Veteran salesman Gerrie Esterhuizen (67) and his South African built 2004 VW Polo has achieved one million kilometres of fault-free and accident-free driving.
Gerrie and his wife, Magriet (47) always wondered what would happen to the speedometer once they reached a million kilometres and they found the answer, “After 999999.9 kilometres, the speedometer just shows six dashes, although the trip meter carries on working,” said Magriet. The couple clocked up the mileage during work runs from their home in Soutpan near Bloemfontein across the Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Lesotho.
“We travel up to 800km 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 8 000km and 10 000km a month. In previous years we drove more than 12 000km a month.” Over the years the couple have kept meticulous records of their travels.
“We reckon the Polo used 66 666 litres of fuel to get to the million mark. That’s an excellent figure of about 700km per 50-litre tank, or 15km a litre (6.6km/l). Working out the cost over the years at an average of R8/l, that’s about R533 000 in fuel costs.”
What’s more is that the VW Polo has only had two new fuel pumps fitted in its lifespan and the clutch, starter, alternator, exhaust system, radiator and oil pump are all original.
The couple received VIP treatment and were invited to the VW Plant in Uitenhage where the Polo was treated to an overnight paint, dent removal and brush-up package. Gerrie and his wife were also presented with a new dashboard cluster by the Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, David Powels.