A South African-built 2004 Volkswagen Polo Classic (saloon) has reached the one million kilometer (621,000 miles) mark – after 8 years of fault and accident-free motoring. Sixty-seven year old veteran salesman Gerrie Esterhuizen owns the car and awaited the milestone reading with anticipation. ‘We always wondered what would happen when the speedometer hit the million-kilometre mark,’ he said at a VIP visit with his wife Magriet to the Volkswagen factory in Uitenhage, where his car was made.
Volkswagen Group South Africa Managing Director, David Powels, presented the Esterhuizens with a new instrument cluster (above) and their vehicle was given a special overnight paint, dent removal, and general brush-up package under the eye of Volkswagen South Africa’s Production Director Tom du Plessis.
‘After 999999.9 kilometres, the speedometer just shows six dashes, although the trip meter carries on working,’ Magriet commented. She has been Gerrie’s constant companion as he travels as a salesman from their home is Soutpan, near Bloemfontein, over the roads of the Free State and parts of the Northern Cape, North West and Lesotho.
‘We travel up to 800km (497 miles) a day from our home and back, often spending more than 10 hours on the road and seeing clients, mainly in small towns in our sales territory,’ Gerrie said. ‘These days we average between 8000 and 10,000km (4970 and 6213 miles) a month. In previous years we drove more than 12,000km (7456 miles) a month.’
Gerrie and Magriet have kept meticulous records of their million-kilometre driving odyssey, too: ‘We reckon the Polo used 66,666 litres (14,664 gallons) of fuel to get to the million mark. That’s an excellent figure of about 700km (434 miles) per 50-litre tank, or 15km a litre (6.6km/l, 43mpg). Working out the cost over the eight years at an average of R8/l, that’s about R533,000 in fuel costs,’ Gerrie states.
‘But the cost of maintaining the car has been so low we can’t calculate that. We have had two new fuel pumps fitted – one at 200,000km (124,274 miles) and the other at 800,000 (497,097 miles), but the engine has never been opened since we bought the car at Alan Hudson Motors in Nelspruit. Its clutch, starter, alternator, exhaust system, radiator and oil pump are all original. We always ensure that genuine VW parts are used when the vehicle goes for service. I have never experienced such outstanding reliability in any other car I have driven.’
[Source: Volkswagen South Africa]