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CAR magazine, in association with FNB Vehicle Finance, announced its annual best buys and automotive achievements awards

FEBRUARY, 26, 2010

Last year was a low-point in the South African motor industry’s history with total new vehicle sales failing to pass 400 000 units, a previous low achieved in 2003. A couple of years ago pundits were anticipating one million sales but the global economic downturn broke that dream with a start. Local manufacturers and importers were forced to become leaner and meaner in their operation in order to survive, and revitalise their model line-ups. Fortunately, the fittest have survived, although some Chinese brands have come and gone almost without trace. We have yet to feel the impact of Eskom’s tariff increases, the soccer World Cup and the new fuel tax, but early indications are that the industry is up for the challenge ahead and some positive growth is forecasted by the end of the year.  

The economic crisis is afflicting most countries around the world, and the global motor industry is one of the worst hit by the recession. For South African operations it is a double-edged sword: much needed export business for manufacturers has declined dramatically, and the local market is suffering from drastically falling sales caused by continual price increases combined with less disposable income and tighter credit availability. The extra tax levied on fuel also contributes to the depressed market scenario.  

But despite the tough marketing conditions, the South African motorist remains spoilt for choice – credit availability notwithstanding – and CAR’s Top 12 Best Buys awards continues to play a significant role in advising the public on making wise vehicle-buying decisions. The Top 12 winners are chosen by the combined highly respected and experienced editorial team of CAR. Using the team’s long-established “four Ps” voting criteria of package, price, performance and personality, the panel determines a winner in each of 12 categories that represent the major segments of the South African passenger vehicle market. This year, only four vehicles managed to hold on to their positions. With over 1 400 vehicles available, making the right purchasing decision is becoming increasingly difficult , and the Top 12 programme is aimed at highlighting the best value for money buys in each of the categories.

Best Executive Saloon – Jaguar XF
Spearheading Jaguar’s turnaround of image and models, the XF manages to hold off some interesting rivals to retain top spot in this category. XF exudes refinement and character, backed with top-notch dynamics.

Best SUV – Land Rover Discovery 4

Off-roading made very easy. Bristling with technology and innovation, not to mention sheer capability, the latest Discovery is as good a go-anywhere vehicle as anyone could reasonably wish for. Classy and comfortable, too.

Achievement and excellence in the industry
New Car Design of the Year – Jaguar XJ
… a dramatic new slant on grand saloons from an established luxury automaker.The full Top12 Best Buys – including runners-up – and The CAR Awards in association with FNB Vehicle Finance, are presented in the March 2010 issue of CAR magazine

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