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 ATL starts REV-olution http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/ATL-starts-REV-olution_89786 THIS year ATL Automotive Group celebrates 20 years of business in Jamaica. And to mark the occasion, the dealership is hosting the first- ever automotive lifestyle event, dubbed REV-olution, scheduled for March 10 to 12 at the Audi Terminal on Oxford Road in St Andrew. <br /> <br /> The announcement was made at the terminal to specially invited guests and event partners last Friday.<br /> <br /> The inaugural REV-olution will feature exciting car displays by the world&rsquo;s biggest automotive brands, and will be a &lsquo;one-stop shop&rsquo; for people interested in cars, whatever the budget, with a banking and finance zone, car service workshops and seminars, a parts sale featuring the lowest prices Jamaica has ever seen, and a trade-in station for anyone seeking to upgrade their current vehicle.<br /> <br /> Adam Stewart, CEO of ATL Automotive Group, explained the thought process behind the event.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This year marks our 20th anniversary, and to celebrate we wanted to create an experience that is both unique, exciting and truly inclusive, to thank Jamaica for helping us evolve over the last two decades. REV-olution is our way of saying, &lsquo;Thank you Jamaica&rsquo;,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;There are car shows, sales events, food and drink festivals, family-focused events, musical and comedy concerts, and seminars. REV-olution is all of those things all combined in one show. We&rsquo;re calling it the ultimate automotive lifestyle event. There&rsquo;s something for everyone and, best of all, entry is free. Whether you&rsquo;re 10 or 110, you&rsquo;re going to absolutely love it. We&rsquo;ll have everything on show, from pre-owned sub-compacts and commercial vehicles right the way through to award-winning race cars and luxurious sports cars. There really is something for everyone,&rdquo; Stewart continued.<br /> <br /> Matthew Cripps, general manager of ATL Automotive Group, said he has high expectations for REV-olution.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This event will reset the clock and standards of local car shows,&rdquo; said Cripps.<br /> <br /> ATL Automotive Group brands &mdash; Honda, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW, MINI &mdash; will be out in full force, each with major exclusive debuts. ATL&rsquo;s pre-owned division, its car rental service, and its training division &mdash; ATL Academy &mdash; will be an integral part of the show.<br /> <br /> Set to make waves with the countless automotive product launches at the event, for the first time the island will see the Porsche 919 Hybrid, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans; the Audi R8; the 2018 Volkswagen Amarok; and highly anticipated Honda Ridgeline, the first of its kind from the dealer, as well as many other surprise launches.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This show will have more new model launches than in the previous history of Jamaica,&rdquo; said Stephen Hector, group marketing director at ATL Automotive.<br /> <br /> Test drives will be given along several pre-planned routes. For those looking towards sport utility vehicles, the lady Musgrave venue is to be turned into an off-road course. <br /> <br /> The event will also feature a huge lifestyle component with an indoor children&rsquo;s cr&Atilde;&uml;che with qualified nannies, live performances from Jamaica&rsquo;s hottest musical acts, outside broadcasts, cinema screenings, auto detailing workshops, and food and drink booths.<br /> <br /> Sponsors include Main Event Entertainment Group, Jamaica Observer, Fyah 105, Rainforest Seafoods, Wallenford Coffee, and National Bakery. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13649587/258834_85423_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 17, 2017 3:00 AM Gregg begins with a bang http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Gregg-begins-with-a-bang_89739 Kyle Gregg was the big winner at the Drivers Rallysport Sprint #1 held on Sunday at Lydford Mines, St Ann, when he claimed victory in the overall championship run.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to start the year off with a win,&rdquo; an elated Gregg told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine. <br /> <br /> Gone was the disappointment of last December&rsquo;s Rally Jamaica 2016 when he lost a minute&rsquo;s lead and had to retire due to mechanical problems, thus handing that event to Joel Jackson. Gregg took the opportunity to enlist the help of fellow circuit racer William Myers to sit in the navigator&rsquo;s seat. It was smooth sailing for the pair, with only a single spin, given the changing weather conditions that the competitors had to face.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is a whole different driving style, but it was tons of fun,&rdquo; Myers said.<br /> <br /> For Jackson, this had significant impact as the rain turned parts of the course into a muddy, waterlogged mess.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There were plenty of &lsquo;holy crap&rsquo; moments for us,&rdquo; he admitted.<br /> <br /> The scares he had behind the wheel were caused by a malfunctioning centre differential in his Subaru STi that effectively kept sending the vehicle into rear-wheel drive mode at random intervals. However, an early retirement by Douglas Gore, the only other JN8 entrant, left Jackson with the freedom to push Gregg.<br /> <br /> With the main event using cumulative times, it was Thomas Hall who took third place. He was then followed by Bobby Marshall and Sebastien Rae who completed the top five. In the championship run it was Rae who garnered third place, Maurice Whittingham fourth, and Hall fifth.<br /> <br /> For event organiser Lawrence Henriques, the sprint was filled with nothing but positives for his team going forward into the 2017 season.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The driver turnout was good, and all seemed to have had a good event&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Henriques thanked the McConnells, owners of the Bog Walk Tru-Juice property, for single-handedly keeping Rallysport alive, and reiterated his club&rsquo;s aim of rebuilding the genre. He explained that the sprint was to build on what was already there and provide the stability that competitors need. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13649639/258704_85393_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 17, 2017 3:00 AM Off-road pleasure http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Off-road-pleasure_89721 JEEP Jamaica and Jamaica Off Road Challenge (JORC) continue in their quest to fill the need for local 4x4-themed events. <br /> <br /> Recently the teams joined forces to host Off Road Kooler Party at JJ&rsquo;s Off-Roading Park in Temple Hall, St Andrew. The event started at midday and ended at 5:00 pm. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It went well, as we had a good turnout with lots of families,&rdquo; Craig Powell, event organiser, told the<br /> <br /> Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine. &ldquo;The feedback has been great, and many of those who turned out were sorry that they didn&rsquo;t have their vehicles ready to take part.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Powell also lamented the fact that his plan to have a truck-and-tractor face-off event was thwarted by the lack of pre-registrations leading up to the day of the event. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We had spent the time preparing the venue to handle the truck-tractor pull. The funny thing was that the people who did show up eventually started informal competitions among themselves,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> He offered the following explanation for the apparent lack of enthusiasm in signing up: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a bit early in the year and a lot of owners don&rsquo;t have their rigs ready.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> He is optimistically looking down the road for JORC&rsquo;s more competitive events scheduled for the rest of the year. The next is the Ultimate Adventure Safari, a two-day event that will see 4x4 lovers tackle the May Pen River, then stay overnight in Jackson Bay, Clarendon, in April. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have four events left for the remainder of the year, and the big ones will be in July and October. July will be our scavenger hunt and in October, a navigational rally in Bog Walk, St Catherine,&rdquo; Powell added. <br /> <br /> &mdash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13649388/258693_85371_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 17, 2017 12:00 AM Toyota Jamaica hosts art competition http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Toyota-Ja-hosts-art-competition_88983 TOYOTA Jamaica is inviting Jamaica&rsquo;s youth to show off their creativity in the 2017 Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. <br /> <br /> Under the theme &lsquo;Draw Your Dream, Drive Your Future&rsquo;, children who are registered and attending school are asked to enter the competition by submitting their drawing and coloured art pieces depicting their vision of transportation in the future. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is the second year that Toyota Jamaica is hosting the Dream Car Art Contest in Jamaica, and we see it as a great way of inspiring our young people to articulate their vision for the future of transportation. A child&rsquo;s imagination is boundless and through art they are able to transform that imagination into a wonderful visual manifestation,&rdquo; said Tracy-Ann Fletcher, assistant marketing manager at Toyota Jamaica. &ldquo;It has become clich&Atilde;&copy; to say the children are our future, but it is an undeniable truth and we at Toyota Jamaica are proud to be a part of a global initiative that validates the important role that children play in shaping the future.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Entries are to be submitted in three categories: under 8 years; 8 to 11 years; and 12 to 15 years old. Nine winners will be selected, three from each category, to win prizes of a Samsung tablet, a wireless speaker and $15,000 book voucher (first place); Samsung tablet and a $10,000 book voucher (second place); and Samsung tablet and a $7,500 book voucher (third place).<br /> <br /> In addition, the winning artworks will be forwarded to Japan for entry in the global competition. Winners in the global competition will be announced in August 2017 and if successful, our Jamaican entrant(s) will be among 30 world winners who, along with their parents or guardians, receive a trip to Japan for the awards ceremony.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This competition encourages young artists to think about a current problem and present a solution via their depiction of a futuristic car in their art,&rdquo; said Fletcher. &ldquo;We are excited about the ability and possibilities for our Jamaican artists to reveal their talent to the world.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Today is the deadline for entries. Entries are to be sent to any Toyota Jamaica location in Kingston, 427 Spanish Town Road or 93 Old Hope Road and Lot 1200 Ironshore Industrial Estate, Montego Bay. Visit www.toyotajamaica.com or Toyota Jamaica on Facebook for more details, entry forms and competition rules. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13649387/258837_85372_repro_w300.jpg Auto Friday, February 17, 2017 12:00 AM PHOTO FINISH: REV-olution in motion http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/REV-OLUTION-in-motion_89708 RED-HOT dealership ATL Automotive announced last week it will be hosting a &ldquo;motorised&rdquo; lifestyle event dubbed REV-olutions at the Audi Terminal on Oxford Road in New Kingston on March 10 to 12, 2017. <br /> <br /> The event, which will be free to the public, will see huge deals on the brands under the company&rsquo;s portfolio, including Audi, Volkswagen, Volkswagen commercial units, BMW and Honda. As usual, our lensman was at the launch to capture a few stills. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13649365/258674_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 17, 2017 3:00 AM Do you agree with the decision to remove tints from PPVs? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Do-you-agree-with-the-decision-to-remove-tints-from-PPVs--------_89658 As of Monday, bus and taxi-operators were required to remove heavy tints from public passenger vehicles (PPVs) following instructions given last week by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in light of the recent upsurge in abductions, allegedly by perpetrators posing as taxi operators. <br /> <br /> The Jamaica Observer West&rsquo;s Alan Lewin took to the streets of western Jamaica earlier this week and asked: &ldquo;Do you agree with the decision to have tints removed from PPVs?&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Here are some of the responses:<br /> <br /> SASHA GAYE RITCHIE, school principal<br /> <br /> Yes, it should be removed so people can see what is going on inside the vehicles.<br /> <br /> JUNIOR REID, businessman<br /> <br /> Yes. It should be removed from all vehicles&hellip; PPV, police, as well as other government owned vehicles. The playing field must be level.<br /> <br /> NEISHA WALCOTT, waitress<br /> <br /> Yes. Because a lot of tinted cars are used to carry out criminal activities.<br /> <br /> FITZROY WILSON, photographer<br /> <br /> Yes. It should be removed. Because when a car is tinted you can&rsquo;t see who is in it, whether it&rsquo;s a criminal or a decent citizen.<br /> <br /> FANTACIA MYRIE, chef<br /> <br /> Yes. I agree with the prime minister. When you remove the tints you have a better view, especially of the cars transporting students.<br /> <br /> CHENEE WATSON, sales representative<br /> <br /> Definitely! Tints should be removed because the person who is driving may have abducted someone, so when the car is tinted you can&rsquo;t know what is going on it.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13646728/258606_85177_repro_w300.jpg Observer West Thursday, February 16, 2017 12:00 AM Commuters at risk http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Communters-at-risk_89124 The Sunday Observer of February 5, 2017 Covering the Courts column reported on a taxi driver who had injured his ex-girlfriend with a knife after accusing her of infidelity.<br /> <br /> After being found guilty by the judge in the St Andrew Parish Court, the driver admitted he was previously convicted for robbery with aggravation. The judge then ordered the police to produce the driver&rsquo;s criminal record.<br /> <br /> In a time when many Jamaicans are concerned about the violent nature of local taxi operators and their connection with the abduction, rape and sometimes murder of young women, the disclosure that a driver was previously convicted for robbery with aggravation raises questions of how much due diligence is involved in the Transport Authority&rsquo;s (TA) requirements for issuing of licences to the owners of taxis and badges to the drivers.<br /> <br /> Our understanding is that owners/operators of these vehicles should provide a copy of their police record to the TA to be approved for these &ldquo;red plate&rdquo; licences.<br /> <br /> The owner not only has to provide a police record to get approved, but also has to name the driver of the vehicle. The driver expected to provide the owner with a police record to get a badge, which is required to drive the taxi.<br /> <br /> The TA says that it has also introduced for public passesnger vehicle (PPV) drivers and conductors one-day training courses, through the Heart Trust/NTA network, after which the successful trainees gets a certificate of participation, which should make him/her eligible to drive these taxis.<br /> <br /> However, there is speculation that majority of drivers in the system currently have never produced a police record for the job; never participated in any of the training courses; and, doesn&rsquo;t even have the badge required to participate in the public passenger transport sector.<br /> <br /> The lack of monitoring of this aspect of the business seems to be one of the main problems bedevilling the PPV sector. For this reason the TA and the police to do more to ensure that the industry has not become a haven for criminals who can easily avoid security monitoring. This has become an issue of passionate interest for commuters.<br /> <br /> The question is, isn&rsquo;t it the job of the public authorities to ensure that commuters using the national transport system are not in danger of being murdered, raped and/or abducted by criminals disguised as taxi drivers?<br /> <br /> The issue also raises questions about the seriousness of successive governments in dealing with the issue.<br /> <br /> The TA has made it mandatory for all route taxi operators to be a members of an approved taxi association in order to have their route licences renewed and to apply for new licences.<br /> <br /> This relation between the organised taxi operations (taxi association) and the TA was formalised in a Memorandum of understanding and code of conduct. <br /> <br /> One of the associations formed during that period was the Route Taxi Association of Jamaica (RTAJ). concerned about the calibre of bus and taxi drivers in Jamaica, they created the Public Passenger Vehicle Modernisation Council and has embarked on a strategic drive to regularise taxi operators. <br /> <br /> This was being done through a new management information system, Driving History Information (DHI), which would be administered through the Public Transport Management System (PTMS).<br /> <br /> RTAJ president Sophia Campbell insisted that, with the implementation of the DHI, which was expected in 2013, a giant step would have been taken as the operators in the PPV sector would be required to get their driving history information check done.<br /> <br /> Under the system, PPV drivers were being asked to register at centres where the PTMS is available. The technology, geared at ascertaining background checks for all drivers in the sector, would screen them to determine their employment eligibility.<br /> <br /> But the digital system was never implemented at the government level, and so today the country&rsquo;s public passenger commuters are still at the mercy of operators and drivers with criminal records. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13295874/229280_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 10, 2017 3:00 AM Sprint to win http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Sprint-to-win_89056 Drivers Rallysport Club (DRC) will kick-start the motorsport season with the first event in their Sprint Championship series on Sunday at the Lydford Mines in St Ann. <br /> <br /> Action is scheduled to start at 10:00 am.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The drivers wanted more variety,&rdquo; Lawrence Henriques, DRC president, told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> This will be the first time in a long while that motorsport has graced the St Ann venue made famous for its tyre turn during the heyday of local rallying. According to route setter Michael Fennell Jr, instead of the standard sprint loop, competitors will face a five- kilometre stretch of narrow twisty gravel road that had long been cut through the now dormant bauxite mine.<br /> <br /> Henriques also said this year, under his leadership the DRC is dedicated to rebuilding rallying in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Sprints used to be warm-ups for rallies; now they&rsquo;ve transitioned into something onto themselves,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> To that effect, the event has made several concessions to its sister sport. Competitors will be provided with pace notes and have the option of a co-driver with them. The first runs will not be timed, giving teams the ability to adjust their notes as necessary.<br /> <br /> As St Ann is mid-point for Kingston and Montego Bay, competitors in the event will see an exciting driver line-up from both sides of the island, most significantly, it will set the tone for the continual rivalry between Kingstonians Joel Jackson and Kyle Gregg.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;My main car isn&rsquo;t ready yet, so I&rsquo;ll be sharing my old Subaru with Christopher McFaralane,&rdquo; Jackson said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13632765/257507_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 10, 2017 12:00 AM Lue crowned karting&rsquo;s finest http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Lue-crowned-karting-s-finest_89068 Ryan Lue was crowned top karter for 2016 on Sunday, February 5, at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston after securing his second Abe Ziadie Memorial Trophy. The trophy is the highest honour from the Jamaica Karting Association and goes to the karter who amassed the most points in their class over the season.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It feels good to win again and it was a better feeling this year than last year to collect the trophy,&rdquo; he told Auto.<br /> <br /> Lue, who took back-to-back wins in the overall standings, over Brandon Finizi-Smith and Senna Summerbell. Lue also took his class win in 125cc Rotax Minixax while having a tough season dealing with challengers such as second placed winner Ryan Chisholm and third place finisher Tommi Gore.<br /> <br /> Lue hopes to do a three-peat at the end of 2017 and will spend his time racing both locally and internationally.<br /> <br /> In the class segments it was Brandon Finizi-Smith who won Comer 80cc. Summerbell was the victor in Rotax Junior holding off the Sirgany pair of Justin and Joshua. Rotax Senior went to Jonathan Law while David Summerbell won the inaugural year of the new lap time indexed Super Rotax class.<br /> <br /> &ndash; Rory Daley http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13632777/257515_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 10, 2017 3:00 AM Riders get life lessons http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Riders-get-life-lessons_89058 Motorcycle Safety workshop Back to Basics (BTB) was held on Sunday, February 5 at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, in continuation of its mantra of educating Jamaica&rsquo;s motorcycle users in order to reduce their rising fatality numbers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our business is like no other. The level of success is dictated not by profit, but by the lives saved,&rdquo; Tarik Kiddoe, BTB conceptualiser, told Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Auto magazine.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We hope the improvements that we see in riding standards after one takes our programme eventually becomes the gold standard in the island, and possibly the Caribbean at large,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> Started in September 2015, Back to Basics has made its rounds across the island, spreading its word of safe motorcycle operation to its participants. The eight-hour programme teaches the necessary survival skills to increase a rider&rsquo;s confidence with the motorcycle. So thorough is the programme that those who wish to upgrade from learner status are able to attempt the riding test as administered by the Island Traffic Authority.<br /> <br /> With their current levels of sponsorship from government agencies such as the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the National Health Fund (NHF), BTB can confirm four planned sessions islandwide. BTB also enjoys sponsorship from Sandals Resorts International.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The amount of classes is limited by our sponsorship budget. However, if we can source more funds we want to expand to monthly training,&rdquo; explained Kiddoe.<br /> <br /> The aim for 2017 is over 700 riders trained, as Kiddoe and his team will tackle commercial training for companies with motorcycle bearer fleets.<br /> <br /> Present at the launch were several stakeholders in having safer roads, including Mike Henry &mdash; minister of transport and mining; Orville Johnson, executive chairman &mdash; Insurance Association of Jamaica; Chief Inspector Clive McDonald &mdash; Island Traffic Authority; and Dr Lucien Jones, NRSC vice chairman. All three lamented the steady rise in motorcycle deaths and pledged their support for the initiative that BTB has taken up. <br /> <br /> Kiddoe also took the time out to thank the catalyst for the BTB Workshop series, Jo-Ann Martin. She received the Back to Basics Angel Award, which was then renamed in her honour.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;She doesn&rsquo;t even ride or have a son. She just saw all the young riders in her community dying or suffering major injuries and encouraged me to take my knowledge across Jamaica,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> Since January, 12 motorcycle fatalities have been reported. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13632769/257510_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 10, 2017 3:00 AM PHOTO FINISH - HONDA CIVIC: Luxury, sportiness and practicality http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/HONDA-CIVIC--Luxury--sportiness-and-practicality-_88981 The 10th-generation Honda Civic is a refinement of one of Honda&rsquo;s oldest nameplates. The new Civic blurs the lines between luxury, sportiness, and everyday practicality. While defined as a compact sedan, it&rsquo;s anything but such, offering plenty of passenger and cargo space to match or best its class rivals. <br /> <br /> All units come equipped with remote engine start, LED daytime running lights, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, WiFi connectivity, and HDMI Inputs to allow full use of the 7-inch touchscreen and starts at only $4.65 million. <br /> <br /> To book a test drive, contact Honda Jamaica at 1-888-ATL-SERV, or visit the showrooms at 47-49 Hagley Park Road or Units 1-3 Bogue City Centre in Montego Bay, St James. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13632688/257319_83988_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 10, 2017 3:00 AM FJ Cruiser: Rough, rugged and sexy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/FJ-Cruiser--Rough--rugged-and-sexy_88364 FROM 1960 to its final production year in 1984, the Toyota FJ40-series Land Cruiser became one of the most iconic off-road models. Its successor, the FJ Cruiser, continues the legacy.<br /> <br /> Retro is cool and the 2017 FJ Cruiser passes the visual test with ease, drawing on its rich history. The front proudly mimicks the original&rsquo;s classic round headlights and grill. Smaller cues, such as the near vertical windshield, will be easily recognised by aficionados. The overall chunky styling gives it a cool toy-like look. Significantly, it updates its predecessor&rsquo;s two-door-only format with a set of well-hidden suicide doors, so while it retains its coupe appearance, it&rsquo;s not impractical for passengers wanting to access the rear.<br /> <br /> Once the doors are open, the interior offers the same as the exterior; a modern take on the old with the expected creature comforts. To the casual buyer it might look sparse, given its $8-million dollar price tag, but those keen on the off-road scene will notice the FJ hasn&rsquo;t given into overdesign and is aimed at those seeking the genuine old-school 4x4 experience. The dashboard has simple shapes accenting its appearance, but sports big, well-placed buttons on its vertical face that can be easily reached with little thought, a key necessity when crawling through whatever obstacles it will eventually face. Trim pieces are made of hard plastics and along with a cloth interior, and rubber-lined trunk means it can take abuse and be cleaned with ease.<br /> <br /> Ease continues on the road as the only motor, a 4-litre V6, is blessed with enough low-end torque to pull the FJ Cruiser through traffic and ensure it can handle the least travelled paths. While it does look big, it never feels unwieldy on road and its raised ride height give a wonderful commanding view from which to watch out for obstacles. Not that they need avoiding, as the suspension is supple enough to keep passengers in comfort.<br /> <br /> However, the FJ Cruiser is no pretender to the crowd. Its off-road credibility is 100 per cent, as it&rsquo;s based on the modified version of the Land Cruise Prado platform. Where it differs from its other modern brothers is that it links to the past. There&rsquo;s little electronic assistance unlike the modern Toyota off-roader. Engaging the several four-wheel drive modes requires shifting a sturdy control lever, and only the locking the differentials for permanent four-wheel drive requires a button press. This gives it a decidedly throwback feel on the rough stuff.<br /> <br /> The FJ Cruiser may sport a retro design, but it&rsquo;s far from old. It modernises itself for the current generation with comfort, convenience, and safety for regular on-road use. On the other hand, it doesn&rsquo;t forsake its heritage, but instead of turning the drive into an automated experience, those looking to be engaged while off-roading will be delightfully pleased by the FJ Cruiser. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13615902/256116_w300.jpg Local Auto Monday, February 06, 2017 12:00 AM What women AUTO know ... about car care http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know-----about-car-care What women AUTO know, this week, explores the options of proper car care with Shelley-Ann Farquharson manager of Powtronics on Half Way Tree Road in Kingston 5. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13618591/auto_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 03, 2017 4:41 PM Best of both worlds http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Best-of-both-worlds_88385 Model Melissa Fullwood is having the best of both worlds in the new Audi S3, as it blends high-performance and high-tech know-how into a zesty, sporty compact sedan. <br /> <br /> With 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, the Audi S3 is powerful and is sure to make a statement wherever you go. What&rsquo;s more? With the ATL Automotive MORE Sale, with the purchase of the S3 or any on-the-ground Audi models, you&rsquo;ll get more value with five years warranty, five years service, five years roadside assistance, three years free fuel, and 25 per cent off insurance with GK General Insurance.<br /> <br /> Contact Audi Jamaica to book your test drive and make your deposit at 1C-3 Oxford Road in Kingston or Units 1-3 Bogue City Centre, Montego Bay or call 1-888-ATL-SERV or visit www.atlautomotive.com. <br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13616379/sweet_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 03, 2017 3:00 AM Spotlight on riders http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/SPOTLIGHT-ON-RIDERS_88374 STATISTICS from the Road Safety Unit (RSU) indicates nine of the 27 people killed on the island&rsquo;s roadway since the start of the year were motorcycle drivers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;None were wearing helmets... and speed is the major reason for all the crashes,&rdquo; said Kenute Hare, director of the RSU in the Ministry of Transport and Mining. &ldquo;Four drivers were killed and none were wearing seatbelts.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a major challenge with people not wearing seatbelts and helmets. They aren&rsquo;t giving themselves a fighting chance,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> With this in mind, motorcyle drivers will take centre stage at workshop hosted by Back to Basics (BTB) at The Worthington, Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, on Sunday. It is scheduled for an 8:30 pm start.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We support it because it&rsquo;s important,&rdquo; said Hare. &ldquo;The motorcycle drivers will have an opportunity to get technical and behavioural expertise from certified motorcycle trainers... it should make a big difference.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Tarik Kiddoe, BTB conceptualiser, said the idea for the workshop came out of a dire need for training.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This level of training and knowledge is not generally available... There are some motorcycle operators who use this a means of living... They need to know the fundamentals to be on the roads. One broken leg can cost more than $1 million to repair.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Kiddoe, 40, has been riding since 11. A pilot by profession, he first conducted the sessions in September 2015.<br /> <br /> He said at the end of the all-day session certificates would be handed out.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Riders can come with their documentation; members of the Island Traffic Authority will be there. At the end of the session, participants licences would be upgraded from a &lsquo;Learner&rsquo;.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> To register, call 793-2829 or zawdie.com.btbw.<br /> <br /> Recently, Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Parliament spoke to the revision of the new Road Traffic Act, which is aimed at aligning its road traffic laws with international best practices.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We cannot continue to lose our people to fatal crashes which are largely preventable. Road traffic deaths continue to be a narrative which has a significant negative impact on our citizens and has almost become a part of our nation&rsquo;s landscape,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> He noted that approximately 50 per cent of total road fatalities in both 2015 and 2016 were pedestrians and motorcyclists.<br /> <br /> Approximately 56 per cent of fatalities in 2015 and 55 per cent in 2016 were in the 15-44 year age range.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These are the most productive years of our citizens and it has negative impact on our economic growth. It is of note that in both years, males accounted for approximately 84 per cent,&rdquo; the Prime Minister said.<br /> <br /> Statistics from the RSU revealed that the main causes of fatal crashes were: excessive speeding; drivers failing to keep to the correct side of the roadway (overtaking); and, of note, pedestrian error.<br /> <br /> In 2014, 331 fatalities were recorded, while in 2015, 382 fatalities were recorded and there was a minima decrease in 2016, with 379 deaths recorded as a result of road fatalities.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is the responsibility, not only of our road users but our regulators, road developers, law enforcement officers and all citizens of this country, to ensure that we reverse this worrying trend,&rdquo; Holness said.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Brian Bonitto and Balford Henry<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13616408/215902_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, February 03, 2017 3:00 AM What women AUTO know ...about tyres and rims - Pt 2 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/What-women-AUTO-know----about-tyres-and-rims Our expert at ATL Automotive today continues the discussion on tyre care http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13602494/autooo_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 4:40 PM BMW X4: practicality meets style http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/BMW-X4--practicality-meets-style_87677 When the original BMW X6 was launched in 2009, it was a revolution. Its distinctive styling combining couple-like looks with a larger SUV frame went on to create a niche that has exploded into its own market segment. <br /> <br /> As the X6 continues on its own path, there was only one option: move the success down the line, thus the 2017 X4.<br /> <br /> On the exterior alone, there is little doubt that this is a BMW as it shares the design language of its bigger brother the X6. In truth, its looks like one expects, a photocopy of the larger SUV on 75 per cent. This isn&rsquo;t a bad thing. It&rsquo;s just a response to buyers who want all of the attributes of the X6, but in a more manageable package for them. Bottom-line, it works as the X4 retains the swooping rear lines of a sports coupe.<br /> <br /> Inside, its business as usual, with everything interior having that BMW premium look and feel, from the sculpted dashboard to the subtle wood and piano black-trim pieces. BMW&rsquo;s excellent infotainment system has been one of the best and falls easily into hand with easy USB, Apple iPod, Phone and Bluetooth connectivity on demand. One can also dig deep into the car&rsquo;s settings or watch the cool animations for the driving modes.<br /> <br /> And driving is where the BMW X4 excels. Its smaller stature endows it with a more car-like character. A character that changes depending on which mode the vehicle is in. In ECO-PRO and COMFORT mode, it&rsquo;s as sedate as one expects, cossetting passengers away from stresses of traffic with STOP/START and AUTO-Brake technology. In these modes, the luxury of the BMW X4 comes to the surface. However, the next two SPORT and SPORT+ live up to their names as throttle actuation increases allowing easy harnessing of the 180bhp from the 2-litre turbocharged engine. Paired with a quick shifting seven-speed automatic transmission, it can exploit small gaps in traffic or dispatch long straights of highway without a thought from the driver.<br /> <br /> The complete picture of the BMW X4 isn&rsquo;t one of duplication but rather one of uniqueness. By making it smaller, its gained a level of accessibility by those caught between the decision of a premium sedan or a full-sized Sport Utility Vehicle. It&rsquo;s practical and sporty, but most of all its stylish. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13600250/254619_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM NEW DAY FOR BMW http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/NEW-DAY-FOR-BMW_87627 MONTEGO BAY, tourist capital of Jamaica, is renowned for its sun, sand, and sea. And, courtesy of ATL Automotive, you may now add &lsquo;showroom&rsquo; to that list. <br /> <br /> The resort town saw the opening of its first BMW showroom in that neck of the woods last Friday evening. <br /> <br /> Dubbed ATL Autobahn West, the four-car facility is located in Bogue City Centre in St James. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is significant for many reasons,&rdquo; Adam Stewart, CEO of ATL Automotive, told the audience comprising government officials, business people and young professionals. &ldquo;When I moved to Montego Bay 14 years ago, some of you may remember, the process was to drive 3 1/2 hours to Kingston for them (the dealers) to tell you they don&rsquo;t have the part for your car. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Many times Kingston becomes the centrepiece of everything in Jamaica... there should be no difference in Montego Bay. We should have all the same facilities and amenities. Montego Bay has been the fastest- growing city in the entire Caribbean for the last five years. The city has been booming. We have our challenges, but we have some members of the civil service that are dealing with those challenges,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> Stewart &mdash; also CEO for ATL Group and the award-winning Sandals Resorts International &mdash; is son of hotel mogul Gordon &ldquo;Butch&rdquo; Stewart. <br /> <br /> He thanked the BMW Group for having the confidence in the ATL Group to agree to represent the brand. <br /> <br /> Hernando Carvajal, BMW Group&rsquo;s head of sales in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, said that ATL Automotive&rsquo;s request came at a time when they were critically examining the brand. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We were present in the region. But we knew we could do better... a lot better,&rdquo; said Carvajal in his address. &ldquo;And this letter (from ATL) came at the right time and it certainly piqued our interest. One of the things we liked&hellip; it came from a group that was based in the hotel industry; customer service is paramount in this business, so we wanted to improve what we were doing. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we met the group this only improved. We met Adam and his team, and the passion they brought set them apart from everybody else. And it is this passion that keeps driving the group to do better, and this is one of the reasons why we&rsquo;re here,&rdquo; said Carvajal. <br /> <br /> Also in attendance at the showroom opening were Dirk Biehler, BMW Group sales channel development and customer relations director for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean; and Federico Bangerter, BMW Group sales area manager for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. <br /> <br /> Under the terms of acquisition, ATL Automotive, through its BMW and MINI division ATL Autobahn, will serve as a central hub to include the distribution of cars, parts and service support in Jamaica. The company is master dealer for the Caribbean region with an additional eight other countries: Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Barbados, Aruba, St Lucia, and Suriname. <br /> <br /> Earlier that same day, Stewart had broken ground for a US$50-million hotel and showroom located on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our company has a history of going in and going in hard. It has been a long day, but an amazing day,&rdquo; Stewart declared. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13600218/254625_in_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM New showroom to open in December http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/New-showroom-to-open-in-December_87686 ATL Automotive Group broke ground for the future home of BMW and MINI on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew, last Friday.<br /> <br /> The five-acre plot will also see the construction of an AC Hotel by Marriott. The total investment is US$50 million.<br /> <br /> In addressing the audience, Adam Stewart &mdash; CEO of ATL Group and Sandals Resorts International &ndash; said the showroom would be opened in December of this year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We started this company because we believed Jamaica deserved better and BMW and MINI owners in Jamaica merit the same exceptional experience offered by the two brands throughout the world. When our customers choose us it&rsquo;s an investment; not just in the brands they love but in our people and our operations. This warrants world-class service, which has always been a commitment, but with our new showrooms will be significantly enhanced,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The site is a huge undertaking that will involve hundreds of Jamaicans for the design and construction, while creating new opportunities for businesses that manufacture and supply the goods required for building and maintaining the infrastructure. We will also seek to increase our full-time BMW and MINI talent when we officially open our new showroom doors in December 2017,&rdquo; he continued.<br /> <br /> The new $40-m hotel, AC Kingston, is slated to open in Winter 2019.<br /> <br /> ATL Autobahn will continue to operate from the temporary facility on Orchard Road until the new facility opens. <br /> <br /> In addition to BMW and MINI, ATL Automotive are authorised dealers for Honda, Audi and Volkswagen. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13600255/254648_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM Better than you could ever dream http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Better-than-you-could-ever-dream_87784 IT has been said the modern-day iPhone has more computing power than what was used to launch the first man on the moon mission. Such a seismic shift can be equated with the new 2016 Toyota Fortuner. From its narrow alien-like LED headlights to the swoopy rear lights, the 2016 Fortuner is bold confident step away eschewing a physical link to its Hilux origins.<br /> <br /> If the exterior is a revelation, then the interior is shock and awe. The Fortuner is its own beast filled with stitched soft-touch brown and black leather, a stylish dashboard, and more shiny badges triumphantly screaming the newness. With standard keyless entry, there is only a button to press once comfortable in the powered seats. The start-up is an exercise in pomp and pageantry as soft blue lights make the instruments glow and an opening animation featuring the artistic outline of the vehicle plays in the 4.4-inch TFT screen in the binnacle. From the driver&rsquo;s seat, every major control is within reach or accessible from the chunky leather-wrapped steering wheel.<br /> <br /> Rear passengers sit a bit higher, however, as with these types of seven-seaters, the third row is best left to small children. There are plenty of cup holders, cubbyholes, and connections to power whatever electronic device carried along the trip. Powered rear-door means access to the cargo is a one-button press effort. With everything in place, the Fortuner can waft away in total comfort via its 2.7-litre engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Flexibility is the key as drivers can take control manually via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, or switch between the three self-explanatory modes, NORMAL, ECO, or POWER.<br /> <br /> On-road, the target was met. Those that opt for the four-wheel drive model can take to heart that the Fortuner is no pretender to the throne. Coupled with the Hilux&rsquo;s drivetrain technology is your friendly electronic four-wheel drive activation and Hill Descent control. Fully laden or just for fun, it can tackle trails that would test your willingness to risk a vehicle with a base price of nearly $8.5 million. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13601961/Screen-Shot-2017-01-27-at-11-31-21-AM_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM Shopping for my Dreram Car: Finding the one http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Finding-the-one_87736 Set a budget for yourself. You do not want to leave a dealership with a car that you are not going to be able to afford next month. Make sure that you take the time that you need to sit down with your finances and accurately lay out how much you are going to be able to afford when it comes to your dream car.<br /> <br /> Don&rsquo;t forget to test drive a few cars. You may have always dreamed of a certain model of a car, but have you driven it? Take time to look through your options, give them a test drive and make sure you are totally happy with the car that you decide to take home.<br /> <br /> Shop around. You may have only one dream car and know that it is the dream car for you, but there are many of that same car out there. Take time to shop around and get to know where the car is that you want to purchase.<br /> <br /> Drive a hard bargain. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to go back and forth with a sales person. You want to make sure that you are getting the best deal that you can and that may require some bartering.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> After you find the car that you love and you know it is the right price for you, enjoy your car. Take your car out and enjoy the time and thought that you put into your car. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13601941/dcar_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM PHOTO: BMW&rsquo;S NEW DAY http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/PHOTO--BMW-S-NEW-DAY_87702 (From left) Hernando Carvajal, BMW Group&rsquo;s head of sales in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean; Petrina Purser, head of business &mdash; ATL Autobahn West; Adam<br /> <br /> Stewart, CEO of ATL Group and Sandals Resorts International; Dirk Biehler, sales channel development and customer relations director; Federico Bangerter, BMW Group<br /> <br /> sales area manager for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean; and David Seivright, head of business of ATL Autobahn, lift their glasses in celebration of the opening of<br /> <br /> ATL Autobahn West in Montego Bay, St James, last Friday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington) http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13600223/254633_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM PHOTO FINISH: Enter Autobahn West http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/PHOTO-FINISH--Enter-Autobahn-West_87617 MONTEGO Bay was abuzz with excitement last Friday as innovative new-car dealers ATL Automotive opened the first BMW showroom in that section of the island.<br /> <br /> Dubbed ATL Autobahn West, the four-car showroom is located in Bogue City Centre in Jamaica&rsquo;s tourist capital. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13600177/254475_81378_repro_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM Porsche... Dare to Dream http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Porsche----Dare-to-Dream_87789 THE words, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, convertible, and sports car, are usually the realm of the six-figure supercar. However, when Porsche decided to add the numbers 718, which endows the company&rsquo;s rich motorsport history to the Cayman, there was little question the direction the car had to go. Those looking for the full experience will have to add a few more key elements beginning with the letter S.<br /> <br /> On its own, just having the S shoots the 718 to 2.5-litre turbocharged engine with an output of 350bhp and a screaming redline of 7,500 rpm. Still, it&rsquo;s not just the power, as like its namesake, the Boxster is a technological marvel using systems such as a Variable Turbine Geometry, and Dynamic Boost that works similar to the anti-lag mechanisms normally found on high- level rally cars. These grace the four-cylinder motor, nestled low in the centre of the of 718, with the response of a naturally aspirated engine, and if equipped with the optional sports exhaust, the aural excitement that only the random crackles from an exhaust can have on a driving enthusiast.<br /> <br /> And that&rsquo;s where the 718 Boxster S gets its full accolades. As a comfortable two-seat cruiser for daily use or the Sunday morning drive, it&rsquo;s at the top of the list. However, prod the throttle hard, roof up or down, and the aggressive sporty character kicks in fully with all the drama one would expect from a sports car. The 718 Boxster S isn&rsquo;t a sporty convertible. It&rsquo;s a full-fledged performance car that is never boring or uncomfortable. Its appeal runs the gamut from those with an inner Hans Stuck, or those just wanting to enjoy open-top motoring. Just remember to pack light. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13601954/skcp_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM Your Dream Car... in HiDef http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/auto/Your-Dream-Car----in-HiDef_87787 For the PlayStation generation, terms like 2-litre, turbocharged, four-wheel-drive instantly drum up some Asian four-door econobox tarted up to play racer on the street. Those from the Atari age would easily remind that generation rallying was a European and gentlemanly pursuit.<br /> <br /> That much is clear at a simple glance at the Audi S3 with its clean body lines devoid of the unnecessary over-the-top elements so common to its rivals. No silly spoilers, just subtle aerodynamic aids littered around car culminating in a purposeful front grille and lower bumper ready to feed the boosted beast within.<br /> <br /> Coddled in luxury and refinement would lead one to believe that there is compromise elsewhere. Raise the MMI&rsquo;s screen out of the dashboard, select dynamic from one of the five modes available, at which point a prod of the throttle will erase that thought. There&rsquo;s no compromise on the S3&rsquo;s performance.<br /> <br /> 290bhp may not sound like much to the power-obsessed, but the S3 eats the 60mph sprint in 4.8 seconds aided in no small part by the 280lb/ft constantly available between 1,350 and 4,500 rpm. This all flows seamlessly through 6-speed S-tronic Dual Clutch gearbox. Quattro, Audi&rsquo;s intelligent all-wheel-drive system maintains traction at license-losing speeds. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13601952/filename_w300.jpg Local Auto Friday, January 27, 2017 3:00 AM