Archive for November, 2007

Smaller Engines for Fuel Economy

November 27, 2007

With the rise in crude oil pricing in Africa, vehicle dealers have considered boosting fuel economy as a core motor vehicle selling point. Local consumers are then offered with options to shift in car choice. Motor vehicle dealers recommend the consumers to take smaller engines and low fuel consuming cars that can help them beat the high pump prices.

Since the beginning of the year, petroleum price rose by about Sh15 to stand at an average of Sh83 per liter of premium petrol in Nairobi. This fact has made Cooper Motor Corporation (CMC) tap into the market segment with its Volkswagen Polo 1.2, which has been introduced in Kenya last June.

According to Volkswagen Sales Manager George Ngatiri, “Many motorists are now looking for ways of lowering running costs and affordability and this is what the Polo offers.”

The vehicles that are brought to the market come in different models and are priced differently.

About four months ago, CMC has added a new player into the market – the Maruti Suzuki Swift. It is a 1.3 L engine that sold six units in the past two months.

However, dealers said, the increasing petroleum price is yet to impact on the sale of big cars, which turns out to be the favorite of many buyers.

With steady sales of top range Land Rover and Range Rover, Ngatiri said, “Those who buy the Land Rover are mainly looking for reliability.”

Josephine Wahome, the marketing manager at DT Dobie (the marketers of Mercedes Benz and Nissan range of vehicles), said that the demands for All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) or four-wheel-drives (4WD) have fallen because of the changing lifestyles and the state of roads in the country. She said, “Young families are more outgoing, adventurous and want a car that can endure the rough roads.”

DT Dobie is planning to introduce four models of Nissan’s AWD range next year. It is part of the effort to tighten the company’s grip on the market segment. Wahome said, “As cars become more electronic than mechanical, gains are being made on fuel economy… Car makers have invented new technology such as electronic fuel injection that regulates the mixture of air and fuel to optimize the fuel combustion.”

To support fuel economy, changes were made on materials used in the creation of cars. Some used light weight aluminum alloy in minimizing energy loss via heat. Wahome said that Nissan Tiida is an example of a car that has been equipped with an engine made of such material.

Car designers have also considered turning to curvy shapes, which are proven to be more aero dynamic, to reduce air resistance. However, Ngatiri said that smaller engines are poised to be the main drivers of market growth in the next few years. He said, “About 60 per cent of the population is under 25 years and they will want cars they can afford.”

Toyota East Africa also joined the race for market control. It has planned to introduce the 1300cc, 1000cc and 800cc engines of the Toyota Vitz, which will compete with CMC’s Maruti Suzuki’s Swift and Volkswagen Polo 1.2. Toyota Sales Executive James Theuri said, “People want cars with good fuel consumption and can be squeezed in a small parking space.”

A good thing here is that they have the same goal, which is to provide the customers what they need – fuel economy, in times like this that gas prices keeps on surging.


Police shares Tips to combat Car Break-ins

November 16, 2007

Since break-in cases in New Braufels are growing, law enforcement officials have taken the initiative to provide the people with few simple precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim.

According to New Braunfels Police Chief Ron Everett, “Lock that car, take all the property out and if you do leave something inside, keep it locked in the trunk.” This “lock, take or hide” philosophy is acknowledged as a strategy for drivers to combat auto break-ins, one of the most common crimes committed around the country.

Reports revealed 112 cases of cars being broken into in the city for the past two months. Though statistics regarding break-ins before September 13 were not available, Everett said that the number of cases is higher than normal. He said, “The number seems to be increasing from the past… We’re continuing to watch that trend and analyze information that will assist us in apprehending suspects and preventing the offenses.”

Everett said that police have made 10 arrests for auto break-ins this year. In some cases, the suspects were charged with either felony theft or engaging in organized criminal activity.

Everett has mentioned that the police have been using various techniques to prevent such crimes. Among included are undercover officers, bike patrols and standard patrol cars. To ensure safe parking lots at events like the Comal County Fair, Wurstfest and high school football games, the police randomly used the undercover officers and bike patrols.

Based on, here are some safety tips to help you prevent car break-ins:

  • Remove visible items from your vehicle.
  • Always roll up windows and lock the vehicle, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Park your car in high-traffic and well-lighted areas.
  • Don’t leave personal identification documents or credit cards inside your vehicle.
  • Have a copy of your license plate and vehicle identification numbers available should your car get stolen.

Everett said, “Auto break-ins are often a crime of opportunity… Criminals are often looking for something quick and simple.”

MapmyIndia In-car GPS Navigation Device launched in India

November 8, 2007

Recently, MapmyIndia has launched an in-car GPS navigation system and mentioned that it was in talks with premium car makers for built-in offerings.

The MapmyIndia in-car Navigator is a smart and sleek portable gadget that uses satellites to determine the current location of the user. It will be providing voice and visual map guidance that will cover 55,000 towns and villages across India, connected by national and state highways and important landmarks within 150 cities. It will also offer complete coverage of streets, localities and points of interest in 18 cities.

CE Info Systems Managing Director Rakesh Verma said, “In countries like India, where roads either don’t have names, or road signs are not clearly marked, following directions based on road names or traditional methods can be frustrating experience. With GPS technology and accurate MapmyIndia maps telling you exactly where to take your next turn, unnamed roads or unclear road signs are no longer an issue.”

Here is a list of the MapmyIndia GPS Device’s salient features:

  • Real-time, turn-by-turn map and voice guidance to your destination
  • Keeps you informed where you are and which direction you are headed
  • Distance and estimated time to next turn and final destination
  • Quick search to find and navigate to urgent points of interest along the way or near your destination
  • Instant auto re-routing in case you miss a turn, blocked roads or if you choose to follow an alternate road
  • Detours to avoid specific roads
  • Address book to store your favorite destinations (home, office etc.)
  • Create and save multi-stop trips, and off-road nature trails
  • Movies, music, games and photos on 3.5” color touch-screen
  • Lightweight and pocketable

The device will be available in two hardware models: Delhi Nav 200 and AMAX. Both models will have built-in GPS (SirfStar III), a 3.5-inch color touch screen and additional multimedia features to play movies, music, photos and games. Both will also run on Samsung 400 MHz processor. Pricing with be Rs 21,000 in Delhi and Rs 22,000 outside the city. You can have it on several car accessory and consumer electronics dealers in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. It will also be available online through Indiatimes and FutureBazaar.

In the product launching, Rakesh Verma said, “We are talking to premium care makers for providing the navigator services and some development on that front is expected soon.” He also said that the company will be expanding its portfolio through launching new map offerings for mobile phones and internet within this month.

At present, the company is importing equipments from China. And, prices are expected to drop once demand picks up.

According to CE Info Systems Director Rohan Verma, the company is also planning to provide real-time traffic information and services in Hindi and other regional languages. He also mentioned that the company will be partnering with leading hardware manufacturers and consumer brands to pre-load the navigator software and map a host of handsets and navigation devices.

Currently, MapmyIndia has digital map data for India that covers all 6 lakh villages and 5,000 cities and towns to support that programs and products.