SA-bound Lexus LC 500 making its UK debut at the Goodwill Festival of Speed

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Everything about the Lexus LC 500 has been as dramatic and captivating as its looks right from conception. Having started life as an LF-LC concept back in 2012, although there were no plans to produce it at the time, Lexus had to change its collective mind after the overwhelmingly positive response.

Britain will have its first sight of the new Lexus LC coupe this weekend when it goes on show and takes to the track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The story behind the car's development is as intriguing as its award-winning design, revealed by the men who led its development from a show-stopping concept car into an equally radical road-going machine.

The production version is hardly less dramatic than the concept, with supercar-like proportions and a V8 engine driving the rear wheels through a ten-speed automatic gearbox. An arched body line and oversized wheels give the LC 500 an athletic look, while the massive Lexus spindle grille dominates the front.

Beyond its styling and impactful performance, the new LC 500 serves as a symbol of the achievement that can result from heightened collaboration between design and engineering groups and their commitment to help overcome each other's hurdles.

Chief Engineer Koji Sato and Chief Designer Tadao Mori headed up their teams in an unprecedented collaboration, embracing new technologies and advanced materials alongside established Lexus manufacturing traditions such as the hand-and-eye skills of the Takumi craftspeople.

So, when President of Toyota Motor Corp Akio Toyoda challenged these development groups to produce this special car, it meant surpassing many manufacturing, design, material, and dynamic obstacles that could typically compromise a vehicle's targets or design vision.

The engineering and design teams have given their personal insights into the project in a series of interview features that cover the key development challenges, including how they succeeded in translating the stand-out styling of the original LF-LC concept car into the packaging of a viable production model.

The fruits of their labour will given a high-profile platform this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the V8-powered LC 500 will be making runs on the famous hill climb course and will be on public display as the centrepiece of the Lexus stand.

The Lexus LC 500 will be launched in South Africa in the first quarter of 2017. Further details will be released closer to the date.

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Zero Waste to Landfill for GMSA’s Parts Distribution Centre

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General Motors South Africa’s (GMSA) Parts Distribution Centre (PDC), situated in the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth, has recently been declared landfill free.

The 37 000 square metre world class warehouse is the first of GM’s global facilities to be recognised with this achievement this year and is the company’s 43rd non-manufacturing site to become landfill free. The warehouse accommodates about 144 000 part numbers and dispatches parts and accessories to 113 dealers and 21 parts wholesalers across Southern Africa as well as 34 dealers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Ncedisa Mzuzu, Environmental Group Manager, Africa, the waste generated at the PDC mainly consists of paper and plastic packaging, metals, non-toxic fluids, wood and cardboard. By the end of May, the warehouse has managed to recycle 99.42% with just over half percent sent to an energy recovery facility.

“GMSA’s environmental management system is certified to the ISO 14001:2004 standard. The environment is one of the company’s key business imperatives and we have made significant efforts in recent years to mitigate the impact of the business on the environment. The aim is to have all four sites in Port Elizabeth landfill free by 2020,” said Mzuzu.

The Vehicle Conversion and Distribution Centre in Markman Township, from where vehicles are distributed to dealers, is currently undergoing validation while this process at the manufacturing facilities at Struandale and Kempston Road is set start this month. “By the end of last year the average recycling ratio for all four facilities was 85.22%,” said Mzuzu.

6 Practical tips if you’re planning a property investment

 

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Handled correctly, an investment property is a great asset that appreciates in value, can be rented out to earn an income and it’s a great banker in your capital growth and retirement strategy.

There are two primary reasons why people invest in property:

  • Buy to rent – once you have purchased the property, it is rented out to produce a rental income.  Essentially you are looking for a trusty tenant to pay as much of the bond costs as possible that you have in place.
  • Buy to re-sell – often referred to as ‘flipping’, if you have an eye for fixer uppers and a passion for renovation, many people find good money in buying properties to fix up and resell for a higher price than the initial price plus cost of renovation.

Both of these are sound investment options if you know what you are doing.  Investing in property is a long term strategy, so you will need to be sure that you have the cash flow and funds to maintain your repayments and weather any financial stress down the line.  You don’t want to have to sell your investment property until you are ready to do so, and only when market conditions are in your favour.  If you falter and buy a dud, you could find yourself in serious financial constraints and horribly out of pocket.

Here are some important considerations when looking to invest in property:

  1. Know your strategy and invest with that in mind: If you are buying to rent, you need to know what the realistic rental income for the area and type of property is, how much you need to spend on any required repairs or maintenance, commissions due to a rental agent, and then cover your transfer and bond costs, taxes, interest, insurance and so on. You may have some shortfall initially that you need to cover, but over time the property should be giving you a healthy return.  Ensuring that you have a steady rental income is important as the cash flow will make keeping the asset more affordable.  Also make sure that your property suits the demographics of renters in the area – an open plan family home with a large garden won’t perform in an area close to a university unless you plan on converting it to a student digs!  If you’re buying to flip – renovate and resell - you need to know what your costs are to renovate, what the potential selling price could be based on similar properties in the area.  You will also need to take into consideration bond and transfer costs, interest and insurance until you do re-sell, which all impact whether you actually make a profit at the end of the day. Buying to flip will require that you acquire an asset that is well below its market value - typically stressed properties and urgent sales - and for this you need to be patient.
  2. Make sure you can afford it: Investing in property is a long term strategy, so be sure you can afford any bond repayments and costs over the long term.  If the property stands empty while you look for a trustworthy tenant, can you manage the repayments? If your renovations take longer than expected, or the property does not flip as quickly as you had planned, can you carry the costs in the interim? Make sure you factor in costs such as rates and taxes, maintenance and capital gains tax into your budget.
  3. Get a good rental agent: A rental agent or licenced real estate agent that is experienced in managing rentals is an asset and will go a long way in managing things for you and your tenant. They will thoroughly screen the tenants to ensure they have a good payment record and can afford the rental.  Once a good tenant is found, they then also provide advice on contracts, rental rates, your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, sort any maintenance issues and do regular check-ups to ensure that your tenant is looking after your property appropriately.
  4. Research the area you are buying in thoroughly – Estate agents and bond originators will be able to assist with a roll of all property sales in the area for you to compare against and you can also arrange for an independent valuation to be done if you are unsure. Banks have valuable data on property values in different developments and areas which is helpful in ensuring that you don’t pick the wrong investment property. Estate agents can also assist you with determining the potential for rental income based on other rentals in the area.
    Check out the local amenities that would make your property more appealing to tenants or buyers.  Are there open stands in the area which could be a hotspot for crime or property developments that could impact the future value of your investment?
  1. Make the property attractive to renters or buyers: Whether you’re planning to rent the property out or flip it for profit, make the property attractive to whoever is going to live there.  Stick to neutral colours and keep the bathrooms and kitchen in good condition.  A well-kept property will attract better quality tenants, and if you’re reselling, a buyer will more easily be able to see themselves in the property if it does not have your personal signature stamped all over it.
  2. Get an independent property inspection and a Hollard home warranty: Make sure that the investment property you are buying is exactly that, an investment and not a liability.  Hollard’s Home Warranty addresses the issues around defects with a professional property inspection that is coupled to an insurance policy. This protects you as the buyer against the financial ramifications of any hidden defects that may emerge in the property for two years after taking transfer.  When you’re stretched to the max with deposits, bond and transfer costs, municipal deposits, renovation costs and a growing property portfolio, the last thing you need is unplanned bills to fix hidden defects. When buying to rent additional unplanned expenses can significantly impact on the viability of the rental return.  If you do find a great fixer-upper deal, albeit with a few problems, you won’t end up walking away from a great deal because you overestimate the extent of and cost to fix minor problems.  When flipping the property, selling a renovated house with a Hollard home warranty assures the new buyer that the renovation has been done properly and they can safely fall in love with what looks fabulous and so ensure you the best possible price for the house. And the cost of the warranty can be covered within the total price of the house – all you have to do is include it in your Offer to Purchase and the premium can be paid from the proceeds of the sale!

When it comes to investing in property, the last thing you need is hidden suprises that can eat away at your profits and future returns.  Making sure the homework is done by professional property inspectors is the first step towards peace of mind that you’re making the right investment.  The next step is transferring the risk of undetected defects to an insurer.  A Hollard Home Warranty should be an integral part of your property investment strategy for peace of mind and the best possible return on your investment.

To find out more or get a quote, go to www.hollard.co.za, or email hollardhomewarranty@hollard.co.za. Or call 0861 HOME 4U (0861 4663 48).

Save a life – Donate blood

Derrick BanksJune highlights and celebrates the millions of people worldwide who give their blood voluntarily to help those in need.

This National Blood Donor Month, ER24 thanks blood donors for their gift of life and urges others to donate if they are eligible to do so.

As an Emergency Medical Service provider, ER24 paramedics see first hand the effect severe blood loss has on patients in both trauma and medical-related cases.

Severe blood loss can lead to a number of complications and result in death.

Speaking about some of the incidents he has attended, Derrick Banks, ER24 Hillcrest Branch Manager, said, “Each situation and patient is different.

We attend to patients injured in collisions, people injured after falling from a height and patients who are shot or stabbed for example.

“When paramedics arrive on the scene of any situation, they assess and conduct a primary overview of the patient. If the patient has any signs of severe bleeding, paramedics try to stop or limit the bleeding. The patient is treated and transported to hospital for further medical care,” he said.

Banks stressed it is vital that a patient with severe blood loss receive immediate emergency care. “Blood carries oxygen and other essential substances to organs and tissues. Hypovolemic shock, also known as hemorrhagic shock, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person loses more than 20 percent of their blood or fluid supply.

This makes it impossible for the heart to pump sufficient blood to the body and as a result, a patient risks organ failure or death. Just recently we had a patient who suffered traumatic injuries to an arm and leg following a vehicle collision. She needed blood due to the severity of the injuries she sustained. She was rushed to a nearby hospital where she underwent surgery. The surgery went well and she is recovering. This is just one example highlighting the positive impact a person can make by donating blood,” he said.

Banks himself is a blood donor. He has just donated his 50th unit of blood.

“I come from a family of blood donors. I started donating blood when I was 16 years of age while still in high school. At the time, I did not even think I was going to be medic but things have a funny way of turning out. I feel its very important for people to donate blood. Speaking from experience, my daughter was two days old when she had to undergo surgery and needed blood during the operation. I know giving blood is not for everybody but taking not even 30 minutes out of your day could help those in need,” said Banks.

By donating just one unit of blood, which is 480ml, you can help save up to three lives.

There are certain requirements for those wanting to donate blood. Donors must be between the ages of 16 and 65, be a minimum weight of 50kg, be in good health and live a sexually safe lifestyle.

A health questionnaire will be given to you and blood bank personnel will guide you through the process. It is vital to be completely honest when answering the questionnaire.

Also view:

Blood Donor Month: Know more about Blood Donations

Road Safety And The Need For Blood

Safe Blood Starts With Me

Looking Toward The Future… Ensuring a Safe Blood Supply

Frequently Asked Questions

Common myths and misconceptions about LED lighting busted

Led LightLight emitting diodes (LEDs) –have put light bulbs back on the front page. Now, the lighting industry is being forced to wrestle with a large number of misconceptions, myths and false claims about a product that will change the way we live. Philips sets the LED record straight…

  1. Myth: LEDs cost too much

Fact is that the initial output cost of installing an LED lighting system is higher than comparable incandescent and fluorescent lighting solutions, but work out much cheaper in the long run… and that’s before you take into account the energy consumption, which is up to 80% less than conventional incandescent lamps.

2. Myth: LEDs are not bright enough

While conventional lights may produce more lumens than an LED system, lumen output is a pretty poor measure of suitability. A light source‘s suitability is better judged by delivered light, in other words how much light is delivered to a surface or area where it’s needed. When comparing lighting fixtures on the basis of delivered light, LED fixtures often perform as well, and in some cases significantly better than conventional fixtures.

3. Myth: LEDs give poor light quality

Light quality is measured by the colour rendering index, or CRI. Most spaces require a minimum CRI of 70-90 and many white-LED lighting fixtures available today achieve CRIs of 80 or better.

4. Myth: 3W LEDs are brighter than IW

Fortunately, this is a hang-over from a recent past, where the only way to increase brightness was to increase the watts. LED sources are, however; much more efficient at converting watts to lumens. This means that LED sources can consume the same number of watts, but differ significantly in the amount of light they create.

5. Myth: LEDs don’t last forever

It might feel like they do, but well-designed LEDs do lose approximately 30% of their light output after approximately 50 000 hours –which if used 14/7 translates to about six years. Considerably more traditional bulbs and significantly longer than Hollywood marriages!

6. Myth: LEDs generate no heat

Because they produce no infrared energy, the beam of light from an LED source is cool. However, some waste heat is produced within the LED itself, but a bit of clever engineering in high quality fixtures dissipates this heat into the surrounding air.

7. Myth: LEDs don’t produce over 160 lumens

Whilst significantly more economical than traditional fixtures, some high efficient white-light LED lighting fixtures achieve efficacy of over 40 lumens per watt. It’s not quite the legendary 160 figure, but it is more than enough to earn ENERGY STAR and other energy-efficiency ratings.

[Philips Lighting South Africa]

 

 

Polestar software makes XC90 T8 most-powerful Volvo ever

t8_polestar_3_1800x1800New-generation Polestar optimisation software is now available for the new Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, making the world’s cleanest SUV even faster and more inspiring to drive.

Polestar optimisation increases overall output from the Drive-E petrol engine and Electric Rear Axle Drive system to 311 kW and 680 Nm, and drops the 0-100 km/h sprint time to 5.5 seconds – all with unchanged, class-leading fuel consumption of 2.1-litres per 100 km (according to European PHEV regulations) and a maximum 43 km of pure electric range.

The increase in power and torque has been effected to the turbo- and supercharged Drive-E petrol engine, which sees power increase from 235 kW to 246 kW and a 40 Nm jump in torque, from 400- to 440 Nm. Electric motor output remains unchanged at 65 kW and 240 Nm.

The new-generation Polestar optimisation not only enhances the engine’s performance, but tweaks the entire drivetrain in five key areas as well. By improving throttle response, gearshift hold, speed and precision, as well as overall engine performance, the XC90 T8 Twin Engine reaches a new level of driving pleasure.

One of the main features of the new optimisation is the gear-hold function, which holds the selected gear during cornering with high lateral g-forces. This prevents unwanted gearshifts mid-corner that can unsettle the balance of the car, providing the driver with improved response and control during spirited driving.

Reigning four-time Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) champion and current Polestar Cyan Racing driver in the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), Thed Björk has been part of the optimisation development.

“It is amazing for me as a racing and development driver to be able to work with the same kind of technology and philosophy on the XC90 as with my S60 race car. While an SUV like the XC90 might be far from what we usually work with, the core of the optimisation is the same. It is about creating driving pleasure and usable performance, something I definitely think we have achieved,” says Björk, who drives a Volvo S60 Polestar TC1 with Drive-E technology in the WTCC.

Polestar optimisation software can be ordered through any Volvo Cars dealer in South Africa, and all changes which are part of the Polestar optimisation are made with all certified emissions, fuel consumption, service intervals and Volvo warranties unchanged.

Also view:

Vehicle Finance, Car Insurance and Road Safety

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

Isuzu partners with Nkombe to save the Rhino

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Johannesburg – Isuzu has again embarked on an anti-poaching project in partnership with Nkombe Rhino, a non-profit organisation dedicated to wild life conservation, to ensure the safety of the endangered Rhinoceros in the Blue Canyon Conservancy. The conservancy is situated in Hoedspruit in the Limpopo Province, which is the epicentre of the rhino poaching epidemic where incidents of poaching occur on a daily basis. The dehorning project which lasted three days targeted 24 rhinoceros which were successfully dehorned.

The de-horning process is part of an integrated anti-poaching strategy which includes educating communities around the reserve, media exposure to highlight the effects of rhino poaching and at the same time inform potential poachers that the animals in the area have been dehorned. This process takes place every 18 to 24 months as the horns grow quite rapidly. The process involves finding the rhino and tranquilising them from a helicopter. Once the tranquiliser dart has taken effect, the rhinoceroses’ horns are removed by an experienced team, led by wild life veterinarian Dr Peter Rodgers, who take great care not to get too close to the sensitive area at the base of the horn.

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“Removing the rhino’s most distinctive feature, along with education of local communities and dissemination of information, is part of the measures used to slow the poaching pandemic. This process has been proven to work: for example, de-horned Rhinos in certain Zimbabwean conservancies appear to have a 29 percent better chance of surviving than horned animals. Previous operations in the Blue Canyon Conservatory have also resulted in a dramatic decline in poaching,” said Brian Olson, Vice President Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing General Motors Sub-Saharan Africa.

Along with much needed financial support for the dehorning mission, Isuzu provided a fleet of KB 300 4x4 double cab bakkies as support vehicles in the operation to track and dart the prehistoric creatures.

Between 2008 and 2015 an estimated 5 500 rhinos were slaughtered in South Africa for their horns – which have no proven medicinal benefits at all. Poaching estimates of 1 800 this year and 2 153 in 2017 suggest that the situation will get worse before it gets better and if next year’s projection is correct, it will mean that rhino deaths will have almost doubled since 2014.

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In some cultures, Rhino horn is considered a powerful aphrodisiac and at $60 000 US (R936 000) a kilogram, is more valuable than gold or platinum. For criminal syndicates the rewards are therefore substantial, while for impoverished communities that border national and private reserves, the risks associated with poaching is outweighed by the need for survival.

“Isuzu has a long history of providing real solutions to issues which affect communities within Southern Africa, starting with Operation Rachel in 1993 and Operation Mandume in 2007 which were very effective campaigns against the proliferation of illegal firearms in Southern Africa. This time we are lending a helping hand to Nkombe as a partner in the fight against Rhino poaching. Without concrete action to prevent further loses, we are likely to lose these animals forever,” said Olson.

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Appealing design underpins Toyota’s “most valued” brand status

Comments Off on Appealing design underpins Toyota’s “most valued” brand statusWritten on June 11th, 2016 by
Categories: Car Insurance, Vehicle

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Toyota's focus on emotionally appealing design has seen it remain solidly in top position as the world's most valuable automotive brand, according to a major global study.

Citing Toyota's enduring brand strength, the 2016 BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report said the top-rated car manufacturer had embraced the importance of design.

It said this added an emotional appeal to a brand respected for the functional excellence of its vehicles.

The report, released by market researcher Millward Brown, estimated Toyota's brand value had increased by two per cent over the past year to US$29.5 billion (A$39.9 billion).

It is the eighth time Toyota has topped the automotive category in the report's 11-year history.

Second and third places among carmakers were taken by luxury marques.

The report said social trends such as urbanisation and a shift from ownership to sharing would see car manufacturers also become mobility service providers.

Anticipating these trends, Toyota has already contributed 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, for an innovative car-sharing experiment in the French city of Grenoble.

Last month, Toyota announced an agreement with Uber to explore ride-sharing opportunities and will make a strategic investment in the technology platform.

Toyota has also provided initial funding of US$1 billion for a research institute that will develop artificial intelligence and robotics for enhancing human mobility.

Adventurer Vilane set to confront Kruger2Canyon Challenge

Comments Off on Adventurer Vilane set to confront Kruger2Canyon ChallengeWritten on June 10th, 2016 by
Categories: Business, Insurance Sponsorship

Sibusiso Vilane

Legendary South African adventurer Sibusiso Vilane is not one for half measures. He has already conquered Mount Everest twice and climbed all Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the continents.

Now he has become an accomplished trail runner and on June 18 and 19 will confront the rugged Kruger2Canyon Challenge, one of the Old Mutual Wild Series events.

The two-day trail run covers a tough 70km course and gives runners the unique opportunity to run through the Blyde River Canyon and the Blue Canyon Conservancy.

“It has been publicised as the most beautiful trail run in this country, so I want to go and see for myself,” Vilane says.

The adventurer has become a familiar figure at Old Mutual Wild Series events, and cites several reasons: “The first is that they are challenging, and I love physical challenges that test my ability as well as my preparedness. Secondly, the Wild Series events are special and give one the opportunity to experience some of the wildest parts of our country. And thirdly, they give you the chance to share the adventure with other like-minded people.”

Vilane summited Mount Everest in 2003 and again with Sir Ranulph Fiennes in 2005, becoming the first black African to climb the world’s highest peak twice. In late 2007 he and fellow adventurer Alex Harris trekked unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole, becoming the first South Africans to do so.

Will he be racing the Kruger2Canyon Challenge or taking time to enjoy the surroundings and watch the wild game? “It has to be a bit of both for me. For me it is about being there and enjoying every moment of it. So I will use all my senses to enjoy the run. I’ll race while enjoying the scenery,” he says.

Somebody who will be going all out for first place is Wandisile Nongodlwana, who is tackling Kruger2Canyon for the first time after having twice won another Old Mutual Wild Series event, the Golden Gate Challenge.

“I would love to win it,” says Nongodlwana. “Running a multi-day trail run is challenging. I have to pace myself properly throughout.”

The Kruger2Canyon Challenge supports the local NGO for the area, the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Project. “If the biosphere is conserved, then the animals and plants that depend on it will also be conserved,” Race Director Andrew Booth explains.

Vilane is a vocal supporter of the environmental objectives: “I love our environment and I love nature and conservation. To be able to run in South Africa’s wildest and most pristine places makes it worth being there,” he says. “It’s motivating to know that if we look after the environment, then we will still be able to enjoy it in the future.”

Old Mutual Head of Brand Karen Thomas says the environmental aspect is central to the organisation’s sponsorship of the Wild Series. “As Sibusiso says, it is important to take a long view and think about the generations to come.”

Wildlands’ forward thinking dovetails with Old Mutual’s long-term business philosophy and its responsible approach to environmental management. “We are proud to partner Wildlands and we fully support its commitment to safeguarding the future of our natural world,” says Thomas.

14 Injured in collision between truck and taxi on Main Reef Road

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Two people are in a critical condition and twelve other people have sustained moderate to minor injuries after a taxi collided with a truck on Main Reef Road  and corner Granville Avenue in Roodepoort.

Various emergency services are on scene stabilising those injured.

We would like to advise motorists to avoid using this road, there is still one person trapped inside the taxi, Netcare911 paramedics and various other services are using the jaws of life to free the person, we can confirm that the trapped person is in a critical condition.

Motorists are advised to use alternative routes because paramedics are working tirelessly and they have to be very careful at this stage while trying to free the injured person.

All injured are being transported to various hospitals in the area for further medical care.

This accident happened this evening at about 17h05.

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