krieger]. On the way back I looked to push the pace a little more and it was nice to get the win in the end!”

McGregor and Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin are now on their way to Mauritius to compete in the 23-km Mauritius Ocean Classic, which takes place on Saturday, 4 July. Known as one of the best downwind races on the globe, the event also forms part of the Ocean Paddler World Surfski Series.

Adventure Racing

On Sunday, Jeep Team’s Claudia Richard competed in the 25-km Kinetic Adventure Urban Race through the heart of Johannesburg. Claudia and her racing partner, Ruth Avierinos, finished the race in 5th overall.

Said Claudia, “The start went well and all the female teams were close on each others’ heels. With my fitness not being back to 100% race ready due to a virus, we managed to finish 5th in the female pair teams. Highlight of the race was getting to slide down the fireman's pole at the Johannesburg Fire Station - thank you to all the brave men and women who serve us and got us all to have a great time in the fire station!”


Jeep Team’s Downhill athlete, Gregg Brown, competed in the fourth round of the Stihl SA Cup Series, which took place in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday at the famous Cascades MTB Park.

Brown finished 9th overall in the men’s Elite Downhill after suffering mechanical problems in the final practice run that left his bike compromised.

Pietermaritzburg’s Tiaan Odendaal took a clean win in a time of 3.03.55, followed by David Hogan in 2nd (3.12.47) and Andre Pretorius in 3rd (3.14.68).

Castrol Team Toyota 1st and 2nd in Desert Race Prologue

desert sand driving

Castrol Team Toyota tackled the 110 km prologue of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1,000 Desert Race on Friday 26 June, and recorded the two fastest times of the day. Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie pipped teammates Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy to the post by a scant 16 seconds.

"We are extremely pleased with the result today," said Glyn Hall, Team Principal of Castrol Team Toyota, of his team's performance on Friday. "The thick, sandy conditions, however, allowed the crews in the Special Vehicles to get quite close to us."

So close, in fact, that Colin Matthews and navigator Rodney Burke of Century Racing finished the prologue just one second behind Taylor/Murphy. Even though the Century vehicle races in a separate class, it may well have an influence on the outcome of the production vehicle race.

"It is important to understand that there are essentially two separate races taking place at the same time - Production Vehicles and Special Vehicles," explained Hall. "But because we share the route, the two classes invariably influence each other."

In the Production Vehicle line-up, it is the two Castrol Team Toyotas that lead the way, followed by the Fords of Lance Woolridge and Gary Bertholdt, with Woolridge completing the prologue some 59 seconds slower than Poulter. The Horn brothers, Johan and Werner of Malalane Toyota, are in fifth place for tomorrow's start, just over three minutes behind the leaders.

The battle in Class S, for production vehicles with engines up to four liters and solid rear axles, saw Toyota Hilux Crew Heinie Strumpher and Henri Hugo post the fastest time - just 19 seconds ahead of Deon Venter and Jaco van Aardt, also in a Toyota Hilux.

The first race day of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1,000 Desert Race kicks off at 08:30 on Saturday 27 June, and comprises a route of 500 km around the Jwaneng district. The 2015 edition of the Desert Race concludes on Sunday, with a final 400 km loop in the same area.

Also view:

Safe Driving on Gravel Roads

New paper products manufacturer shows how it’s done

Just Paper

Situated in Epping Industria, Cape Town, new paper products manufacturer JUSTpaper has a pioneering business philosophy that is taking the company from strength to strength. Built on the foundation of investing in communities in which it operates, JUSTpaper has gone from employing four local previously disadvantaged people to boasting a strong workforce of 14 in just seven months.

The company has also committed to donate 12 boxes of paper to local schools monthly where the children are often not able to do their homework because of a lack of paper.

Co-founder of JUSTpaper, Nicole Rosenbaum comments, “We wanted to start a business where our employees were proud to work. I came from a profession where I dreaded going into work, so it’s extremely important for us to create a working environment which not only empowers its employees, but one in which they feel happy to be here.”

Rosenbaum also credits the success of the company to its new customers some of which include Conquest Paper, Mass Mart, Giant Hyper supermarkets, Maynards Group, MultiMart and as well as exporting to Namibia.

JUSTpaper has committed to plant one tree for every box of paper sold through its alliance with Greenpop.

For more information about JUSTpaper contact 021 5311094 or visit

Just Paper 2

Which insurer has the happiest clients?

door matA wise man once said "Look after the Facts and Justice will look after itself!!"

In the Insurance industry there is fierce competition in what has become a very congested industry. Many new role players enter the market yearly and much of the advertising is around price and promises of service delivery!

But are these new entrants delivering? Are the major role players getting too comfortable and do they have reason for concern?

The best method to measure service delivery is to have a look at 2 independent reports. Only reports that are independent will help the insurance client to measure how his insurer is performing and ensure that he does not get entangled in clever marketing talk!

These reports are:

The Year Report of the Ombudsman 

South African customer satisfaction index (SAcsi)

The Report from the Ombudsman provides information such as the amount of insurance claims, how many of these claims were rejected by an insurer and whether such dismissals were adjudicated by the Ombudsman to be fair / justified.

The Consumer satisfaction index reveals the levels of satisfaction experienced by clients. In this case it might not only cover the claims and whether they were fair, but also the delivery on the promises made with regards to the overall "service experience".

One of the biggest players in the Short Term Insurance Industry, OUTsurance may indeed have reason to be satisfied with these results - the only insurer whose customer satisfaction score of 80 out of 100 and without significant change to the prior period of measurement.





Honda Jazz joins the First Car Rental Fleet

Honda Jazz

First Car Rental is happy to announce that it will be adding 60 of the popular Honda Jazz 1.2 Trend's to its car hire fleet.

Thirty Honda Jazz vehicles will be added to Group R in July, followed by an additional 30 cars in September.

The stylish Honda Jazz packs a punch when it comes to offering a much larger interior space than similar sized cars.

The Jazz's legendary 'Magic Seat' system allows the rear seats to be tipped and packed up in a wide range of combinations to create a generous, customised loading area.

Other features include power steering, air con, remote central locking, integrated alarm/immobiliser system and an MP3/WMA-compatible audio system with AUX and USB inputs.

Safety features include ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution as well as driver and passenger airbags.

The Honda Jazz Trend comes with a 1.2-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 13.5 seconds. The combined-cycle fuel consumption is just 5.6 litres/100 km, with associated CO2 exhaust emissions of 135 g/km.

Says Melissa Storey, First Car Rental's Executive Head of Strategy, Development & Marketing, “The Honda Jazz Trend is a great addition to First Fleet and gives customers a stylish rental option. The convenient ‘Magic Seat’ feature is an added advantage that we are sure our customers will love.”

Also view:

Car Rental and Road Safety


ER24 hosts first ever BCCTPC exam in the country

7185_4052_Garden City Heli Pad1

ER24 is proud to have hosted the first ever Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification (BCCTPC) examination in South Africa.

The BCCTPC is an American-based standard-setting body that examines paramedics across the world to ensure those transporting critical care patients by ground or air are of a certain standard.

A paramedic who holds a BCCTPC certification is recognised as part of an exclusive group of paramedics with superior knowledge in transport medicine and critical care.

Previously, paramedics would have had to travel abroad to a satellite examination centre to write the exams. To ensure that our Critical Care Retrieval Service paramedics are at a higher standard than everyone else, ER24 sent three of its paramedics to Malta last year on a course and to write the critical care transport and flight paramedic examination set by the BCCTPC.

Currently, they are the only paramedics in South Africa to hold this certification. These paramedics are specialists in critical care transport and form part of dedicated retrieval teams that are rapidly dispatched to stabilise patients in peripheral hospitals, start ICU and life-saving care before transporting a patient to a specialist care centre.

Following successful discussions with the BCCTPC, ER24’s Training Academy, based at the head office in Paulshof, hosted the first examination in the country. Four ER24 paramedics wrote the examination on June 5.

Knowledge of cardiology, nephrology, neurology, trauma, paediatrics and neonatology as well as ventilation, life-support, anaesthetics and advanced airway management procedures was tested in the examination.

Aebhric O’Kelly, the managing director of Merit Training which is based in Europe, facilitated the examination.

Jill Lithgow, from the ER24 Training Academy, said she is proud to have been a part of the first ever hosting of the examination.

“This examination forms part of ER24’s critical care strategy. ER24’s relationship with Merit Training has grown over the years. Merit trained ER24 students. We train Merit students as well and provide them with placement on our vehicles as observers,” she said.

ER24 will continue to ensure that only the best paramedics are utilised to treat and transfer patients.


Four paramedics wrote the Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification (BCCTPC) examination on June 5. At the back are: Marthine de Kock, Aebhric O’Kelly (the managing director of Merit Training), and Illze Milbert. At the front are: Michael Klopper (the country co-ordinator for South Africa for Merit Training), Allastair Lithgow, Maxine Dickson-Hall and Jill Lithgow (the ER24 Education Training and Development Department manager).

Avoid the traffic jam and get up to R600 Back this winter with TomTom’s Money Back Offer

TomTom Go Sandton

TomTom, is offering all consumers the opportunity to get up to R600 Money Back this winter with the purchase of selected GPS navigation devices.

The offer will be available in selected outlets nationwide and is open to all South African residents that have purchased a participating promotional product between 21st June and 31st August 2015.

GPS Navigation Devices with TomTom Traffic help road users avoid traffic jams by providing live traffic updates that are able to suggest alternate routes, helping commuters get to their destination faster.

TomTom’s Traffic Index, an international study that analyses congestion patterns around the globe, placed two of South Africa’s major cities in the top 100 most congested in the world. Cape Town is ranked 55th and Johannesburg, 77th.

To help solve your congestion issues by taking part in this great offer, simply follow the three easy steps below:

  • Buy one of the devices listed below from 21st June to 31st August 2015
  • Complete the registration form at within 30 days after purchase
  • Receive money back into your bank account within 30 working days of submitting purchase receipts and banking information

Product and Money Back offering:

  • TomTom Start 20 - R300
  • TomTom  Start 25 - R200
  • TomTom Start 40 - R400
  • TomTom Start 50 - R400
  • TomTom Via 130 - R300
  • TomTom Via 135 - R300
  • TomTom Go 820 - R300
  • TomTom Go 1005 World - R400
  • TomTom Go 40 - R500
  • TomTom Go 400 - R500
  • TomTom Go 500 - R500
  • TomTom Go 5000 - R600

Also view:

GPS and Road Safety

Jeep Team’s Young Mikaela Jonsson Wins First Race at 32GI Tinman Triathlon


An outstanding performance from Jeep Team’s Mikaela Jonsson (17) saw the 2020 Olympic-hopeful outshine competitors nearly twice her age to claim Gold at Race#1 of the 32GI TinMan Triathlon, which took place at Durban’s Suncoast Sundeck on Sunday, 21 June.

Jonsson competed in the sprint event consisting of a 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, finishing the race in 1h19m19s, ahead of second-placed Lesley Wilson-Jones (1h22m20s) with Ashleigh Hansen in 3rd (1h26m09s).

Jonsson commented on her race; “I was really happy with my race and especially being in the top 10 overall.  I'm feeling really good at the moment & looking forward to SA Duathlon Champs in two weeks’ time.”

Jonsson maintained an average pace of 3:03 min/km throughout the race, compared to Wilson-Jones’ 3:10 min/km and Hansen’s 3:18 min/km. Jonsson was also the only under 25 finishing in the top 10.

The 32GI TINMAN Series has 4 events within the Series, all utilising the amazing Durban beachfront as the race setting. The 32GI TinMan Triathlon presented by Triathlon Plus is a fast-paced action packed Triathlon and Running event catering to all athletes.



Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin also achieved success in Durban, claiming top podium in 1h34m42.19s at Race#2 of the five-leg FNB Durban Downwind Surfski Series, which took place from Wydenham to Amanzimtoti beaches on Sunday.

Wade Krieger was leading the 20-km race until the final stretch when he misjudged a wave on a shallow sandbank and broke the tail of his ski, allowing Lewin to slip ahead and claim victory.

Said Lewin, “It was pretty lucky! Wade was really strong and I couldn’t believe my luck when I came past him in the surf at Toti. KZN really rolled out its finest South Coast welcome today. It was magnificent out there, plus the phenomenal hospitality from the Toti Canoe Club crowd and their superb organisation, it all added up to a magical day for surf ski racing.”

Krieger finished 2nd in (1h36m3.85s) with Gene Prato in 3rd (1h38m5.94s).

Also view:

Mountain Bike Events / Planning and the Safety of Bikers

Mountain Bike Safety and Riding on the Trail

Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety