The Lies is in Truth

They are all in league.

Deception is everywhere and phonies are scattered all over the land. Maybe the biblical doomsday is near. Till then, one should be very cautious therefore in decision making and transactions. As this practice is conversant in every other field, it is in automobile industry to stay. Though most of the auto dealers are honest, not all religious leaders are to be trusted, understand?

Challenge honesty and integrity, a survey has shown that the auto industry is riddled with liars and crooks. You know, if you could define politicians, telemarketers and insurance agents (talking of the insurance agents too, is an issue next week), you can find a matching platform to put the auto dealers. They are all in league.

Although names would not be mentioned, I would try as much as possible to get you informed of their shady practices for you to recognize the feel of the devil’s touch, even in the dark.

Marketing is almost always anchored on deception, which is an activity most people identify with a grain of salt. According to them, life is a sales game and to win it over, every strategy must be deployed – whether it is good, tolerable or awful. Several profit oriented companies make profits by promoting their products and services as better than their rivals, regardless of their truthfulness.

According to an analyst, dealership owners usually keep these eccentric salespersons because they are usually seated atop the sales charts. Although reputation is one significant thing, as they say, business is business. And unless the situation would generate a legal action, most businessmen will not avoid a goose that lays golden eggs.

Among the most common sins include price topping, which involves an agreement between the salesman and a purchaser on a particular price. Afterwards, he tops the final bills with additional hundreds of naira by including finance charges to a few more naira per month than what is required. And bill-padder or the excessive labour fees in regard to pre-delivery work like those involving audio system upgrades, larger wheels, and other options. This is easily disguised by adding several folds of naira per month to the final charge. They also engage in what I term language play which involves the use of grammar and technical languages to aggravate the importance of the product, and before you realize the harm that’s done, you’ve started nodding in agreement. They are all lies.

Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Ltd

Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Ltd

Despite Chief Michael Ade Ojo, Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Ltd philosophical exposition on the fact that criminality does not sell car, the industry still has its slice of shady characters, same with other industries. However, various industries are swarmed by different types of people – people of character, integrity, faith and those belonging to the d-doers.

According to some dealers, it is quite unfair to dub them all as liars, crooks, or fraudulent doers when they are engaged in honest businesses. They added that selling cars is a great way of earning honest income. “Profit,” said an auto dealer, “is not an option, but an objective in any business and that holds true in my industry. It is as fair for an auto dealership and an auto salesperson to make a profit as it is fair to make a profit in any other form of business. There are good people in the auto industry and I am one of them!”

Anyway, regardless of what I think, at the end of all these, you still get the car you always wanted. And that is the truth.

Das Auto ist Wunderbar!

In a collection of many toys, there is always a preference of one to others; BMW Z4 is simply a cynosure of the eyes. Simple definition, no more, no less!

The rascality of BMW designers always reinforces the belief that das Auto, manufacturers never disappoint, yet you keep guessing what the next surprise would be. The magnificent design of the new 2009 Z4 will definitely hasten the production of the 24th edition of the James Bond film. A look at the extra-ordinary beauty actually explains more why the film maker worked out a product placement deal with the manufacturers which started with Z3, Golden Eye in 1995; 750iL, Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 and the Z8’s inclusion in The World is not Enough.

Unlike the previous soft-top models, 2009 BMW Z4 convertible comes with a more refined (and better looking) retractable hard-top that lowers in 20 seconds. And wondering what this means for a potential Z4 coupe, I think the new Z4 has eliminated the need for one. Driving with the roof down, this two-seater offers a refreshingly intense experience of the sunshine and the wind rushing by, and driving with the hardtop closed, it provides all the comfort of a sporting coupe in the premium segment. Combining elegance, agility and supreme comfort, this outstanding two-seater offers a light weight two-piece aluminum shells, which rest in the roof compartment, saving maximum space in the process.

With a trunk capacity variation from 180 to 310 litres, you definitely can’t complain of space inadequacy, while a pass-through hatch between the seats allows for the storage of enough surprises to make her love you till the end, when you finally decide to send that proposal in a Be-My-Wife style.

Not only is precision gone into the making of the fine line darling, the choice of engine for the converty houses the reigning International Engine of the Year and range topping, twin-turbo 3.0-litre in line-six, which has its history rooted in the BMW lineage. The twin-turbo I6 replaces the 3.0 litre in the outgoing car and is featured in the Z4 sDrive35i model. With a rotational compelling force of 295lb-ft and mechanical horsepower equated braking of 306bhp, the sDrive35i eats the miles in one hour at the rate of 62mph topping in 5.2seconds with the manual transmission car and 5.1 seconds with the fantastic 7-speed Dual-Clutch transmission equipped Z4; are you Being My Wife?!

Other engine choices include the non-turbocharged 3.0-litre in the sDrive30i and the 2.5-litre in the sDrive23i with 258 bhp and 204 bhp respectively.

More evolutionary in design, the new-Z4 lines are taught and much more refined without forgetting to carry out enough design language from the new 2009 7-Series, you definitely can’t call it a bastard!

Remember, if you forget to own any particular brand of car, never die without using a BMWagen. Short of words to describe this beauty, I didn’t know when I shouted Das Auto ist Wunderbar! That is, wonderful; speaking German with intuition.

Nobody wants to change the winning team

Emmanuel Anyanwu

Emmanuel Anyanwu

Hyra Motors introduced and markets the now popular Geely and Brilliance car brands in Nigerian auto market. In this chat with ol’VICTOR OJELABI, Mr. Emmanuel Anyanwu, the company’s sales/marketing manager, presented an expository overview of the world of Asian made vehicles.

How many years have you been working for Hyra Motors as sales/marketing manager?

I’ve been with Hyra Motors for quite a while. Thank God, Hyra Motors has been around for three years. A company which was duly registered on 13th April 2006, and putting that into consideration, within a short period of time, we’ve witnessed tremendous progress.

As a marketing manager, what has been your greatest challenge since you joined the company?

Well, the biggest challenge has been how to develop a marketing campaign, especially changing the mind-set or perception of the average Nigerians towards the Chinese automobiles. It has not been easy, going by the history and heritage of Asian cars. Most people, of course, know that before now anything out of China was probably not the best. But I can say now that in the Nigerian automobile industry, the Chinese have done well. Given the antecedent, they have just been around for less than a decade in comparison to brands that have been here for quite longer. So I had a serious challenge of building awareness for the brand I represent, that is, Geely and Brilliance Autos. It took a lot of strategic planning to reposition ourselves to, at least, win the confidence of the average Nigerian buyer.

In the last two years, what manoeuvre as a sales/marketing manager has led to your greatest achievement?

Eh, I give all the glory to God who makes man what he is. Well, one particular act that I consider my greatest achievement is my resolution from day one not to give up on Chinese brands. And since I’ve decided not to give up, then I can look back and say thank God for the resilience, the steadfastness and focus. That is the most striking achievement, the fact that I didn’t give up on the Chinese brands.

How have the sales of your brands been like?

In fairness to you, what we’ve achieved less than three years, is probably what someone else has done in five to 10 years with the popular brands. And for this, I don’t want to take credit for it, but to God. We put up many strategies, but victory came from the Almighty. Permit me to be a bit spiritual because that is the ultimate. You know, sometimes you can plan so well, but it is still only God that gives you the grace to succeed. If we compare our stand, I mean in this our gestation period to what was obtainable by most popular brands, I think we’ve done very well.

We have something that most people are becoming very used to, which is the way we deal with them, taking care of their vehicles in terms of maintenance and any other necessary repairs.

In essence, you are saying that facilities like after-sales service attract or help increase your sales volume?

Three things are responsible for the growth of our sales volume, one is the fact that we are appropriately priced. We have offerings that are competitive in price for its range in its category, I can beat my chest to say they are about the most affordable four door salon cars in Nigeria. But that is not the key reason why we’re experiencing growth in sales. I also mentioned the fact that our after sales services are the best; no wonder, we were declared the best new automobile company in year 2007/2008. Of course, there is this other part of us that is becoming the toast of everybody. The parts of our vehicles are just the most affordable. You see, three things make a very good auto deal: performance, after sales service and affordable price. If you can’t buy the car, there is no point thinking about the pleasure you cannot afford.

What about durability?

Durability is all about performance. It is all encompassing. Performance in terms of the car performing below specification, if a car could do XYZ, that is, talking about the basic features. And of course, we look at the fact that this car has been on the road for three years without anybody complaining. Now, I know of some brands, I would not mention their names, which came into this country that couldn’t survive two years. I remember people telling us that in less than a year, all your cars would be off the road. As I speak, our cars have been on the road for much longer.

Aside from Geely and Brilliance, what other brands are in the company’s portfolio?

For now, we deal only in Geely and Brilliance, talking about the saloon cars. But we also have in the pipeline other brands we would be showcasing very soon. These are all other categories of vehicles…

Can you be more specific?

Yes, we are looking at some other categories like truck, saloon cars, and any other category that would attract you to us.

And don’t you think the commitment in trying to sell the Geely and Brilliance would wane, if you digress into selling all these categories you mentioned?

No. You see, Geely and Brilliance having done so well, we would leverage on our expertise. We look at the human resource angle to our business. We have gotten the best hands, satisfying the maxim of the right people in the right place. We also have the will and the determination to move the industry forward. We aren’t just in the business to make profit, we are in the business to add value to basic operations as far as the marketing of automobile is concerned. And that is why we are already in some other West African countries. Our ultimate objective is not just to sell cars, we want to deploy the expertise in technology of those who have been in this thing for decades.

Despite the good looks of Geely and the claims of your marketing department, some users still complain about the durability of some interior components like the door knobs and fragile backrest. What is your take on this?

Well, I am very surprised to hear these because these are not complaints that I’ve documented. If customers do complain, I document it, I don’t know how this complaint came about and where. But between you and I, what we are realistically aware of in terms of customers’ complaints, is that if they travel out of Lagos, they weren’t sure if they would get an outlet to service their vehicle. And we quickly put up more service centres to cater for this. But for the door knob and the rest, I stand to be corrected, there has never been any record on those. No Geely door knob has fallen off and no headrest as dangled as you said. We are in Nigeria where anything is possible, people say all sorts of things because they don’t want competitors.

Okay, all said and done, let’s talk about the new bride, Geely CK2. What makes it worth the noise?

Well, Geely as a brand is worth the noise. And for the new Geely CK2, it gives us joy to have in the stable another version. CK2 1.3GL is an improvement on the former CK 1, which is our fastest selling model because it meets the requirement of an average Nigerian. Bearing in mind the purchasing power, the new Geely is just some few thousand naira above the CK 1. Then, looking at the structural improvement, there are lots of changes. When you look at the interior of the car, the quality of the materials that have been used is much better than what it used to be. The fabric used is easier to clean, while the body boasts of impact repelling material. The CK 2 comes with a lot of things which take the car to the level we can say it is satisfactory.

What is your market projection for the car?

We are looking at over 200 per cent growth in volume because as we speak, the orders we have on ground is about 90 per cent before the final unveiling.

And what do you think is responsible for that?

Actually, as I told you, when you give people what they want, they always want to say ‘thank you’ by being dedicated to the brand. We’ve won the confidence of the average Nigerian users. We’ve represented ourselves very well in giving cars that have performed well, that are durable, the parts are affordable. What else do you expect the man to do but to commend you as far as automobile is concerned. So they are saying, ‘hey! Hyra Motors, we stick to you,’ because the troubles they’ve gone through in the past, Hyra Motors has been able to fill that gap. Nobody wants to change the winning team.

How many cars did Geely sell globally in 2008, and what fraction of it accrued to Hyra in Nigeria?

At this point, it’s like somebody is asking how much profit you made last year. Anyway, Geely has done very well. From the Far East to core Asia, to Europe and Africa, Geely has been able to do well over 45,000 units. And then you see, for us in Nigeria, we are proud to say our contribution to that is commendable compared to the chance we have.

How do you intend establishing dominance of your brands in luxury sport car segment?

The main thing is that we are not driven by passion that is not traceable to reality, but one that is traceable to reality. We would always try not to be left behind in the technology advancement of our auto industry.

Will you allow Nigerian reviewers to test drive your cars?

Sure, we do. In fact, a team of journalists left my office a while ago, and they were here to test drive one of our new models. Well, I believe it is necessary to establish all the parameters, whether it is on emission or transmission. Due to the bad state of most Nigerian roads, whatever facts that might have been recorded for any vehicle, will definitely be attacked by the Nigerian context, which necessitates the need for Nigerian auto journalists to test drive.

What is the company’s corporate service to your customers for the support given over time?

We’ve shown tremendous appreciation to customers in the area of sponsorship by taking part in what they do.

As a dealer and user, what are the challenges one faces in the process of owning a car in this country?

Well, it is very unfortunate that the major challenge people face is that of finance. Now that people desire brand new cars, their paycheck is not brand new. But we have a stop gap measure which is not tailored to satisfy individuals, because you have to be very careful not to incur bad debt. It is called the Hyra Auto Leasing Facility for corporate bodies. We allow them to make down payment of 40 per cent on the value of any car they want, then we spread the balance over six months. This facility is currently being enjoyed by corporate bodies that don’t want to tie their cash from the acquisition of their cars.

And the result?

It has paid off. More orders are coming in, although we have to screen them. All you need is to present a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, guaranteed from your directors and some other arrangements. The main thing is that at the end of the day, with the presentation of your post dated cheques, you get your facility.

Licensed to Kill!

Review of Ford Edge Crossover

When James Bond, Quantum of Solace, was to pay the crook the full nemesis of his deeds, although he refused to exercise the full extent of his power, which is to kill and be happy, Bond merely decided to abandon him in the desert. Not too kind, you may say. One thing, however, that caught my attention in the movie was the four-legged machine from which the crook was dragged before the final judgment was bestowed on him. The getaway vehicle’s name in the flick is Edge, Ford Edge!

The Edge is available in three trims: SE and SEL plus the new-for-2008 Limited, which replaces last year’s SEL Plus. It’s available in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. All have a 265-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 3500lb. The Edge comes packed with safety measures with the availability of ABS, traction control, anti-skid system, front side air-bags, and curtain side air-bags.

There are things one takes for granted when watching movies, and interesting ones at that. One of such things is the brand of vehicle commissioned as prop. The Ford Edge, aside from the advertorial advantage, was used in the Bond film to display to prospective owners, the stability of its crossover off-road features. The Ford Edge ranks in the middle of its class for performance, with featured comfortable ride and good acceleration, although some reviewers find the brakes disappointing.

The cabin area, to some extent, catches attention, with electronic climate and audio records, a helpful information screen, and lots of trays, nooks and storage pockets, compensating adequately even for a mother-driver, who needs not fear because the vehicle exhibits kid-friendly factors, with a roomy back seat which includes cup-holders and a reading light. What could mummy possibly still ask for!

The reliability score of the Edge is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from an authority company in automobile studies, specifically, the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS).

The Ford Crossover, having been applauded for its safety ratings, pleasing design, comfortable cabin and solid performance, regardless of the angle through which it is previewed, the machine is always looking studded and satisfying. Boasting of getting-it-all, with the awards the vehicle got from being named the ‘Best Cars for Families’ by Parent magazine, ‘Urban Truck of the Year’ award from Wheels, Inc, top-ten finisher in Motor Trend’s ‘Sport/Utility of the Year’ testing is considered, you’re confident of getting double-value for your money. The Ford family, as if the aforementioned are not enough, still goes the extra mile to ensure that a head-turner known for beauty, being sporty, safety and fun, to earn the name of Igwe by Nigerian users. And looking at the track record of the Ford Motors, less cannot be expected.

Although Ford products, compared to its rivals, are quite affordable, yet, you have to be prudent in adding options. And it is no surprise because Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and father of modern assembly lines, was credited with Fordism, that is, the mass production of large numbers of inexpensive automobiles using the assembly line, coupled with high wages of his workers.

With this year’s model offering new features, including a power lift-gate and Ford’s Sync hands-free infotainment system, Ford Edge is definitely a womanizer. Either supermarket parking lots, at street corners, on freeways, people can’t help but stare at Ford’s flashy new mid-size crossover vehicle. So if to cap it all, I call it James Bond, then I couldn’t be far from the truth, but then it is not licensed to kill, but rather, to impress.

2008 Mondeo: The Body of Desire

A big occurrence could not just be considered as a passing moment; when an elephant passes by, all must stand at attention. We are talking about cars here, but one with loud and illustrious brand representation. And even more than that, a vehicle manufacturing conglomerate that has its roots in myths and history.

Consider this. If you were to walk or drive through a shallow path of water do you know how your act would be interpreted? Simple, it is an act of fording through a river. So, it goes that a company, once upon a time, decided to construct a device not only for conquering rivers but also the mainlands, sandy or rocky terrains. The company that took on that onerous task is today known as Ford Automobiles. The company had since then earned itself the title of the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles and the world’s largest producer of trucks. In 2008, that company added a new sobriquet to its long list of distinguished brand names with the offering to the auto world of its el totalmente Nuevo otherwise known as the object of desire 2008 Mondeo 175PS 2.2litre TDCi.

Henry Ford once askd that the question, ‘Who ought to be boss?’ It’s like asking ‘Who ought to be the tenor in the quartet?’ Obviously, the man who can sing tenor! With the introduction of the multi-award winning Ford Mondeo, the automaker retains its lead as the man who sings the tenor in the automobile industry, with the sedan’s tendency to extend its premium sporty appeal. The visually exciting, stuffed with standard equipment and powered by new premium diesel or five-cylinder petrol engines, is the most desirable of all cars, at least, in present day rating.

Who knows the meaning of body-of-desire better than the Ford automaker with the vehicle carrying a tag See it one minute, want it the next. It is the power and grace of energy in motion, emphasizing complex laser-brazed surfaces and athletic, sculptural forms: from the raised shoulder line and pronounced wheel arches to the jewel-like headlamps and head-turning front grille. One glance and you are hooked!

The new 175PS 2.2litre TDCi engine is among the smoothest units of its types, combining swift, quiet acceleration of 0-62mph in 8.4seconds and a top speed of 139mph with a combined economy figure of 45.6mpg. With kilometre by kilometre discharge of 165g, the car is definitely green-friendly.

As if the automaker has the Nigerian motor way in mind during construction, the super Mondeo is well equipped with all necessities to survive the nation’s rough roads. Accidents happen, but a vehicle that danced through a crash test as Shedrack danced through the lake of fire, could be a great source of confidence. And if at all there is an impact, don’t worry; the safety measure is so complete you could challenge the Zuma rock to a bull fight. You talk about air-bags conspicuously located at every strategic corner of the machine; driver knee bolster, driver and front passenger dual stage front, front seat side and full length side-curtain. In moment of urgency, there should exist no fear of betrayal because what you are commanding is a power 4-wheel disc with Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)!

The reach/rake-adjustable leather wrapped hydraulic power-assisted steering wheel is the most interactive of all wheels in making your journey less boring. Every Mondeo comes with the next generation of Ford’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) system directly fixed with the steering wheel. The presence of radar technology, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Alert, enable you to monitor the gap with the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed to keep a safe distance and alerts of collision risk.

Putting all these into consideration before getting your next ride should make you agree with me that auto business for Ford Automobile is not just about collecting your hard earned money but more about you. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business!” Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Automobiles, once said.

Killing the proverbial Elephant

Every now and then, a journalist has a story dumped in his lap when he least expects it. For me, the official compulsion of a rider to use helmet is such a story.

Taking a critical look at the whole thing, the bye-law can be critiqued in two ways; either as another act of official hysteria that would soon pass away or a pursuit of permanent solution to the incessant head injury related deaths on motorbikes popularly called Okada.

Putting all these aside, and being happy for the time being, even if the bye-law will soon be thrown aside, I guess it is only proper to applaud the introduction of the compulsory usage of helmet for users of motorbikes for reasons I want to review here.

Comparison to a car, motorcycle is a very dangerous form of transportation, whether the rider thinks otherwise or not. In fact, it is believed in some quarters that it should be banned as a means of carriage, although some others think such action might be too extreme. Generally, those I spoke with canvassed the fact that government could make legislation to limit the excessiveness of Okada riders.

A particular study estimated that the number of deaths per mile arising from motorcycle accidents in 2006 was about 35 times the number involving cars. It’s quite alarming, those motorcycles deaths have been on the increase. The figure in 2007 actually doubled deaths recorded in 2006. Incidentally, as the death toll increases, so also the number of Okada purchased everyday. Now, this is beside the injuries consequent on Okada accidents like broken limbs, fractured skulls and spinal cords, to mention just a few.

Although, when the recent call for the compulsory use of helmets is considered, it is believed that the policy is justified, because commercial motorcyclists, with what have become their belligerent characteristics on roads, even as they find much pleasure in over-speeding and riding on the wrong side of the road anytime they feel the convenience of such law breaking act. All make them to be more prone to life threatening injuries or deaths from accident in their un-cased machine when compared to the relative security provided by a cased car.

Motorcycles are unenclosed, exposing riders to contact with hard road surfaces. And since deaths due to motorcycle accidents are associated with head injuries, the policy that enforces the use of helmet is then justified. It serves as principal counter-measure for reducing crash-related head injuries.

Several states government have made it the responsibility of government to foot medical bills of accident victims, it can be reasoned that by using helmet, which is designed to cushion and protect the head of a rider on impact with ground, the money expended on taking care of Okada accident victims can now be used in other meaningful ways.

Although, a 100 per cent protection from head injuries cannot be guaranteed with the use of the helmet just as safety belt doesn’t ensure the safety of a vehicle’s occupant in the event of an accident, it does reduce the incidences of injury. It is quite effective in preventing brain injuries, which often require extensive treatment and may result in life-long disability. According to a scientific finding, unhelmeted motorcyclists are three times more likely than helmeted riders to suffer traumatic brain damages.

However, despite all talks about helmets’ ability to protect your brain from scattering out of your skull, they still require certification of a federal body to okay the use of some particular ones. That is, even when the right motorcycle helmets are used, head injuries are much more likely with some helmets than with some. And this calls for urgent intervention by the Road Safety Commission.

The Okada riders in Kaduna recently protested the use of the helmets, either out of ignorance or they saw it as an opportunity to be recognized. Some, among other litanies of complaints across the nation, widely claimed that helmet obstructs rider’s vision, but studies show full-coverage helmets provide only minor restrictions in horizontal peripheral vision. It also found that wearing helmets restricts neither the ability to hear horn signals nor the likelihood of seeing a vehicle in an adjacent lane prior to initiating a lane change. To compensate for any restrictions in lateral vision, riders should increase their head rotation prior to a lane change. There are no differences in hearing thresholds under three helmet conditions: no helmet, partial coverage, and full coverage. The noise generated by a motorcycle is so loud that any reduction in hearing capability that may result from wearing a helmet, is inconsequential. Sound loud enough to be heard above the engine can be heard when wearing a helmet.

Another good thing about the use of helmet is the decline in motorcycle thefts, mainly because some potential thieves would not have helmets, and not wearing helmet would attract police notice. One thing is sure, with the introduction of the law, the rate of thefts would reduce drastically.

All said and done, one Yoruba (an ethnic tribe in southwestern Nigeria) maxim says that different knives are expected at the death of an elephant, this could be said of the different kinds of helmets now being exhibited on the roads. I think the riders should really be warned, because you would not imagine the kinds of eyesore of objects masquerading as helmets being displayed and forced on people to wear by Okada riders. These objects range from calabash type helmet, rugby football type helmet, military type helmet, space type helmet, knight-type helmet, and construction type safety helmet.

The standard should be either full-face motorcycle helmets like the X-11 and TZ-R, and open-faced motorcycle helmets, like the RJ Platinum R, St. Cruz, and J-Wing. Although any of these might set your pockets back at ten thousand naira (N10, 000.00).

There is no gain-saying that with the new law, high reduction in death rate by motorcyclist crash will be recorded, but then the different knives that are appearing at the death of this proverbial elephant should be regulated.

Written by ol’Victor Ojelabi

It’s no more Once Upon A Time, it’s a Sorento!

If you’ve been told a tale of how generations gone by employed the services of camels and horses, and possibly elephants as means of transportation, one should be appreciative of the natural advantages and characters of the antiquated transportation vehicles such as allowing better view, feeling of confidence for the rider as the animal structures give the seated rider a straight-spine seating outlook. However, the differentiation in the highlighted old days transport mode was their different speed. While one, the camel, has the capacity for long distance travel without rest albeit moving with measured strides, the horse on the other hand has the ability to travel at speed and strength, while the elephant exhibited route clearance ability, that is, nothing barred its movement.

Before getting green with envy and wishing why you didn’t exist in that era to have a feel of what it takes to be serviced by these mammals. Well, now, you can find solace in the fact that those once-upon-a-time qualities of riding beast of burden as means of transportation are packed into one power machine. The Sorento combines all these qualities.

Kia Motors Corporation, makers of quality vehicles for the young-at-heart, was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. And going through the company track records, it would be agreed that their reputation is well deserved. Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. This aspiration is displayed in its products, especially in the Sorento.

The mid-size SUV Kia Sorento, with a big breathing V6 heart, is truck-like in design, having a separate truck-style frame, but never forget, despite this, to maintain a civil attitude on the pavement. And you know, it’s no fable when I said the vehicle is once-upon-a-time, with the ability to drive either in rear-wheel with base, LX and EX trims, or as a four-wheel drive LX or EX trim.

The Sorento is a traditional body-on-frame SUV with a fully boxed chassis, a live-axle rear suspension, and optional four-wheel drive with a conventional two speed transfer case. All this adds up to a rugged package designed for the demands of serious off-road driving. Despite the uncomfortability of the ride, the SUV still offers good acceleration for its class.

The 3.3-liter V6 engine makes 242 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.8-liter V6 makes 262 horsepower and 260 pound-feet torques boosting its towing capacity from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds and beating some top brands to it and specifically having a close run with Ford Explorer at 5,210 pounds.

Economically, the Sorento’s larger 3.8-liter engine should net 15/21 city/highway miles per gallon respectively, while 15/22 city/highway with the 3.3-liter engine. And if it’s the speed of the then horse makes you green, Sorento is a good option. The engine has a definite throb upon hard acceleration.

The body roll around corners is minimal, overall, cornering performance is good. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and two types of four wheels are available as mentioned earlier, and the optional 4WD is well recommended for its “all-surface convenience” just as its gravel road prowess is quite satisfying. And just like horses in the once-upon-a-time scenario, the brakes offer good stopping control. But it is worthy preparing your mind to the fact that the Kia’s soft suspension displays more front-end dive and rear squat than is comfortable during harder acceleration and braking. Although the goodwill of Kia in making the wheel light to handle is well appreciated but then, it is too loose for a vehicle this quick and sporty. I think it is over assisted. But above all, Kia Sorento has a reasonable off-road capability.

The Sorento is sleek and modern without looking goofy. The mid-sized vehicle’s resemblance to an upscale SUV makes it equally adept at shuttling business clients as it is the kids and family. It also ranks in the top half of its class and earns praise for interior quality, spaciousness and an upscale feel. Its interior is tasteful and, for the most part, well-made. The five passenger cabin provides good head-room and leg-room, yet allows a fairly large cargo area behind. The gray leather seemed well-made, and the glove box and sliding sunroof door felt solid and durable.

With a new centre fascia, gauge cluster and floor console, the 2008 Sorento boasts tasteful use of wood and metal trim materials. Kia takes care not to have the conventional boring steering wheel by mounting audio controls conveniently on it, while the dashboard boasts of a well lit, clearly marked, and conveniently located climate controls. The Sorento also incorporates enough cupholders; two in the front centre console and four in the back seat, including over-sized holders in each rear door. While garnishing the whole design with a bright chrome door handles and handles on the ashtrays.

Accidents happen. The 2008 Sorento passed extremely in crash tests. With top five-stars scores stamped vividly on its chest for both the driver and passenger in frontal crash tests, the safety of its occupants is ensured. The 2WD model gets a three-star rollover rating, while the 4WD model gets four stars. However, the Sorento gets the lowest possible rating of “Poor” in side impact tests, a much lower score than other mid-size SUVs. But the machine compensated for faring much better than most others in its rear protection, for which it receives a top score of “Good.”

Its standard features include dual front advance air-bags and full length side curtain air-bags. Under the wheel, a kneel air-bags helps prevent drivers from sliding under the belt in a frontal collision, in addition to an energy-absorbing steering column that helps cushion the initial blow to the driver’s chest.

Kia, considering the foregoing, records another global commitment in surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation. Indeed, Kia Motor Corporation has the power to surprise!

‘Shit Business is Truly a Serious Business’

By ol’Victor Ojelabi

Being compelled to write this story, I was trying to find the link. Yes, the link. Because I would have to convince you that mobile toilet and automobiles could be compatible. “It is a sheer display of writing skill, he is just trying to earn his pay,” you may say. Well, maybe, maybe not. But before one jumps into any conclusion, it is important to consider that aside from writing reviews about general maintenance of automobiles and giving tips on those things needed to have a successful motoring life, it is quite important too to consider the comfort of the occupants too, especially on a long journey. I am neither a medical adviser nor a practitioner, but there are other external mobile accessories besides MP3 player and leather seats that add to the comfort and confidence of any traveller. And one of such is a mobile toilet.

In the 70’s or 80’s, I can’t remember precisely, the Queen of England went on a state visit to Australia, and the government had to build toilets (no, ladies’, the Queen can’t possibly sh.t) for the Queen alone at strategic places in case the thing just comes up suddenly; you know, you can’t just trust human gastro-intestinal stability.

Mobile toilet, just as the name signifies, is a kind of moveable toilet that could ease the fear of finding a place to defaecate especially on a long journey. It comes also handy in an event, schools, and social functions, to mention a few.

In the provision of this necessary comfort, a company here in Nigeria has been on the forefront of rendering such a service to majority of Nigerians since 1996. Although it started as an idea in 1992, the first plastic toilets were imported in 1999, before the dream of producing a plastic toilet became a reality in 2002.

According to the initiator of the idea, Mr. Isaac Durojaiye, a former security outfit head, the word mobile toilet came into being when asked to provide security for 10, 000 guests at an outdoor event. Conscious of the fact that mass defecation could pose a serious threat, hence the need for toilets, moveable toilets at that.

And since then, the company has never looked back in easing the menace human faecal waste in our society. In addition to this stride, DMT Mobile Toilet, the foremost mobile sanitation company has effected a 15 per cent reduction in the price of its products from the 1st of January 2009 in keeping with its corporate mission of maintaining and sustaining a cleaner and healthier environment through providing affordable top quality mobile toilet, which is novel and scarce to obtain from other corporate bodies whose prices do not obey law of gravity (You know, the ‘what goes up must come down’ thing.

Since all things came into existence through necessities, the company also established a bio-gas plant designed to process and convert sanitation wastes into cooking gas and gases that can be used to generate electricity, among other uses, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The plant which was developed out of necessity to take care of the wastes by the company and turn into something useful as against giving to the state government to just dump somewhere. And the project, which is also made possible with the technical assistance of its foreign partner, the Environmental Resource Management Foundation, will commence production this year thereby scoring another first in being the first private company to produce bio gas in Nigeria.

As part of its social responsibility, the company has initiated a special scheme called Basic Toilet For Schools Scheme (BTFS), among others, to sell to the public at an affordable price in getting the toilet to the nooks and crannies of the nation. For instance, at the University of Lagos, you can’t urinate on the road. It is prohibited. It is also ungentlemanly, unlady-like; and DMT toilets are strategically placed to help you do your thing in secret, gracefully.

Lagosians will especially benefit from this shit business as it would save them the embarrassment of being caught, embarrassed, arrested, even prosecuted by KAI, Kick Against Indiscipline, for urinating or sh.tting (yagbeing) on the road.

The company armed with the overall objective of proving to the world that Nigeria is doing its best in building a healthy nation, and to continue working assiduously towards achieving the goals enumerated by the United Nations in declaring 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.

The DMT Mobile Toilet, as the only mobile toilet manufacturers in West Africa and the second largest in Africa, is already contributing its own quota in this regard. Commanding the participation of people like Mr. Isaac Durojaiye, Otunba Gadafi, as the Managing Director/Chief Executive, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi as Chairman, Fes Eze Eke, Legal Adviser, with a host of foreign partners, among others, this should be telling you that the company is really prepared to tackle Nigerian wastes, through shit business; a serious business indeed!


Nigerians now seem to prefer new cars to used ones a FORTUNE&CLASS Weekly survey has shown. A snap survey conducted by the magazine’s correspondents across new cars dealers shows that there is a strong demand for new cars, especially, the Japanese and Korean brands.

Most intending buyers are now placed on waiting list. FORTUNE&CLASS correspondents explained that demand is now high that customers can’t just walk into a dealers shop to pay and drive off with a car. “It takes an average one month or more to get a car after a commitment to buy is made to the dealers.” One of our correspondents that conducted the survey said.

Three brand names are reported to be in high demand; Toyota, Kia and Hyundai. Giving reason for the demand pile up for these brands, a marketing manager with a popular Toyota sales outlet said the desire by Nigerians to acquire new vehicle may not be unconnected with the long term financing provided by banks.

“The five years vehicle repayment plan on a 10 per cent down payment being spearheaded by First Bank Plc has created a new demand push for new cars.” An official of a car dealership said.

The emerging preference for new cars is in sharp contrast to the choices of Nigerian car owners until three years ago when most intending vehicle buyers would rather buy second hand vehicles, this, in fact, gave impetus to the thriving ports in Benin Republic, Nigeria’s neighbouring country, from where the second hand cars known as Tokunbo are smuggled into Nigeria through bush paths and unmanned border points.


In another bid to foster a better relationship with all facets of the society and the private sector, the Lagos State government has concluded plan to partner with automobile players in the State. This revelation was made by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Bamidele Badejo, through his representative, Director of Dealership Licensing Authority, Lagos, Mr. H. B. Sarumi at the National Automobile Marketing Conference held last week in Lagos.

He also stated that the state government frowns at the spate at which car sales are being displayed on the road walks, advising that dealers should have standard automart to showcase their products. In his words, “Lagos State is not happy seeing car sales on the road walks, but implores our dealers to have an automart through which you could display your cars.”

While answering questions from the participants at the event pertaining to the minimum age of a second hand vehicle permitted on Nigerian roads, Sarumi said the minimum year required of a second hand vehicle is 5years.

“If you will recall that about 7 years ago, most of these cars hardly have MOT. The number of years has been reduced from seven to five years. But Lagos State tries looking at the multipliers effect in buying a second hand cars and spare parts, therefore sensitising the people in order to reduce the number of lives lost due to road unworthiness for such vehicles.”

The Director stated, however, that, “with private partnership, the government wishes to ensure that car sale is streamlined, but should be noted that it is not the intention of the government to put anyone out of business.

And in order to ease the problem of vehicle registration by the dealers, 13 zonal offices have been created by the government in strategic locations around Lagos.”

With a note of warning imploring the public to do what is right and obey all traffic laws, he stated that the issue of traffic management is on the front burner of the state government. He stressed that the current slogan being carried in the ministries is ‘If you see your leader doing his job, then you must do your job’.

The one day event, tagged A Day Out With Auto Legends of Our Time enjoyed the presence of the representatives of notable auto dealers in the Nigerian auto world like Chief Michael Ade. Ojo, Mr. Sanni Dauda, Mr. William Anumudu. Mr. Olusola Dada and Oka Obono were chairman and guest speaker respectively.