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Workers in Ghana bring car back to life

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Wrecked cars litter a neighborhood of Accra, capital of Ghana.

Any mumble – the local work for crash damage – can be stretched, hammered, straightened, cut away, molded, welded, ground, filled and sprayed. A special media report on the Internet reports from Ghana about local people’s efforts t recycle damaged cars. Call it recycling, call it ingenuity. Even if the passengers couldn’t be saved, the car always can be. “Whatever happens to the car, we’ll be able to do it,” says Foley, 50, a veteran “straightener.”

The Odawna neighborhood where the motor repairmen work looks like a giant graveyard for cars, stretching as far as the eye can see. Ancient, crumpled autos – lights smashed, paint rusted, bumpers falling off, tires flat – are crammed together waiting for attention like a mob of patient cows.

Foley’s shop consists of a shed and a bunch of guys with hammers and chisels, some welding equipment and a couple of power tools.

One glance at the hopelessly broken cars and the buys with hammers, and the whole venture looks wildly optimistic.

But the sprawling neighborhood of the Ghanaian capital, Accra, teems with industry and purpose. Somewhere, a relentless tinny hammering rises. Shrieks of grinding metal shatter the air.

A curlicue of acrid smoke spirals lazily as a worker melts a plastic Japanese bumper using a heated chisel, smoothing the surface as carefully as a mother frosting a birthday cake.
In the paint shop next to Foley’s shed, a worker painstakingly covers the window and trim of a 20-years-old car with paper and tape. He has given the hood a shiny glaze of garish orange.

“There’s no car we can’t fix,” says Buckman, 58, who’s been in the business 35 years and has trained so many apprentices he’s lost count. After fixing the damage he “sparks” the engine, or starts it up. “I like the job. That’s the reason way I wake up early and come here to work on cars. When the engine gets spoiled, we dismantle it and fix it and put it together. When we spark it, I like that I have done a good hob.

With his round face, permanent smile and protruding belly, Foley says he’s a happy man.
Stumble into his yard and you find him lying next to a car with a welding torch in his hand. He leaps to his feet and drops everything to welcome a visitor.

Toyota to Make South African Subsidiary Wholly Owned

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced today that it has reached an agreement with its joint venture partner in South Africa, Wesco Investments Ltd. (Wesco), under which its local affiliate, Toyota South Africa (Pty) Ltd. (TSA), will become a wholly owned TMC subsidiary.  Under the agreement, TMC is to acquire Wesco’s 25% share in TSA in late August 2008.

By making TSA a wholly owned subsidiary, TMC will put in place a structure better allowing it to strongly drive forward its South African production, sales, and export activities, as TSA is a holding company for Toyota South Africa Motors (Pty) Ltd. (TSAM), the local entity responsible for TMC’s South African production and sales.

TSAM, which has maintained the leading market share in South Africa since 1980, sold 153,000 units there last year and currently holds a market share of 22.6%.  As a base in TMC’s global production and supply system, TSAM began exporting the “Hilux” and “Fortuner” models to other countries in Africa and to Europe in 2005, and launched exports of the “Corolla” sedan to other countries in Africa in October 2007 and to Europe in February 2008.

TMC intends to continue to further enhance its production, sales, and export activities in Africa.


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Dealer team Nissan 350Z second in race one and first overall for the day

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

It was a day of ups and downs for Nissan Motorsport on Saturday with disappointment in qualifying and race one offset to some extent by a podium finish in race two. The Nissan Dealer Team had another good day with a second and a fourth in the day’s two Kyalami races.

Leeroy Poulter qualified second on Friday despite only completing one timed lap before an over-zealous marshal insisted on doing a sound check on the Nissan, preventing the 2006 champion from completing any more laps. He crashed in Saturday’s warm-up, managing to spin the car backwards into a tyre wall when a brake caliper bolt broke.

Hard work by his pit crew saw the car ready for race one, but the unfortunate Poulter then pulled off the circuit after the Esses on the warm-up lap when the engine cut out. The battery had become dislodged in the morning’s warm-up accident and by the time Poulter had identified and fixed the problem he was already a lap in arrears. He pitted during a safety car period for fresh tyres and eventually finished 11th, but with the consolation of scoring a championship point for fastest lap of the race.

“I was pretty sure I could have got pole position on Friday after our good showing in the three official practice sessions,” said Poulter. “We didn’t have much luck this weekend, but I have to thank my team for getting my car ready for the first race after this morning’s crash.”

Team-mate Tschops Sipuka also endured a hard day at the office. He struggled with the set-up of his car all weekend and was disappointed with ninth place in race one after starting from the pit lane (a penalty imposed for his clash in the previous round in East London). “I had a lot of understeer and the car just wasn’t as good as it was in EL,” said Sipuka.

Marco da Cunha who drove the Nissan Dealer Team’s two Tubular-backed 350Zs had a good day, qualifying third on Friday (his best result of the season so far) and finished second in race one. He was in the points again in race two, scoring a well-earned fourth from seventh on the grid. This gave him and his team a memorable first overall for the day.

Source:Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

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MMC provides i MiEV electric vehicles for use at G8 Summit

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced that it would provide 10 i MiEV*1 electric vehicles for official use at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. The electric vehicles will be used as transport for visiting world leaders and members of the media. Additionally, the vehicles will comprise one part of an on-site display*2 and test drive.
MMC hopes that through its small contribution, attendees of the G8 Summit will find a new appreciation for the superior practicality and environmental viability of electric vehicles.

i MiEV

MMC will bring the i MiEV electric vehicle to market next year (2009) in Japan, as part of its plan to help reduce global warming and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The i MiEV is based on the ” i ” minicar, and utilizes a large-capacity lithium-ion battery and a compact, high-output electric motor in place of the traditional powertrain.
At present, MMC is conducting fleet tests in cooperation with several domestic electric power companies, in order to make electric vehicles a common sight on Japan’s roads as soon as possible. Plans are also under way to begin fleet testing of the i MiEV at more than one U.S. power company as early as this fall. Data about the effects of local climate and driving preferences, gathered in the aforementioned tests, will allow MMC to make meaningful progress toward bringing the i MiEV to market.

Source: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

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Kenya plans to amend tax on second hand cars

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

In a move aimed at making cars affordable, Kenya is expected to amend a budget proposal to impose a 20 per cent excise duty on imported used motor vehicle spare parts.

To discourage the importation of second hand motor cars in Kenya and to energize the local car and spare parts assembly firms, Finance minister Amos Kimunya imposed a 20 per cent excise duty on all imported second hand spare in the June budget.

The Government of Kenya aiming to collect huge amount of tax from the Imported spare parts as more Kenyans use second hand motor vehicles.

According to the Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (KABA)-the umbrella organization of second hand car dealers- a total of 42,000 imported second hand cars were registered in Kenya in 2006 compared to 10,000 new units.