16 days, a cumulative 61000 km and five countries – that was the challenge faced by the new General Grabber AT, Launched into the local market as part of the General Tyre 4x4 African Adventure and is now available for consumers.
Continental has invested a lot of money into the General Tyre brand recently, and has brought out a completely new range in the US and in Europe, both in passenger car and, more specifically, in the 4x4 segment.
“With this superb new range of off-road tyres, we had to do something with the brand in South Africa. It has a strong reputation locally, but has been a rather low-key contender in the 4x4 sector for some time,” explains Russel Stewart, marketing manager for Continental Tyre SA. “Therefore it’s the right time to relaunch General Tyre and bring it back into the market as a very competitive 4x4 tyre.”
The unique, family-oriented General Tyre 4x4 African Adventure provided the ideal platform to do just that, and was sponsored by Continental Tyre SA and hosted by Adventure Junkies. “It’s important for us to experience and show our kids this amazing continent. We really need to show them Africa,” Stewart states. “You don’t need to go overseas to have a good time, as we have so much abundance right here on our doorstep.”
The expedition departed from the Continental head office in Port Elizabeth on 16 March, with the convoy of 10 vehicles, comprising seven Toyotas, two Isuzus and one Land Rover (as well as two off-road trailers) all fitted with the latest generation General Grabber AT, in a mix of 16 and 17-inch sizes.
The route took the group on the most direct route into Botswana, with seven days spent in this adventure paradise. This included camping at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, travelling through the spectacular but very wet Makgadikgadi Pans and spending a night at Kubu Island, overnighting at Savuti Camp in the Chobe National Park as well as two days enjoying the rich array of wildlife at the Chobe Safari Lodge in Kasane.
Following a brief visit to the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, it was on to Zambia for the ensuing four days. The group spent the first night at the stunning Nina Lodge & Fishing Camp on the bank of the mighty Zambezi River. The following day the convoy negotiated a remote and largely unused 4x4 trail on route to the Kafue National Park, and set up camp in the middle of the bush for a truly memorable “Out of Africa” experience.
The following day the African Adventure made its way to The Moorings Farm and Campsite just outside the small town of Monze for the community project scheduled for the next day. Although the initial intention was to visit an AIDS orphanage in Mongu, flood waters in the Barotse Plains had made the route north impassable, so the Malambu Middle Basic School became the focal point.
Owned by Thea Savory, The Moorings Farm has around 600 labourers and family members living on site, including some 240 children. There is an AIDS infection rate of over 30-percent amongst the adults.
The school was set up by the Savory family, and is supported by the Mwabuka educational fund registered in The Netherlands (http://www.mwabuka.org/). It is now also formally registered with Zambia’s Ministry of Education, and caters for learners up to Grade 7.
According to Savory, Mwabuka means “I see you”, or “You have risen”, and the aim of the fund is to give the children an opportunity to gain the essential skills for a better high school education and a successful career beyond the farm compound. Accordingly, they are currently raising funds to install electricity, build a library and create a computer centre for the children.
All of the African Adventure participants donated a variety of books, writing materials, clothing, soccer balls and essential supplies for the school. Additionally, the African Adventure families committed R17100 in support of the building project – a figure that was then matched by Continental Tyre SA for a total of R34200, which was greatly welcomed by deputy headmaster Kennedy Mboozi. Sustainability of this project is a key focus for Continental Tyre SA, and there will be ongoing monitoring and support for this initiative.
“While we are able to enjoy the privilege of experiencing this beautiful country on a 4x4 adventure, it’s important to give something back to Africa,” Stewart says. “The Malambu School is doing amazing work with the little they have. We hope to make a real impact on these children, and create the foundation for a brighter future.”
Following a spirited soccer match between the kids and the Adventure participants, the convoy then made its way to Lake Kariba for the night, soaking up what is truly one of Africa’s most breathtaking destinations. The next day the General Tyre 4x4 African Adventure crossed the border into its fifth country, Zimbabwe, for a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls, made popular by legendary African explorer David Livingstone.
By day 14 it was time to start the long trek home, with the convoy heading back through Botswana and returning to Port Elizabeth, as scheduled, on the evening of 31 March.
That the General Grabber AT was the star of the show is beyond doubt, with the 10-vehicle expedition having covered a final distance of 6134,7 km, or a cumulative 61347 km – of which almost a third was off-road.
All 44 tyres coped exceptionally well with the heavily laden vehicles and trailers, confidently tacking everything from high-speed tar to torrential downpours, soft sand to sticky mud, punishing gravel to overgrown bush tracks. Remarkably, there wasn’t a single puncture or any sign of tyre damage, complemented by an exceptionally low rate of wear and – even more notably – not one vehicle got stuck throughout the trip.
“It was great to see how the General Grabber AT performed on the Adventure,” Stewart comments. “Everyone was astounded by the road holding during the huge downpours we drove through. They were just as impressed when we went through the treacherous mud.
“We’ve had so much good feedback from everyone on the trip regarding all aspects of the Grabber AT, which confirms its status as an extremely well balanced, competent and very competitive all-rounder, and a serious contender in the 4x4 sector.”
View the General Tyre 4x4 African Adventure daily updates, trip log and pictures on www.facebook.com/continentalsa
With sales of €30.5 billion in 2011, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tyres and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has approximately 164,000 employees in 46 countries.
The Tyre division includes the Passenger and Light Truck, the Commercial Vehicle Tyre and the Industrial Tyre business units, as well as the Two-Wheel Tyre activities. As one of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers with more than 41,000 employees, the division achieved cumulative sales of more than €8.8 billion in 2011. The Tyre division currently has 22 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility.
Continental is one of the leading manufacturers of passenger and light truck tyres in Europe and the world’s fourth largest passenger tyre manufacturer in the original equipment and replacement market. The product development focus of the Continental premium brand is to optimize all safety-relevant characteristics, while simultaneously minimizing rolling resistance.
The Commercial Vehicle Tyre business unit had sales of more than €1.8 billion in 2011, making it one of the largest manufacturers of truck, bus and industrial tyres worldwide.
Continental’s Tyre division is an official sponsor of the German DFB Cup, the UEFA EURO 2012TM in Poland and the Ukraine, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
For further details please contact Rene Olivier, PR & Communications Manager, Continental Tyre SA on 083 656 9172