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The South African automotive landscape in 15 memes


South Africa is unique, I know that we hear it often but we really are a special nation. We have been a cultural melting pot for far longer than other destinations around the globe, which means that we are diverse, which at times unites us and at times, causes tension . Despite our differences, there are a few things that unite us, namely sport, the hatred of the Etoll system and of course, our passion for cars. Here are fifteen memes that I think describe South Africa and our love affair with four wheels.

1. We tend to not respect following distances- Ask any Johannesburg resident, for example, if they would leave a three car gap between their vehicle and the driver in front of them . The answer would be no, because three taxis and an enraged executive that's late for a meeting would squeeze in front of them.

2. We love bakkies- We are a nation obsessed with bakkies, they are by quite a big margin, the most popular vehicle type in our rainbow nation.

3. We are conservative- Our vehicle buying habits are quite predictable, with many consumers sticking to what they know. Every now and again a trusted brand, like Toyota, take a gamble with a well-known product, which tests our loyalty, but untimately proves that we trust certain brands.

4. Put a GTI badge on it and we will buy it- Any performance VW is gold in South AFrica, we love our GTI and R models, as is evident in the sales figures.

5.We dislike it when our government ruins car pricing- Whenever a politician or some sort of political scandal hits the news, the Rand devalues and we pay more for food, fuel and new cars.

6. We are obsessed with performance cars- Despite having one of the worst unemployment rates on the planet, South Africa is often in the top five largest markets for performance cars globally.

7. There are many teenagers with hyper hatches- I see this every day, another rich family giving their teenage child a fast car, like a Mercedes-AMG  A45, a VW Golf R, a BMW M140i or an Audi RS3 for example. Now all of these are magnificent and seriously quick, but I feel, are too rapid as a first vehicle.

8. We have embraced turbocharging- It has taken a while but the local automotive scene has seen a substantial increase in the sale of turbocharged cars, mostly because the major brands have gone the downsizing route.

9. The government doesn't support hybrids- Many people would very likely buy a hybrid locally, if the government provided some sort of incentive programme, like in Europe.

10. We spend a lot of money on cars- I know many people, and I am told that this is common, who, between a family ranging from two to four members have vehicles that when combined,  are worth more than the house in which they live.

11.We spend money on cars, not on maintaining them- I have seen many performance car owners who want the performance but will not maintain the vehicle, by not replacing tyres, using cheaper fuel, not replacing brake pads, having bad panel beating done and skipping services when the vehicle is out of service plan.

12.We buy too many white cars- I am guilty of it, I have had four white cars and it seems to be a common thing. It is apparently to ensure good resale value but I just see too many these days.

13.We have 4x4 vehicles and never use the system- Many of us buy vehicles with 4x4 or even all-wheel drive and end up only using it to mount pavements at the local shopping centre. One could also make an argument stating that the owner then has the technology at hand, should he/she want to use it, which is fair enough.

14. We like performance SUVs- I am guility of this one too, I enjoy a fast wagon or SUV. It's the idea of something so hefty getting along the road quickly that appeals to me.

15. We have a go at taxi drivers- Taxi drivers in South Africa are always a bit of a sore topic for local commuters, they seem to have their own rules, which often irritates us. This usually gets the blood pressure up and the cortisol levels through the roof, all for the taxi to carry on as if nothing happened.



Article written by Sean Nurse
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