- Mitsubishi has a strong link to rugby on a global scale
- Brand Ambassadors programme brings a more human and real-life impression of the brand and models
- Additional Ambassadors to be announced soon
JOHANNESBURG – It’s an indisputable fact that South Africans love rugby. Worldwide, and even more so in this country, it is a sport that unites people, is a source of great pride and has often proven that much can be achieved through sheer will and determination. Mitsubishi strongly identifies with these traits and the brand has aligned itself with various rugby teams and players around the globe.
“Mitsubishi Motors has become increasingly involved in rugby all over the world, finding synergies between the attributes of our vehicles, the game of rugby and the broader reach of team sport,” says Nic Campbell, general manager of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa.
As a result there is also a strong synergy between Mitsubishi and South African rugby and two prominent figures in local and international rugby circles serve as proud Mitsubishi Brand Ambassadors.
In 2019 Rugby World Cup referee, Jaco Peyper, joined the Mitsubishi ranks when he took delivery of a top-of-the-range Pajero Sport Exceed.
The young referee from Bloemfontein rose through local rugby ranks rapidly after making his Super Rugby debut in 2008 while still in his twenties. Three years later he became one of the officials for the 2011 IRB Junior Rugby World Championship in Italy and officiated over the final between England and New Zealand.
In 2015, Peyper was selected as one of the 12 referees for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In 2019 he was again selected as one of the 12 Rugby World Cup referees and the only South African referee for the tournament, where he was referee in four matches and assistant referee in five.
Peyper will also do duty as a match official for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.
“Jaco has a wealth of rugby knowledge, great ideas and initiatives and does sterling work for many charities, so he is a great fit for our brand,” Campbell says.
Peyper has been driving his Pajero Sport for 18 months and continues to be impressed by the vehicle’s versatility.
“I have two young children and the Pajero Sport is the perfect vehicle for our needs. It easily swallows everything we need for family trips and getaways and because it has seven seats, it can be used to take the neighbourhood kids to school too,” Peyper enthuses. “Even more impressive is the fact that it can do all these things without sacrificing off-road ability. We love exploring off the beaten track and the Super Select II 4WD makes it as easy as simply pushing a button.
“We spend a lot of time outdoors as a family, and whether it’s a trip to a game park or launching a ski boat for the weekend, the Pajero Sport handles everything we throw at it without losing a beat.”
The Pajero Sport Exceed is packed to the hilt with standard features. These include an electric tilt and sliding sunroof as well as hands-free access for the electric tailgate. It also offers all the built-in safety features inherent of the Mitsubishi brand.
“Without fail, every single person who has ridden in my Pajero Sport or has taken a peek inside its refined cabin has commented on what an impressive vehicle it is and what great value for money it represents,” says Peyper.
Fhatuwani “Rasta” Rasivhenge became a Mitsubishi Brand Ambassador in 2018 when he was handed the keys to an ASX.
“Rasivhenge is particularly passionate about youth development and enhancing children’s skills by way of an introduction to the game of rugby. This resonates with us as a brand and is one of the main reasons why he was selected as an Ambassador,” Campbell explains.
Born in Johannesburg in 1986, Rasivhenge became the youngest rugby referee to take charge of a final on national rugby level when he was given the whistle in the 2015 Currie Cup Premier Division between the Golden Lions and Western Province. He became a test referee when he blew the whistle in the Rugby Sevens tournament in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“Mitsubishi’s ASX perfectly suits my busy lifestyle, not only for manoeuvring through tight spots in town, but also for those weekends when I want to tackle the roads less travelled,” says Rasivhenge. “I must admit, though, that at the moment my favourite feature is the heated seat, which keeps me warm and comfortable as I head to training sessions on these cold winter mornings.”
The ASX offers the best balance in design, technology and price and serves as an attractive cross-over SUV for customers, with a spacious interior, roomy boot and fuel efficiency of a smaller car.
I love my sports activities with the community and connecting people, so I do a lot of networking. I am busy restarting my Mitsubishi Rainbow Republic Project for children, with strict COVID-19 protocols so I can help them over weekends and keep them off the streets. My ASX and I have become a common sight on the streets and people associate me with the brand and the vehicle now,” Rasivhenge continues.
“Everyone is impressed with the new ASX that I am currently driving as it is red, trendy and has amazing specification levels. It is spacious and comfortable too.”
One of the main reasons for the Mitsubishi Brand Ambassadors programme is to bring a more human and real-life impression of the brand and specific models. More importantly, though, the Brand Ambassadors are heavily involved in various charities through rugby and with Mitsubishi’s involvement, the reach of the great work they do in communities across South Africa can be extended.
“Mitsubishi Motors is involved in rugby in major markets such as the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. We at Mitsubishi South Africa have been involved in the sponsorships of various members of the local rugby fraternity and wish to continue building relations with selected partners of SA Rugby, creating opportunities not only for us, but for our dealer network,” concludes Campbell.
Well-known 4×4 expert, Francois Rossouw, is also a Brand Ambassador and Mitsubishi is currently assessing other individuals to join the programme.