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Mazda CX5: revitalised and relevant



The Mazda CX5 was first launched in SA in 2012 and in 2015 we were introduced to the facelift editions, both in petrol and diesel. I was lucky to test drive this cross-over CX5, 2litre Petrol derivative Active Auto model for two weeks, kind courtesy of Sean Scully, dealer principal at Fury Mazda.

From the outset, this SUV certainly has improved functionality, advanced technology and remodelled interior and exterior designs.

Revitalised to keep it relevant to the SA market, the CX5 boasts a new front grill that lends to the overall aesthetic and appeal of the vehicle.

Electronic parking brake, satellite navigation

The new feature of the electronic parking brake that replaces the conventional handbrake, is a new and welcome feature. What a pleasure to click a button instead of tugging at a handbrake stem.

Satellite navigation can be added but is standard in the Individual and Akera models and optional in Active and Dynamic models.

One of the standard features in this model is the reverse camera, which gets another huge thumbs up. Park distance control is good but the camera is even better – although it does take some time getting used to as most drivers actually look back when reversing.

The i-Stop feature is designed to save you petrol and switches of when you are at a traffic light, but how much petrol can you really save? Surely the continual stop-starts adds more pressure on the starter motor. Scully advises that so far, there has not been any complaints in this regard.

Hill climb assist

This is a keyless vehicle with push-button engine start as well as the hill climb assist stop-start ignition.

This model is not equipped with daytime driving lights which, considering the price, I felt should have been included. Another feature not standard (and one that we take for granted) is the locking of all doors once you drive off. I enquired about this and was told that this is an after-market addition that comes at a cost of approximately R1775. I however still feel this should have been a standard feature.

The indicator click sounds are not loud enough and often dulled out if you have the radio on which means that, often times, once you’ve switched on the indicator, it’ll stay on and you have to manually switch it off. Many drivers, especially on the open roads, signalled to me that the vehicle’s indicators were still on, much to my surprise. There is that three-click option but invariably, one tends not to use it.

Built with safety in mind

The CX5 has been built with safety in mind and includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that incorporates Traction Control, ABS and electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), which optimises braking force and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) which then boosts stopping power when needed.

The 2.0 litre 4-cylinder petrol engine has improved power and torque to deliver a sporty 121kW of power and 210Nm of torque, using only 7.8 (at time of test drive) of fuel every 100km. On fuel consumption, I started out at around 8.5l per 100km but this settled down to 7.4l per 100km by the time I handed back the SUV (this included a combination of both urban and open road driving). The advertised consumption on this model is 6.4l per 100km but I suppose this will come once the engine has been ‘run-in’. The three-year unlimited kilometre warranty also gives one that added re-assurance.

On to the interior

The CX5’s ‘ready to pounce’ exterior look is definitely carried over to the interior as well. The model I drove did not have a sunroof – it only comes with the more expensive models.

The Connect infotainment system, a simple-to-operate system that allows easy access to internet radio streaming and social networking services – which Mazda drivers consider essential, forms part of the enhancement across the model range. I found the infotainment centre a pleasure to work with and it reminded me of the BMW’s iDrive functionality – everything you need right there at your fingertips.

Steering wheel controls and the iDrive functionality puts you in total control of audio, cruise control and Bluetooth functionality. The 7inch touch screen is also standard and the radio/CD system with six speakers pushes out very acceptable sound levels. Want the Bose sound system? Then you will have to spec up to the Individual or Akera model.

Boot space to infinity and beyond…

But one interior feature that left me with a big satisfied smile is the incredible amount of boot space (and even more space if the seats are folded down). Without exaggerating, one can easily fit four golf bags and kit bags in the back. This really appealed to me since I am a golfer and the bag, kit bag and my push cart all fit so comfortably in the back.

I also have two dogs that I take regularly to the beach and on other drives, so it was a pleasure to drop the back seats down at a pull of a lever in a fluid movement for that extra, and I mean extra, space.

The price of R373,200 incl is considered a bit too much when compared to other makes in its class.


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Nissan SA’s Whitfield given Egypt portfolio




CAPE TOWN – Nissan South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield has been appointed managing director of Nissan Motor Egypt.

The Japanese-based group said yesterday that Whitfield would also serve as chairperson of Nissan in Africa South as it announced changes in its senior management structure in Africa to drive growth.

Africa is seen as the last frontier for global carmakers. The group said Whitfield would be based in Cairo and his appointment would be effective from June 20.

Whitfield, a former president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee.

Since then he has held a variety of senior positions before being appointed as Nissan SA’s managing director in 2008. “Under his leadership, Nissan posted a record market share in South Africa of more than 10 percent in the last financial year, the highest this century,” the group said.

It said Shinkichi Izumi would succeed him as the managing director of Nissan South Africa.

“Nissan has a plan for rapid and sustainable growth in Africa. We were the first to assemble cars in Nigeria and our ambition is to lead the way in developing automotive manufacturing on the continent,” said the chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, Peyman Kargar.



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Smile Telecoms Appoints Ahmad Farroukh As New Group Chief Executive Officer



Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, May 21, 2019 – Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO; Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman.

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd.

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General Electric appoints Eric Amoussouga as GE Francophone Africa CEO



Eric is also Sales Director for GE’s Grid Solutions Business across Sub-Saharan Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April, 2019 — General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Eric Amoussouga as the Chief Executive Officer for Francophone Africa. In this position, Eric will play a pivotal role in steering the next phase of strategy and growth for GE in Francophone African markets.

Based in Abidjan, Eric will lead the development of diverse programs with public and private sector projects and partnerships across Francophone Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Africa, reiterated GE’s commitment to work together with government and private sector order to develop public private partnerships and sustainable outcome-based solutions.

“We are optimistic about Francophone Africa and the opportunities to develop breakthrough solutions in power, healthcare, aviation and renewable energy. We believe that the appointment of Eric is a further step in making our vision a reality. We are also glad to bring on board someone with the experience and passion required to drive our growth in this region,” he said.

Eric brings onboard 19 years of experience in the energy sector with the major players like AREVA, ALSTOM and GE and has strong expertise in energy business development and sales strategy especially in West and Central Africa.

“I am very excited to be leading GE’s regional growth in Francophone Africa and driving innovative initiatives to support the needs of GE stakeholders within the region.” Eric Amoussouga said.

Partnership with Governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Francophone Africa and across the continent. Through these collaborations, GE has made significant investments to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions, provide efficient and reliable transportation as well as improve access to quality healthcare.

– GE

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