Over 800 Suzuki owners gathered in Clarens for the biggest Suzuki festival ever. They set a new Guinness World Record and were surprised by the visit of the global designer and the new five-door Jimny.
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Visitors to the Eastern Free State were treated to a unique sight the past weekend as hundreds upon hundreds of Suzuki Jimnys descended on Clarens for the biggest Suzuki festival ever.
The compact 4x4s and their owners travelled from across Southern Africa to Langkranz Farm just outside Clarens to attend the first ever Suzuki Safari Town Festival and Jimny Gathering.
The event was held exactly one year after Suzuki Auto South Africa announced its intention to welcome as many Jimny owners and friends of the brand as possible. It consisted of the Jimny Gathering at Langkranz (from Friday 22 September to Sunday 24 September) and a rocking Suzuki Safari Town music, food, craft and kuier festival in the Clarens Town Square on Saturday 23 September.
The Jimny Gathering held quite a number of surprises for the over 800 Jimny (and SJ, Samurai and LJ) owners who attended.
For one, the event was attended by none other than Hisanori Matsushima, Manager of the Automobile Styling Department at Suzuki Motor Corporation. Matsushima-san has seen his Jimny design become a global best-seller and be named the Urban Car of the Year at the World Car of the Year Awards in 2019. He subsequently penned the new five-door Jimny, amongst others.
Says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto: “It was a privilege to host Matsushima-san at the South African Jimny Gathering. While he is well versed on the global success of the Jimny, it was great to introduce him to the fun and friendly South African Jimny fans and show him how his creation is used by adventure-seeking fans to explore every corner of our beautiful country.”
Matsushima-san and the team from Suzuki Auto South Africa surprised the visitors with another unique activity: Setting a Guinness World Record.
On Sunday, all the attending Jimny owners joined together to set a new world record for the most vehicles to switch on their lights simultaneously. By aiming for, and breaking, this record, Suzuki was able to accommodate the many SJ, LJ and Samurai owners who also attended.
“We had an official representative from the Guinness World Records on site, and he confirmed that we broke the record with 787 Suzuki vehicles that switched on their headlights at the same time,” says Carpenter.
The record was timed to celebrate Suzuki Jimny heritage alongside our South African heritage on Heritage Day. It was narrated by local funnyman Schalk Bezuidenhout, who drove to the Jimny Gathering in his own Suzuki Jimny. He entertained the crowds alongside Pedro Barbosa, Steve Umculo and Soul Man’s Rhythm and Blues Machine.
A third surprise to visitors of the Jimny Gathering was the cameo by the soon-to-be-released five-door Suzuki Jimny.
The new family-sized five-door Jimny made a quick stop on the 4x4 track of the recent Festival of Motoring at Kyalami, and this was the first time that many of the Jimny fans had a chance to see and experience the new model.
“It is interesting to see how the new five-door Jimny has broadened the appeal of this true-blue off-roader in countries where it is already for sale,” says Carpenter.
“Instead of being sold to existing Jimny owners, the five-door has welcomed larger family units to the Suzuki family by retaining the three-door version’s offering of affordable go-anywhere off-road credentials with extra space to boot.”
The new Jimny, which is slated for South African release in the fourth quarter of this year, also popped in at the Suzuki Safari Town Festival in Clarens.
The festival was held on Saturday 24 September and was open to all comers. It featured class acts such as Black Heidi, Mango Groove, Goodluck and Spoegwolf and there were many stalls with craft food and drink to complement the wide range of restaurants and shops that surround the Clarens Town Square.
“It was quite a weekend! We left having set a new World Record, we met great Suzuki owners, we rocked the town with some great music and, perhaps most importantly, we showed the world what a lekker group of people Suzuki owners are!” says Carpenter.
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