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Hyundai reveals new Santa Cruz pickup ahead of April 15 launch

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The long wait is nearly over: Hyundai’s 2022 Santa Cruz, a combination SUV and pickup truck, will make its debut April 15.

The new Santa Cruz has been rumoured since the early 2010s and has existed in concept form since 2015.

That is more than nine years of speculation and more than six years of a concept version existing before the production vehicle ever makes its debut.

The Acura NSX had a similarly lengthy process from rumor to concept to production; Hyundai is likely hoping the Santa Cruz has better luck when it comes to sales.

The latest images show the grille design is cribbed from the recently redesigned Tucson, with lighting integrated into the grille itself.

Indeed, the production version has taken so long to appear that the last concept seen from 2015 has a grille design that’s now outdated compared with Hyundai’s current design language.

Analysts at the cars.com says the new Santa Cruz looks in profile like it might be closer in size to the Santa Fe — and it seems to share a similar wheel design with the current Santa Fe, too. We can also see that the production version will have four full doors, unlike the concept. If the Santa Cruz is indeed very close to the Santa Fe’s length, it would be significantly shorter than many current traditional mid-size pickups.

Hyundai says, “The 2022 Santa Cruz will break new ground within the SUV, truck and crossover segments by offering a new category of vehicle unlike anything else in the US market.”

Without knowing more details, like just what Hyundai defines as a “flexible open bed,” we can’t be sure how different the Santa Cruz will be from the Honda Ridgeline pickup or past SUV-based offerings from Ford and GM. Depending on its size, the Santa Cruz may also face competition from the rumoured — and more traditional — Ford Maverick compact pickup truck.

-Cars.com

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Park and pay returns to Abuja streets in May – FCTA

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja says its controversial on-street park-and-pay policy wil be reintroduced next month (May).

This is coming almost seven years after it suspended the policy following a court order.

Acting Secretary, FCT Transportation Secretariat, Usman Yahaya, announced this on Tuesday in Abuja, saying the parking policy would bring about sanity in the city.

The policy was in 2014 rejected by some residents who complained about alleged high handedness of its enforcing personnel and  queried the ownership of companies being used for ticketing.

Some aggrieved persons approached an FCT High Court which stopped the FCTA from further collecting fees from residents for the street parking in the metropolis.

Yahya, however, explained that the on-street parking scheme, to be managed by four companies, would commence in May 2021.

Yahaya said, “On-street parking management was suspended in 2014 as a result of an FCT High Court ruling that declared the operation illegal because it was not specifically mentioned in the 2005 FCT Road Transport Regulations. “The scheme was riddled with so many complexities, the operators were accused of many ill acts, but we have resolved the issues, so in May this year the scheme will kick-off.

“In the past seven years, the Administration had embarked on various measures aimed at addressing the concerns raised by the Court and the public with regards to the scheme, the FCT Administration in collaboration with its legal team produced FCT Parking Regulations 2019 to amend the parking section of 2005 FCT Road Transport Regulations,” he said.

He stated that the four operators will cover the whole Federal Capital City which would be divided into districts for proper enforcement.

Yahaya admitted that prior to the judgment, the scheme was riddled with countless complaints as the operators were accused of dubious, unprofessional and unscrupulous acts.

“It was based on these shortcomings that the Suntrust Savings and Loans Ltd challenged the powers of the FCTA to impose levies on motorists that parked their cars on the FCT streets.

“Justice Peter Affen in his judgment, commended and described the ‘park and pay scheme’, which was introduced for the purpose of effective traffic management as laudable but ruled that the scheme was unknown to the FCT laws.

“He blamed the authorities for not backing the scheme with adequate laws.”

He however said the new licensed operators be civil, respectful and operate within the confines of the law.

Director, FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services, Wadata Bodinga, also promised that parking lots would henceforth be provided, while the fine collectors would be well trained.

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Updated: Nigeria builds first solar-powered vehicle charging station in Sokoto

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The Nigeria Automotive Design and Development Council has inaugurated the first 100 per cent solar-powered vehicle charging station in Nigeria.

Director-General of the NADDC, Mr Jelani Aliyu, said at the unveiling in Sokoto on Thursday, “This is the beginning of a new era for Nigeria as it marks the realisation of government’s desire to build sustainable technology in the country.

“Moreover, our vision/mission at the NADDC is not just to enable the production of vehicles in Nigeria but also producing the best and most advanced technology vehicles in the country.”

He said the pilot project was inaugurated at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto (UDUS) in collaboration with the institution due to the interest of the university and the peculiar weather of the area needed for the project.

Jelani said, “Today, we have inaugurated the first 100 per cent solar energy powered charging station in Nigeria.

“The reason for choosing Sokoto for the pilot project is in consideration of the harsh weather. However, such weather has become a blessing for us as we can extract and power our homes, offices and even for industrial consumption.”

Aliyu also said the NADDC was partnering three universities in the country, UDUS, the University of Lagos and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, to advance the research work in renewable energy.

“With the current development, Nigeria can power her economy exclusively with renewable energy and by the time that is achieved, the challenges of power will become history in the country,” he stated.

The DG said that it was an opportunity for the institutions to utilise the very best in research to enable them to come up with more advanced technologies in the automotive industry.

Vice Chancellor of UDUS, Prof. Lawal Bilbis, described the inauguration as a historic landmark for the institution, Sokoto State and Nigeria.

Bilbis, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ibrahim Magawata, said the university would ensure more collaborative measures to enable he NADDC to achieve the desired dreams.

“We are hoping that these collaborations will usher in favourable results to enable Nigerians, even in remote villages, to rely on the gift of nature for energy.”

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Transporters cry foul over alleged diversion of N10bn COVID-19 bailout

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There is growing discontent among transport operators over reported disbursement of N10bn funds promised them by the Federal Government to ease the effects of last year’s prolonged COVID-19 lockdown on their business.

While the Federal Government claimed to have released the money to transporters, luxury bus owners and city bus operators said none of them had received the intervention funds.

The transport operators said they had continued to wait for the funds in vain after submitting documents to the Federal Government for verification as requested.

PTONA had earlier in 2020 estimated a loss of about N200bn in revenue just in 10 weeks of the lockdown.

Another major operator who spoke under anonymity said that when they approached the Federal Ministry of Transportation, they were directed to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

On getting to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the source disclosed that they were told that the money had been disbursed to Keke-Napep riders

Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria also claimed its members had not benefited from the fund.

Confirming their position, the National President of RTEAN, Alhaji Musa Muhammed, said he was not aware of the funds disbursement.

“I am not aware of any N10bn palliative. We have not seen anything. The only money which some of our members got was the N30,000 MSME fund and not many people got the money,” Muhammed said.

It was learnt that among the operators who have been asked to submit documents for verification were the interstate luxury bus operators under the aegis of the PTONA.

Having lost billions of naira due to the 98-day lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had expected they would deploy the palliative to beef up their business but they are yet to benefit.

In a letter dated March 28, 2021 addressed to the Minister of State for Transportation,

Gbemisola Saraki, and signed by the Deputy President, Emeka Mamah, the group pleaded for the verification of two key issues as it concerned the funds.

First, PTONA asked the minister to correct apparent confusion in treating the N10 billion covid-19 palliative fund approved for Road Transporters as MSME Survival fund domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

The group also asked for immediate disbursement of the N10bn COVID-19 palliative fund to their members to prevent imminent collapse of interstate passenger transport companies in Nigeria.

According to PTONA, efforts made to secure an appointment to pay a working visit to the minister to discuss issues relating to the undue delay in disbursing the funds to road transporters was not granted.

“However, in your reply to our letter dated 3rd March, 2021 (a copy is attached) our request for the visit was neither approved nor rejected. On the contrary, you simply advised our association to redirect its inquiry regarding the fund to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment since the intervention fund for the transport sector had been released to the ministry by the Federal Government,” the group stated in the letter.

Lamenting further, PTONA insisted that the N10 billion Covid-19 palliatives fund approved by the Federal was totally different from the N60 billion MSME Survival Fund domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, adding that “the N10 billion COVID-19 Palliative Fund was meant to assist road transporters to resuscitate their businesses that were on negative income throughout the 14 weeks that the country was on complete lockdown for all interstate passenger movement due to Covid-19 Pandemic.”

“On the other hand, an aspect of the N60 billion MSME Survival Fund domiciled with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is a one-off grant designed to support vulnerable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in meeting up their salary obligations under the Federal Government’s National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP),” PITONA added.

Several efforts were made to reach the Director of Press in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mr Eric Ojiekwe, but he neither answered his calls nor responded to a text message sent to his phone.

 

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