Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 PHOTO: BMW JOY http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/PHOTO--BMW-JOY_87266 Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ATL Industrial Group Adam Stewart (centre) is a picture of joy after being presented with a plaque to mark the official opening of the BMW showroom in Montego Bay, Friday night. The presentation was made by Sales Channel Development and Customer Relations Director of BMW Group (Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean) Dirk Biehler (left). Looking on is BMW Group Sales Director for Latin American and the Caribbean Hernando Carvajal. (Photo: Joseph Wellington) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13589105/253762_80704_repro_w300.jpg Local News Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:00 AM 5 US$50-million investment http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/US-50-million-investment_87218 Ground was yesterday broken for a US$50-million complex in Kingston that will house a full-scale BMW/MINI international showroom and service centre, as well as a 220-room Marriott AC brand hotel.<br /> <br /> The project, which will provide 600 jobs in the construction phase and approximately 300 permanent positions, is being undertaken through a partnership between Sandals Resorts International; ATL Automotive, the official importer of BMW and MINI in the Caribbean; and Marriott International, the largest hotel chain in the world with just over 6,000 properties.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This continues to be a signal from our group as to how much confidence we have in this country and where this country is going overall,&rdquo; ATL Group Deputy Chairman and CEO Adam Stewart told guests, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness, attending the ground-breaking ceremony at the Lady Musgrave Road site on the outskirts of New Kingston.<br /> <br /> The BMW/MINI facility, he said, will be opened and operational in time for Christmas this year, while the target date for the hotel is the end of November 2018, in time for the start of the winter tourist season.<br /> <br /> Stewart, who is also deputy chairman and CEO of the Jamaica Observer, explained that the hotel will operate on the European Plan (EP), which means that the quoted rate is for lodging only and does not include any meals. Any food provided by the hotel will be billed separately. <br /> <br /> He said Sandals and Marriott have had &ldquo;an amazing relationship for years&rdquo;, and that both companies had been talking about building a hotel together in Jamaica that is &ldquo;a little different&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The result is this AC by Marriott, a lifestyle brand hotel.<br /> <br /> Noting that Jamaica is heavily skewed to all-inclusives, Stewart said that Sandals, as the largest all-inclusive chain in the country, had decided to contribute to providing a balance in the accommodation subsector with more EP hotels. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;So this hotel will be EP,&rdquo; Stewart said. &ldquo;It will be our 11th hotel in Jamaica, plus three villas that we operate. This will be the first time for us building a hotel in the non-all-inclusive segment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The hotel, he said, will offer six restaurants, a coffee franchise, a pasta and pizzeria section, a bar, a salon, and a rent-a-car facility.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The impetus is for visitors to come, do their business and stay for another three, four days and go to our UNESCO World Heritage site in the Blue Mountains, go to Dunn&rsquo;s River Falls, go see Port Royal, the oldest Jewish synagogue in the western hemisphere, whatever it may be,&rdquo; Stewart said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In addition, we&rsquo;ll be building 10,000 square feet of conference facility with break-out rooms; so this will be a multi-use complex. We&rsquo;re trying to put these five acres to great use and to build the new, hottest destination in Kingston,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The BMW/MINI facility will be located to the front of the property and will occupy 32,000 square feet. &ldquo;It will have a European-style service centre,&rdquo; Stewart explained and will be designed in such a way that customers will be able to see the work taking place in the back. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll do the regional training and development in conjunction with BMW here in Kingston.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz congratulated the partners on the project and said there was &ldquo;no doubt that Jamaica is on the path to prosperity&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He pointed to the latest business and consumer confidence indices released by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce earlier this week that showed that confidence among Jamaican firms was &ldquo;more favourable in every quarter during 2016 than at any time during the prior 15 years&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He said the Chamber of Commerce report stated that the country is now beginning to feel very confident about the policies that are being pursued and there is great expectation that growth will in fact materialise.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is because companies such as the ATL Automotive Group continue to display patriotic faith in our country; investing in Jamaica, its people and our future,&rdquo; Vaz said before presenting Stewart with the building approval for the project which, he said, was signed off by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation on Wednesday this week.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As a proactive Government we would never have wanted one day to pass between the ground breaking and the start of construction,&rdquo; Vaz said.<br /> <br /> Dirk Biehler, sales channel development and customer relations director, BMW Group, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, said his company was &ldquo;more than happy and proud to have Sandals&rdquo; as a partner.<br /> <br /> Similar sentiments were voiced by Alejandro Acevedo, regional vice-president, development, Mexico and the Caribbean, AC Hotel by Marroitt.<br /> <br /> He said he was impressed by the way the private sector and Government in Jamaica are working together to make the country better.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We at Marriott International are truly excited to partner with Sandals Resorts to bring the AC Hotels by Marriott brand to Jamaica,&rdquo; Acevedo said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587533/253747_80586_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13587529/253747_SLD.jpg 01 4 Hyundai Veloster changing the rules http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Hyundai-Veloster-changing-the-rules_86961 THE 2017 Hyundai Veloster is a mix of sportiness and practicality. But yet, somehow, it manages to be its own thing.<br /> <br /> On the outside, the Veloster is able to pull off the unusual paradox of being non-descript and eye-catching. At first, its sloping roofline says coupe; however, the rapid transition to the trunk screams hatchback, which it is. Then comes the next step that would have everyone doing a double take. <br /> <br /> Hatchbacks are traditionally classified as either three door (passenger, driver side and trunk) or 5 door &mdash; passenger, driver side, two matching rears, and trunk. Yet, the Hyundai bucks the standard vehicular symmetrical design trend for what is ultimately the Veloster&rsquo;s &lsquo;killer app&rsquo;. It&rsquo;s a four-door hatchback.<br /> <br /> How is that possible? Instead of two rear doors, it only has one, on the passenger side. In the real world, this sends onlookers scrambling back and forth between the opposite sides of the vehicle as their brain tries to comprehend the situation. Regardless of the initial shock, the outcome is always the same &mdash; it works. Having the extra rear door doesn&rsquo;t impact on the Veloster&rsquo;s overall looks.<br /> <br /> The extra, or having a missing rear door &mdash; depending on your point of view &mdash; isn&rsquo;t just for looks. It&rsquo;s a matter of practicality and addresses a problem many find in a performance hatchback, having to move the driver&rsquo;s seat to let out rear passengers. The Veloster&rsquo;s design now means drivers can happily stay seated in their favourite position while anyone seated behind them has an exit. Add to this, the easily accessible hatch and split folding rear seats that reveal plenty of cargo space and all the main practicality boxes are ticked. <br /> <br /> You&rsquo;ll want to stay seated in the Veloster as long as possible. It&rsquo;s best described as a comfortable, well-equipped, junior sports car. The interior isn&rsquo;t as unique as its exterior, but it&rsquo;s up the current Hyundai standards, with plenty of soft-touch materials and a few cool metal accents to remind everyone this is a sports car, as do the large bright gauges. The only thing brighter in the cabin is the 7-inch screen for the info-tainment system, which is able to connect to your device of choice, via Bluetooth or USB cable, and provides the output for the rear parking camera.<br /> <br /> Once on the road, the focus does turn to the driving experience. First, with the 1.6-litre motor only giving 130bhp it isn&rsquo;t going to set the world on fire, especially when compared many of its rivals. Still, it&rsquo;s more than enough to get the blood pumping on a good road without the fear, making it perfect for those just starting out at performance driving. Both reasons solidify its junior sports car tag. The six-speed automatic is just fine when left to its own devices, but transforms the driving experience when in manual mode, where it&rsquo;s more responsive and easier to keep the rev-happy motor on the boil.<br /> <br /> The horsepower matches the chassis perfectly as the car never feels like it will overpower itself. Riding on a meaty 18-inch wheel package, there is grip for days. The firm but compliant suspension aids cornering so much so that it takes significant effort to trigger the electronic nannies, such as the Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control and Brake Assist, which is a good thing, as not to detract from the driving experience.<br /> <br /> The Hyundai Veloster is a rare breed. It&rsquo;s an easy safe point to enter the sports car market for the average buyer, but retains enough equipment and practicality to be a daily driver. Combined with its asymmetric design, there isn&rsquo;t an equivalent from another major manufacturer. In fact, the Veloster&rsquo;s main issue may be itself as the turbocharged version will hit Hyundai&rsquo;s local showroom later this year. The pull of 201bhp, an extra 71bhp over the standard model, might appeal to those with a bit more fuel in their blood. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13584023/253187_80084_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 20, 2017 12:00 AM 1 BMW in high gear http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/BMW-in-high-gear_87053 THIS morning, the Adam Stewart-led ATL Automotive will break ground for construction of its state-of-the-art, stand-alone showroom on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew. By evening, the new-car dealership will be opening a showroom in Montego Bay &ndash; a first for western Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Today&rsquo;s events come 10 months after the dealership opened ATL Autobahn &ndash; its BMW and MINI division &ndash; at a temporary facility on Orchard Road in Kingston. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Representing them is a major achievement not only for ATL Automotive. It demonstrates the strength of Jamaican leadership...it&rsquo;s the first time that a Jamaican entity has stepped into a regional role as a master dealer for an automotive brand, particularly a global automotive brand,&rdquo; said Stewart at the time.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The brand was recently voted one of the top 10 in the world. It&rsquo;s a brand Jamaica and the Caribbean loves. For us, it&rsquo;s a humbling experience to be afforded the ability to represent them, and we&rsquo;re privileged that BMW felt we&rsquo;re the right business to carry the brand forward,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> At the launch of the MINI Cooper S Countryman in Mexico in December, Dr Alexander Werner Wehr &ndash; CEO of BMW and MINI for Latin America and the Caribbean &ndash; described the partnership with ATL Automotive as a &ldquo;good match&rdquo; as the company will play an integral role in the luxury brands&rsquo; future in the region.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a very good match and fit to the ambition and leadership of our brand. We are happy to have such a professional group, which places such a great emphasis on customer attention, being part of our dealer network,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;From Jamaica we&rsquo;re running a regional hub for the English-speaking Caribbean. It&rsquo;s gonna be fully integrated, not only with regards to our operations, but also our language, culture and integration,&rdquo; Werner Wehr continued.<br /> <br /> Under the acquisition terms, ATL Autobahn will serve as a central hub to include the distribution of cars, parts and service support in Jamaica. it will assume the role of master dealer for the Caribbean region with an additional nine other countries: Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, St Lucia, and Suriname.<br /> <br /> Mexico&rsquo;s 300-acre plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, scheduled to be completed in 2019, will supply Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will be building 3 Series, which is our blockbuster, so to say ... Once up and running, this will not only be the most efficient and technologically advanced plant, but the most sustainable,&rdquo; said Werner Wehr.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve always talked about Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean because it is our ambition, as a global premium brand, to attend to every customer in the same way, in a premium way, and we think ATL is the right partner for us in the Caribbean,&rdquo; Werner Wehr added.<br /> <br /> Started in 1997, ATL Automotive is also the authorised new-car distributor of Honda, Audi and Volkswagen brands. The company operates from its state-of-the-art showrooms in Kingston and Montego Bay. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13584149/253458_80110_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 20, 2017 2:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13584148/253458_SLD.jpg 06 2 Smooth sailing http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Smooth-sailing_87051 JAMAICA Urban Transit Company (JUTC) says there&rsquo;s a huge improvement in service since the start of the new school year.<br /> <br /> According JUTC marketing and communications manager Reginald Allen, the state-run bus service has acquired much-needed spare parts since December, which has resulted in more than 100 buses repaired.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The numbers have risen to an average of over 420 currently, with a peak of close to 450 since the start of January. This is coming from just above 320 prior to the beginning of the new school term,&rdquo; Allen told<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This comes on the heels of mounting public concerns up to December of last year about the need for enough buses to be available to meet the overall commuting demands of the commuters. Late last year, for example, there were times of intense public agitation in Portmore, at the company&rsquo;s South Parade layby in downtown Kingston, and at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre over shortages of buses. But that picture has apparently disappeared since the new school year began on January 9, when the JUTC rolled out about 445 buses to the delight of the commuters. Since then, the numbers have been kept consistently above 400 daily, with significantly higher figures most days,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Allen said this signals continuous bright days ahead for commuters in the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR). The KMTR covers Kingston, St Andrew, urban St Catherine &mdash; Portmore and Spanish Town &mdash; and sections of St Thomas.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have had nothing short of a phenomenal effort from our overall engineering and maintenance staff approaching the beginning of the new school year when the spare parts started to really come in. They went to work like people possessed in their bid to repair buses left, right and centre in response to the mandate of our managing director, Paul Abrahams,&rdquo; he outlined.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He got the maintenance team fired up, and they have kept at their efforts since in a bid to not only get the run-out number looking much better than late last year, but to keep the good numbers in place. Since January 9, the only commuter correspondence I have had in terms of the general service have been those from persons who are still wondering where &lsquo;so much&rsquo; JUTC buses have come from in such a short time,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> JUTC&rsquo;s 2016/17 budget was boosted recently by an allocation of $1 billion in the capital estimates from the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to purchase spare parts for its buses. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13256241/225883_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 20, 2017 12:00 AM 3 PHOTO FINISH - Grand &lsquo;Sentra-L&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/PHOTO-FINISH---Grand--Sentra-L-_86968 Former Miss Jamaica World contestant Dyanne Brown found this well-maintained 1989 Nissan Sentra irresistable.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13584065/253204_80064_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 20, 2017 3:00 AM 5 What women AUTO know ...Insurance issues Pt 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know-----Insurance-issues-Pt-2 General Manager of JN General Insurance Company Chris Hind continues his expose of motor vehicle insurance issues http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13580811/jngi_w300.jpg Video Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1:48 PM 5 Porsche: Luxury meets performance http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Porsche--luxury-meets-performance_86357 DRIVING through the streets of Mexico City is not for the faint of heart, as the term &ldquo;give way&rdquo; appears obsolete. But, test driving a million-dollar Porsche Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo on the right side of the road through the bustling thoroughfares is a whole different ball game.<br /> <br /> That was the task assigned to my Trinidad & Tobago counterpart, Aleem Khan, and myself on Wednesday morning. We would leave the comfort of Live Aqua Mexico City Hotel and Spa and trek for three hours to compete against our colleagues in a stage of the famous La Carrera Panamericana rally. Accompanying us on our sojourn was Tim Bravo, press and public relation manager &mdash; Porsche Latin America, Inc. We were part of a eight-car convoy outfitted with a lead car and one at the rear.<br /> <br /> The new four-door Porsche Panamera 4S is expressively designed &mdash; with extended, dynamic proportions, flared shoulders, athletic flanks, and a faster roofline. Its &ldquo;flyline&rdquo; creates a stylistic link to the 911 design icon. Its body is in aluminium/steel hybrid construction: door panels, bonnet, boot lid, wings, side panels, and roof all consist of aluminium.<br /> <br /> On the inside, Porsche&rsquo;s Panamera and Panamera Turbo advanced cockpits boast state-of-the-art connectivity. Black panel surfaces and interactive displays combine the visuality and intuitive operation of smartphones with practical aspects of controlling an automobile. Keyless engine starting system, part-leather seats (4S) and all-leather upholstery (turbo) add to its appeal.<br /> <br /> Rest your foot on the acceleration pedal and the 4S&rsquo;s 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine gets hauled by 440 horses; trees at the side of the road appear to rush by as they try to keep pace with the 550 Nm of torque produced. The Turbo is pulled by 550 horses and has a four-litre V8 engine.<br /> <br /> As our convoy slowed to make it through smaller towns, locals would try capturing the moment on their cellphones as the teem of Porsches filled their vision.<br /> <br /> After reaching our venue for the start of La Carrera Panamericana rally, we were briefed on safety issues, while cops blocked the roads to give us an hour of uninterrupted access.<br /> <br /> Donning our helmets up and down the open road we went at 30-second intervals, pushing the Panamera to its limits. Its new dual-clutch tansmission (PDK) with eight speeds and all-wheel drive made the session a date with performance and luxury.<br /> <br /> The roar of the engines dominated the air as teams took turns to conquer the rally stage.<br /> <br /> On our way back to the hotel, and exchanging our 4S for a Turbo, somehow we got separated from the pack.<br /> <br /> No worries! Just like a smartphone we plugged in the hotel&rsquo;s name on our 12.3-inch touch-screen display of the next generation Porsche Communication Management System. The experience became a guided one, and in English, of course. &ldquo;Turn right in a 100 metres, corner coming up in 800 metres, and continue for 2.7 km&rdquo; were some of the instructions issued in a timely manner. And in short order, we were back where we started.<br /> <br /> The Panamera is equipped with many standard and optional assistance systems, which makes driving more convenient and safer. The key new systems include a night-vision assistant. It utilises a thermal imaging camera to detect people and large animals and displays a colour-highlighted warning indicator in the cockpit. Each LED Matrix headlight contains a total of 109 LEDs for all lighting functions. The LED Matrix module alone comprises 84 individually-controlled LEDs, which can activate the ranges of both the dipped beam and the adaptive main beam lights via lenses and reflectors.<br /> <br /> The new Porsche Panamera and Panamera Turbo are redesigned from the ground up, but still maintains its core values. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567636/252351_78934_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 13, 2017 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567664/252351_ld.jpg Porsche takes aim at region http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Porsche-takes-aim-at-region_86340 GEORGE Wills, president and managing director of Porsche Latin America Inc, says the Adam Stewart-led ATL Automotive is critical in the company&rsquo;s thrust across the Caribbean region.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Caribbean, we consider, is a very important area of development for us. ATL Automotive is a very professional organisation, and it was a fairly easy choice in the selection process,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We still have our eyes on other opportunities in the Caribbean &mdash; Cayman Islands, Barbados, and Antigua. But, predominantly, our Caribbean structure is Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad & Tobago.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Wills &mdash; who has been in the driver&rsquo;s seat for the past three years &mdash; was speaking exclusively to the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine at the launch of the new Porsche Panamera 4S and Porsche Panamera Turbo at the Live Aqua Mexico City Hotel & Spa in Mexico on Tuesday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re expanding. At the moment we have around 52 dealers; a number of them are importer and dealers. Our biggest dealer network is actually in Mexico. We have 12 dealers here in Mexico. We have a national importer also in Pueblo here [in Mexico] as well. We will also open in Nicaragua this year, and we will also [add] two more dealers in Mexico. We are still expanding. And, as you know, Jamaica will be opening very soon,&rdquo; said Porsche&rsquo;s Latin America president and managing director.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We wouldn&rsquo;t enter a market unless we believed that there was an opportunity for the importer to be profitable, as well as supply the country with the cars it needs. So, my vision for Jamaica would see 50-plus vehicles moving forward into the future and, of course, that can grow as well. So we&rsquo;ll create more attractive models that will fit the Jamaican demographic,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Last year ATL Automotive acquired dealer status for the 86-year-old German brand owned by Volkswagen. Construction is currently under way on the dealership&rsquo;s showroom in heart of the city&rsquo;s financial district in New Kingston. It is scheduled to be opened in February, while another is scheduled in the second city, Montego Bay, St James, in May.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, at the Panamera launch, Wills announced 2016 proved to be another successful year for Porsche despite challenges globally, including the Latin America and Caribbean region.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In total, we delivered 3,240 units, representing a one per cent growth, in what has proven to be very turbulent economic time. A highlight was Mexico&rsquo;s own record-breaking performance, which saw an increase of 24 per cent to achieve 1,499 deliveries. What was particularly satisfying was the overall growth of our entire model range.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;However, for Porsche, sales is not our main objective; customer satisfaction, profitability of our businesses, and providing job security and opportunities is also paramount to long-lasting success. And we are the leaders in the industry in achieving that,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> According to the president, the new Panamera &mdash; which had its genesis in 2009 &mdash; bridges the gap between a sports car and touring car. Its coupe-style fly line is now &ldquo;much faster and more dynamic&rdquo;. The front axle is moved slightly forward to extend the wheel base, improving handling and making the cabin sit even better on the rear axle, while making the bonnet appear longer.<br /> <br /> Porsche&rsquo;s designers main focus was on the front, streamlining the surface and making the lines more precise. When viewed from the rear, the continuous lighting strip is immediately apparent. This is a design detail that has been, for a long time, a product feature of the 911 all-wheel-drive, and is now a design detail of the Porsche brand identity. <br /> <br /> Inside the cockpit was completely reworked, but remained true to the characteristic typical of Porsche: seating position, ignition on the left side of steering wheel; rev counter positioned centrally; and extremely slimline instrument panel with a wide range of functions that can be accessed directly.<br /> <br /> The Panamera 4S and Turbo are outfitted with seven-inch screens to the right and left of the mechanical tachometer and a 12.3-inch screen in the middle of the instrument panel. The touchscreen on the centre console presents a much cleaner appearance.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;With this vehicle, we plan to continue a success story,&rdquo; Wills added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567825/252260_78924_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 13, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567826/252261_SLD.jpg 06 2 Denyque gears up for Polo Effect http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Denyque-gears-up-for-Polo-Effect_86406 VOLKSWAGEN ambassador, singer Denyque was presented a new VW Polo sedan at ATL Automotive&rsquo;s showroom on Oxford Road in New Kingston, on Wednesday.<br /> <br /> The occasion was a mixture of sad goodbyes and happy hellos: she was parting with her VW Tiguan, which she named Tigger, for the Polo.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a proud #VWGirl. Partnering with Volkswagen Jamaica has been such a thrill. We have the same vision, same goal, and as a team, we believe in great, responsible driving,&rdquo; Denyque told<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> The switch in vehicles signals the end of the brand&rsquo;s &lsquo;Endless Summer with Tiguan&rsquo; promotion, where the singer had a Tiguan for a year. This year&rsquo;s new marketing initiative centred on the Polo Sedan called the &lsquo;Polo Effect&rsquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re more than excited to have Denyque continue as our Volkswagen brand ambassador. She fits the brand perfectly and epitomises everything the Polo Sedan stands for. She&rsquo;s beautiful, young, fun, stylish, fresh and dynamic,&rdquo; said Chris DaCosta, head of business at Volkswagen Jamaica.<br /> <br /> The singer explained she opted for the Polo as she felt a connection with it the first time she saw one.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the cutest thing ever. I just love the punchy acceleration in sport mode,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> The Polo follows three main elements, performance, practicality, and safety. Safety is foremost as the car has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. With a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated engine, it&rsquo;s paired to 6-speed transmission that offers a manual shifting via a tiptronic mode. On the practicality front the Polo has exceptional cargo space for its segment, can give up to 46 miles to the gallon and is filled with plenty of technology such as Bluetooth and USB compatibility. <br /> <br /> Denyque, who has her own swimsuit line, said she&rsquo;d be adding a few custom touches to the car once she settles in.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am going to miss Tigger&rsquo;s panoramic sunroof,&rdquo; Denyque reminisced.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567940/252359_78935_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 13, 2017 12:00 AM 3 PHOTO FINISH: Ready, set, Porsche http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Ready--set--Porsche_86412 It was a mix of adrenaline, comfort and luxury as Porsche unveiled its new Panamera 4s and Panamera Turbo at Live Aqua Mexico City Hotel & Spa in Mexico on Tuesday. The following day, journalists were given the opportunity to test drive Porsche&rsquo;s latest offerings at a stage of the La Carrera Panamericana rally in Valle de Bravo.<br /> <br /> Here are a few snapshots of that adventure. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13567958/252363_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 13, 2017 3:00 AM 4 What women AUTO know ... Insurance issues - Pt 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know-----Insurance-issues---Pt-1 What women AUTO know this week features Mr Chris Hind, general manager of JN General Insurance Company, speaking on motor vehicle insurance issues especially for the female driver. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13558736/Capture_w300.jpg Local Auto Monday, January 09, 2017 9:44 AM 1 JUTC bus lane reopen http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/JUTC-bus-lane-reopen-_85725 STATE-RUN Jamaica Urban Transit Company&rsquo;s (JUTC) exclusive bus lanes have reopened along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine. Construction is currently underway to widen that major thoroughfare.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was enforced yesterday (Wednesday) and today (Thursday) ahead of schools reopening next week,&rdquo; Reginald Allen, JUTC marketing and communications manager, told Jamaica Observer Auto. <br /> <br /> To accommodate the bus lane, the westbound dual carriageway is converted to two-way traffic from Caymanas Bay to Plantation Heights between 6:00 am and 8:00 am on weekdays. <br /> <br /> The JUTC spokesman said the arrangement would be temporary as his company was given a tentative deadline for operation.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The National Works Agency has given us a timeline for operation, but that can change given the pace of the roadwork. We are likely to be allowed up to April.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Allen said the exclusive lanes have significantly assisted in boosting the JUTC&rsquo;s efficiency.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The bus lanes have worked for the JUTC and have impacted positively on the turn-around time on Spanish Town to downtown Kingston, and Spanish Town to Half-Way-Tree and Cross Roads routes. It has created some inconvenience, not an inordinate inconvenience, for some motorists,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Work on the 3.5-kilometre stretch began in September 2016 and is expected to take 24 months. The road-widening works is being undertaken by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Limited. <br /> <br /> The widening of the Mandela Highway will see, among other things, the creation of six lanes, a service road to facilitate businesses along the northern side of the carriageway, construction of an overpass bridge and significant drainage improvement works. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a broad development which the country needs,&rdquo; said Allen.<br /> <br /> The JUTC marketing and communications manager said once the road-widening exercise is completed, he thinks there&rsquo;ll be no need for bus lanes.<br /> <br /> First introduced on November 1, 2013, the JUTC exclusive bus lanes have been a bone of contention. Last year the Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services, at one point, took the government to court about its implementation and lost.<br /> <br /> The Mandela Highway is the most heavily used traffic corridor in Jamaica and sees more than 45,000 vehicles daily. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13256241/225883_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 06, 2017 12:00 AM 1 A MINI for all seasons http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/A-MINI-for-all-seasons_85699 THE 2.2-kilometre track at Centro Dinamico Pegaso in Toluca City, Mexico, recently played host to 22 journalists from Central and South America, and Jamaica, who jetted in to test-drive MINI&rsquo;s newest offerings.<br /> <br /> The line-up included the MINI Clubman, MINI Cooper S, MINI Cooper Countryman S, MINI John Cooper Works, and the MINI Convertible.<br /> <br /> Our instructor, Rodrigo De Lareguera gave a brief overview of the British automotive marquee owned by BMW.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The purpose of these exercises is to feel the car, know the car, while learning some technical skills. When you drive a MINI, it&rsquo;s like driving a go-car. The MINI is safe, the braking is amazing, and the throttle response is superb,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> So, journalists were taken through several sessions comprising a 180-degree reverse exercises, darting around cones, and pushing the vehicles to their limits on the asphalt racetrack.<br /> <br /> My fave was the MINI Cooper Countryman S.<br /> <br /> On the outside, the Countryman may give subtle hints on its temperament. However, the unmistakable personality of MINI Countryman is achieved through the expressive design and typical features of the new MINI family that includes optional LED headlights and daytime running lights, created for the first time by a light line completely surrounding the headlights. <br /> <br /> On the inside, the MINI is increased by 20 cm compared to previous models. Leather trim is dotted about and cannot be missed on the steering wheel that fits nimbly into hand. The functionality provided by this new vehicle is complemented with a colour 8.8 inch screen within the instrument cluster accompanying the Professional MINI navigational system and which now offers the innovative touch-screen function. Gauges are crystal clear, and the infotainment system, designed to mimic the original&rsquo;s iconic circular speedometer is easily controlled from a rotary knob and steering-mounted buttons.<br /> <br /> Other novelties in the MINI Countryman are the MINI County timer that records off road journeys, the new MINI Picnic Bench which, placed at the edge of the trunk, may become a comfortable seat to enjoy outdoors, and the MINI Find Mate that makes it easier for the MINI Countryman driver to look for bags, keys and other accessories.<br /> <br /> Switch on the ignition and press throttle, the vehicle is responsive. Its three-cylinder 1499 cc gasoline engine reaches a power of 100 kW/136 hp with a maximum torque of 220 Nm, while the four-cylinder 1998cc engine reaches 141 kW/192 hp thanks to the maximum torque of 280 Nm. Given the MINI&rsquo;s low centre of gravity, it corners very well.<br /> <br /> Braking brings the MINI to a halt on demand, as it boasts a hydraulic two-circuit brake system with anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and cornering brake control, dynamic stability control with brake assist, hill start assistant, brake dry function, fading brake support, dynamic traction control and electronic differential lock control. Handbrake impacts mechanically on the rear wheel.<br /> <br /> The new Countryman S is ideal for urban areas as well as off-the-beaten path.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an amazing car... it&rsquo;s fun. When you drive it, you&rsquo;ll be smiling,&rdquo; Lareguera added.<br /> <br /> The new MINI Cooper Countryman S is distributed by ATL Automotive. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13550487/251105_77685_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 06, 2017 12:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13550490/251104_SLD.jpg 06 2 Video: What women AUTO know ... about tyres http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know-----about-tyres Tyre care and identifying tyre flaws is our topic in this edition of our special feature: What women AUTO know. Our experts at ATL Automotive will, today, take you through the steps of identifying a worn tyre as well as information on the proper choice of rims. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13541325/Capture_w300.jpg Local Auto Sunday, January 01, 2017 11:42 AM 5 VW Golf GTI: a hole in one http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/VW-Golf-GTI--a-hole-in-one-_85134 THE 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI is that rare &lsquo;everything&rsquo; vehicle. A total all-rounder, it is totally practical, has enough technology and convenience to be comfortable around town, and yet fun enough for your favourite road.<br /> <br /> From an aesthetic point of view, the Golf GTI relies on its humble beginnings as a hatchback. Over its six-model generations, it has grown in size to accommodate all we expect from a modern car, but its core ethos of being functional has never disappeared. On the outside, there may be those who prefer the sportier look of the three door, but while the extra pair of rear doors have some impact on its performance car kudos, they aid significantly in getting cargo, human or otherwise, in and out of the car. With some squinting, one can even make out the homage to the original boxy shape that defined the hot-hatchback segment the Golf GTI, which is credited with cementing. As the Golf has aged, its lines have just been rounded up a bit to give it a modern fresh feel.<br /> <br /> Where the GTI excels at being modern and fresh is the interior. High-quality materials are abundant in the cabin with soft-touch elements where passengers would interact with the most. The chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel falls easily to hand, covered with the right amount and type of buttons as to not distract from the task of driving. All seats are comfortable blending with the car&rsquo;s overall shape to provide more than enough room for adults. Open the sunroof and the light flooding increases the sense of space ten-fold. Drivers should have no problem finding a good position as their seat is powered and adjustable. However, the front passenger will have to do things the old fashion way &mdash; manually.<br /> <br /> Tech and convenience features are abound in the GTI. Most major functions are automated such as the headlights. The Golf&rsquo;s infotainment system has a very cool contextual proximity feature &mdash; as your fingers get close to the touchscreen, it expands menus and highlights various buttons &mdash; and offers seamless multimedia interfacing with whatever device suits your fancy. Rear passengers enjoy their own air- conditioning vents and have access to plenty of storage, either indoor or through a convenient panel in the middle split folding rear seat.<br /> <br /> On the road, the Golf is as serene as you&rsquo;d want it to be. It can handle the daily commute with the best of them. However, since it&rsquo;s blessed with GTI badge, there&rsquo;s a lot to live up to and it does, in spades. Nestled in all that practicality, technology and functionality is a chassis and drivetrain that, when asked to do so, transforms the daily drive into something special, or can handle the most challenging or routes.<br /> <br /> Sporting a two-litre turbocharged engine, the GTI is flexible enough to go from economy &mdash; up to 35 mpg &mdash; to maximum attack in the press of the accelerator as it sprints to 60 mph in 5.8 second. Just as significantly, the taut chassis and suspension absorbs simple bumps, yet offers enough straight-line and cornering confidence. The motor, paired with the excellent six-speed DSG gearbox, once in sport mode, allows spaces in traffic that can be warped into with ease. On the open road, speed builds effortlessly on a wave of 258lb/ft of torque, especially in manual mode where the deft driver can keep the GTI on boil through the various twists and turns they may encounter.<br /> <br /> In the end, the GTI can settle back down to the everyday family hauler/commuter it needs to be to function for 80 per cent of the populace. For the few still not willing to give up on their petrol running through their veins, the GTI badge on the 2016 VW Golf still has real meaning. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13535623/250086_76629_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 30, 2016 12:00 AM 1 Classic car club hosts swap shop http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Classic-car-club-hosts-swap-shop_85097 Jamaica Classic Car Club (JCCC) had their first-ever Swap Meet at Lasola Farms in Portmore, St Catherine, on December 11.<br /> <br /> The occasion brought together people (members and non-members) who had various automotive parts for sale or trade.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It went good for a first attempt. It took a while for members to get a hang of it, but in the end everyone was happy,&rdquo; Shane Angus, JCCC president, told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto.<br /> <br /> The laid-back vibe of the event helped it to be more of a get-together, which was welcomed by all who were present.<br /> <br /> Venue owner and JCCC member Paul Gammon&rsquo;s large collection of vintage machines were on display for everyone to browse. They included an Aston Martin V8 Vantage in ultra-rare manual trim. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We had 21 cars show[ing] up,&rdquo; Angus said.<br /> <br /> However, more importantly for the club, there was a large turnout of members and non-members looking to find that key part to fix their classic rides.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The feedback was great from everyone, so we&rsquo;re trying to make it an annual event,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The club closed out the year with a private charity dinner on December 20 for golden-agers residing in the Port Royal area of Kingston.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13535187/250045_76558_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 30, 2016 12:00 AM 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13535188/swap-ld.jpg Target missed, again - Road fatalities at 375 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Target-missed--again_85081 ROAD fatalities, as of yesterday, stood at 375 &mdash; seven fewer than the previous year. However, Kenute Hare, director for the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, said there&rsquo;s nothing to celebrate.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Three hundred and seventy five lives have been lost and families shattered... fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, and in many instances this could have been avoided. I really can&rsquo;t feel good,&rdquo; he told<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a struggle to keep the toll below 300.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hare is making reference to the &lsquo;safety unit&rsquo;s &lsquo;Below 300&rsquo; campaign, which is aimed at keeping the figure below that mark.<br /> <br /> According to the director, the island&rsquo;s western belt has been a challenge.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The road-safety battle is won or lost in western Jamaica. So far 54 people have died in Westmoreland; 35 in St Elizabeth; 24 in St James; 23 in Hanover; and 17 in Trelawny &mdash; this 41 per cent of people killed on the road network,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are committed in continuing our education campaign, as we have made inroads on the psychological level in reminding motorcycle drivers to wear their safety gear; for people to buckle up; and for people to obey road signs... We have found the latter to be a difficult task. But public education alone cannot do it. To achieve our goals we need sustained enforcement by the police, as people respond to this. You can see this manifest itself when the cops are present on the roadways, and how drivers slow down and warn other drivers of police presence by flashing their headlights,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He however, had high praises for Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey for reducing the road fatalities in Clarendon.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Senior Superintendent Bailey and his team have cut road fatalities by 50 per... From 34 deaths last year to 17. There is robust and sustained enforcement in Clarendon. The police is out there &mdash; left, right and centre. That&rsquo;s what made the difference,&rdquo; said Hare.<br /> <br /> The safety unit director said the proposed new legislation will assist in reducing some of the fatalities as it relates to motorcycle drivers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The new legislation will be that drivers of motorcycles will be required to have some sort of formal training before taking to the streets. This is a total departure of what currently prevails, where an owner of a motorcycle can ride indefinitely on a learner&rsquo;s licence and not knowing the Road Traffic Act. So the proposed legislation will be revolutionary,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is important as motorcycles are one of the most dangerous units on the road network. There are no frames to protect the operators in the event of a collision.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The Road Safety Unit, under Hare&rsquo;s directorship, has embarked on several road-safety programmes bandwidth. The last time fewer than 300 were killed was in 2012 when 256 individuals lost their lives on the roadways. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13467635/244226_70707_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 30, 2016 1:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13535195/230020_SLD.jpg 2 Driver injured in early morning crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Driver-injured-in-early-morning-crash_85105 The driver of this car was injured and taken to hospital after the vehicle crashed into a wall on Spanish Town Road in Kingston about 7:30 am yesterday.<br /> <br /> The impact resulted in the engine coming apart from the vehicle. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13535702/250054_76595_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 30, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Official calls for sustainable road safety enforcement http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Official-calls-for-sustainable-road-safety-enforcement-_85018 COUSINS COVE, Hanover &mdash; Director of the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport Kenute Hare is calling for a sustainable road safety enforcement to deal with the high incidence of motor vehicle collisions in western Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to be relentless next year. We are going to ramp up the public education next, but we want the enforcement across Jamaica to be ramped up so that everybody who drives through St Elizabeth straight back to Trelawny knows that we serious about enforcing this Road Traffic Act,&rdquo; said Hare.<br /> <br /> Hare, who said the road safety drive will be code-named &ldquo;Operation Western Jamaica&rdquo;, was speaking with the Jamaica Observer yesterday at the accident scene in Cousins Cove, where a Jamaica Defence Force vehicle overturned killing the driver, and injuring three others.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What we see is that for some reason the driver would have drifted over into the right lane at some point in time. The road surface was wet, so some skidding took place and he skidded for quite a distance. But, remember the road surface is 80 kilometres per hour. So he could have been travelling at 80 kilometres. But the road is wet, so we should not be going at more than 30 to 40 kilometres per hour,&rdquo; explained Hare.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Take your time. Take your time; we would not have this problem. If we take our time, we would not have this problem [of so many accidents] across Jamaica.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Hare stressed that members of the security forces and emergency personnel should also adhere to safety precautions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;&hellip; It is imperative that members of the security forces and emergency personnel ensure that they are secured and protected. So, seat belt must be worn. The safety of the officers is fundamental. Because, if seat belts were worn, they would not have been thrown out. And, in light of the fact that they were in an open vehicle, if they were wearing helmets, at least the officer would not have suffered from head injuries,&rdquo; argued Hare. He recommended that drivers and passengers travelling in a vehicle going at more than 80 kilometres per hour wear helmets also.<br /> <br /> Since the commencement of this year, some 372 people have been killed on the roads, just 10 less than the 382 recorded in 2015.<br /> <br /> Hare, who expressed fears that last year&rsquo;s figure could be overtaken by the end of the year, emphasised the need for sustainable road safety enforcement.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is with great trepidation that I look forward to 2017. Because, if I cannot be guaranteed sustainable road safety enforcement, maybe I have to take away myself,&rdquo; said the road safety unit director. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13533353/249881_76493_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM 4 PM sends condolences to family of soldier who died in crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/PM-sends-condolences-to-family-of-soldier-who-died-in-crash-------_84985 PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday conveyed sympathies to the family of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier who died Tuesday in a motor vehicle incident while on duty.<br /> <br /> The soldier, Private S Hewitt of Moneague, St Ann, was on operational duty in Hanover when the patrol vehicle in which he was travelling was involved in an accident. Three other soldiers sustained serious injuries in the crash.<br /> <br /> Jamaica House said Prime Minister Holness yesterday morning telephoned the relatives of Private Hewitt to extend condolences.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Private Hewitt gave dedicated service to our country. He was part of a team of Jamaicans in the security forces who allowed us to enjoy the joys and festivities of the season. He toiled quietly behind the scenes ensuring that we were safe and secure,&rdquo; said the prime minister.<br /> <br /> Holness said the country stands with the JDF and Private Hewitt&rsquo;s family and friends in their moment of grief, and also wished a speedy recovery for the injured soldiers.<br /> <br /> The prime minister, who head of the Defence Board, also conveyed a heartfelt thank you for the sacrifices made by the JDF in protecting the country. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13533952/crash29_w300.jpg Local Auto Thursday, December 29, 2016 12:00 AM 5 Video: What women AUTO know &hellip; about buying, selling and valuations Pt 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know---about-buying--selling-and-valuations-Pt-2 We now present Part 2 of our discussion with Mr David McKay on valuations, what it can reveal, and how it protects your investment. Mr McKay is the managing director of motor vehicle valuators MSC McKay Jamaica Limited http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13528752/546b4b4cdd152db54d465c2990dd6d6a_w300.jpg Local Auto Monday, December 26, 2016 10:14 AM 1 Tale of two ambassadors http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Tale-of-two-ambassadors_84497 PORSCHE&rsquo;S pull is undeniable. At last Sunday&rsquo;s launch of the Panamera 4S, two &lsquo;ambassadors&rsquo; expressed their love for the German-made, high-performance automobile. <br /> <br /> The first was German Ambassador to Jamaica Joachim Schmillen, whose Jack&rsquo;s Hill residence was where the occasion was held, while the other was Porsche brand ambassador Doug Gore.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;All these nice cars are German cars&hellip; built in Germany and, most importantly, are now on German soil. That means not without my permission, they will not be allowed to leave. But the truth is I&rsquo;m a reasonable man and I&rsquo;ll make sure all these vehicles are returned, except for the white Cayenne Turbo,&rdquo; he said in his address, to much laughter from the guests.<br /> <br /> Racing car driver Gore spoke of excitement while testing the brands on a recent trip to Miami, Florida.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we arrived at the Porsche headquarters, they said: &lsquo;Doug pick, choose, and refuse the Porsche you&rsquo;d like to drive... You can pick any single car you want to drive for four days&rdquo;,&rsquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He said he drove the 911 4S and Macan GTS.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Honestly, I didn&rsquo;t want to return it. I was so flabbergasted. This SUV drove like a car and behaved like a car. It was absolutely awesome,&rdquo; he said of the latter.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ladies and gentlemen, when you drive any of these vehicles you&rsquo;ll be in awe... I&rsquo;m a Audi man deep down in my heart, but Porsche has come to Jamaica and is here to stay,&rdquo; he said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13522661/248983_75423_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 23, 2016 3:00 AM 1 Video: &lsquo;Porsche-ing&rsquo; the envelope http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/-Porsche-ing-_84341 THE red cover did very little to ward off the eyes of prying guests attending the launch of the new Porsche Panamera 4S held at the home of Joachim Schmillen, German ambassador to Jamaica, in Jack&rsquo;s Hill, St Andrew, on Sunday.<br /> <br /> The guest list comprised businessmen, corporate executives and young professionals who were nevertheless given an opportunity to mingle with other Porsche offerings on display &mdash; including the Macan, the Macan S, the Macan GTS Turbo, the Cayenne, and the Cayenne turbo &mdash; prior to the unveiling.<br /> <br /> The high-performance German automobile brand, Porsche, is latest jewel in the crown for the dynamic car dealership ATL Automotive.<br /> <br /> In his address to the audience, Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group of Companies, said he was excited to formally launch the brand in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is an amazing day for us. This journey started three years ago, with the Volkswagen group, which owns Audi, Porsche as well, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Fiat, Skoda, and many, many brands. We were in discussions with them and we were asked by them if we would consider representing the Porsche brand in Jamaica... Mr Ferdinand Porsche started in 1931, so it would make 85 years for Porsche to hit Jamaica&rsquo;s shores.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A lot of people ask the same question: Is there a market for Porsche in Jamaica? Porsche is a bespoke brand. It&rsquo;s the most individual car brand in the world &mdash; unless you get into the Bentley or the Rolls Royce of the world... No two Porsches that come into Jamaica would be the same, and we at ATL want a car brand for every member of the household,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> After the veils were lifted, guests were given the opportunity to get a &lsquo;taste&rsquo; of the new Panamera 4S.<br /> <br /> According to Porsche, the jet metallic black Panamera 4S has an eight-speed PDK (Porsche Doppel Kupplung) transmission with a V6 engine which puts out 440 hp to all four wheels via an all-wheel-drive system. It moves from 0 to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds (4.2 seconds Sports Plus button) and its top speed is 289 km/h.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Porsche is the first car company in the United States of America to include dual airbags as standard equipment. they were the first car company to put brakes on all four wheels, so they have [both] a safety element to it and a performance element to it,&rdquo; Stewart told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> The CEO said work on Porsche&rsquo;s stand-alone showroom in the city&rsquo;s financial district of New Kingston is in high gear.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We wanted to do something different and unique. It will be the first time that a dealership will be in the centre of the city.... It&rsquo;ll be located at the old IBM building on Knutsford Boulevard and Barbados Avenue and will be opened in late January, early February ... and in Montego Bay in May,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Hotel mogul Gordon &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Stewart, founder & chairman of hotel chain Sandals Resorts International and ATL Group of Companies, spoke to Auto about the introduction of the new line:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Introducing Porsche at this time is just confidence, confidence, confidence. More so, it&rsquo;s really good to see that Jamaica has an appetite for this level of automotive and motor cars. The flexibility that Porsche has these days &mdash; from four doors to two doors, its power and range &mdash; it&rsquo;s a great car to drive.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have something in life to reach for, then you&rsquo;ll never get there. You&rsquo;ve got to have dreams; motor cars are one of them, homes are another. What&rsquo;s the point of working hard and not have the benefits of something?&rdquo; said Stewart.<br /> <br /> Started in 1997, ATL Automotive operates from state-of-the-art showrooms in Kingston and Montego Bay. Besides Porsche, the company is the authorised dealer for BMW, MINI, Audi, Volkswagen, and Honda. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13522690/248957_75569_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, December 23, 2016 3:00 AM Y http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13522691/248957_SLD.jpg 06 2 Transport minister urges drivers to exercise caution http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Transport-minister-urges-drivers-to-exercise-caution_84536 MINISTER of Transport and Mining Lester Mike Henry has called on Jamaicans to exercise caution on the roads during the Yuletide season.<br /> <br /> In his Christmas message, Henry lamented the fact that the 362 persons who have already been killed in road crashes far exceed the target, &ldquo;despite our best efforts to keep the figure below 300&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Said Henry: &ldquo;The statistics indicate that speeding and improper overtaking have been the leading factors for the crashes,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Henry also highlighted the harm that can be done to persons who do not wear seatbelts and helmets as required by law, and to young children who are not placed in appropriate child-restraint systems. &ldquo;I appeal to you, let us all be here next year,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> The minister noted that drinking and driving is generally at its peak during the holiday season, and appealed to persons that if they are going to drink, they must appoint a designated driver.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that when one sustains life-changing injuries it takes upwards of four years to fully recover psychologically, and that this is especially devastating if the injured party is the main breadwinner. <br /> <br /> Henry is asking motorists to be respectful on the nation&rsquo;s roads, reduce the use of cell phones while driving, observe the road code, and be mindful of the unbearable trauma associated with grieving for a loved one who has died in an unnecessary traffic crash. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12536370/178258__w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 23, 2016 12:00 AM 5