RUMOUR HAS IT…
It is common knowledge that Volkswagen SA (VW SA) has been looking at bringing the Skoda brand to SA.
Once the butt of numerous jokes (Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen? To keep your hands warm when you are pushing it!), the brand is now well respected and produces some great cars based on other VW models.
Ryan Searle, boss of sales and product planning at VW SA, told Motor News that the viability assessment had been completed and any decision to bring Skoda to SA now rests with VW Group boss Herbert Diess. Searle said that any decision would require commitment to local manufacturing of the brand in SA though and because of this it will be at least three years before we could see Skoda on our roads.
If it does come, Searle says it will have to be priced below VW to be competitive and that could be a stumbling block to the whole plan. There are rumours that Ford is planning to return to the half-tonne bakkie market with a new global model based on the latest-generation Focus, which recently had its international launch.
Ford has not been in the half-tonne market in SA since the demise of the Bantam, leaving it all to the Nissan NP200 after the Chevrolet Utility disappeared with the departure of General Motors in 2017.
A spokesperson for Ford Southern Africa dismissed the rumour, although some sources say it will be built in Brazil for global markets. Hyundai is bringing its Kona crossover to SA in the last quarter of 2018, however it appears that its parent company is developing an even smaller crossover.
Our sources have spotted a minicrossover that will be built on the same platform as Kia’s Stonic and that is expected to replace the Accent hatchback. It could be seen as a rival to the Kia Soul and Toyota C-HR but as yet no details are available. We still have no idea when the new Porsche 911 will make its debut despite us bringing you details and spy pics regularly over the last year.
Sensible money would be on it making its debut in 2018 as it is the 70th anniversary of the marque but even though the company itself is now releasing some info, a launch date still eludes us.
The company is testing the GTS version, which normally comes much later in the life cycle of a new model. It will again use the company’s 3.0l twinturbo flat six and will be available with a manual or PDK transmission. Sources say it will have the Carrera 4 wide body and feature some GT3 details. Whether it will be shown at the same time as the reveal of the new 911 remains to be seen. Mercedes continues to test its EQ C, the brand’s first fully electric car that is scheduled to arrive in SA, probably late in 2019 or early in 2020.
Our spies spotted the EQ C testing in the UK and have confirmed that it will use either a 300kW electric motor on the rear axle or a 300kW rear motor and a 90kW or 150kW motor on the front axle. It will sit on the company’s new modular rear architecture that debuted in the latest C-Class and will feature adaptive suspension, regenerative braking and electric torque vectoring.
Skoda could be in SA in three years if the Volkswagen Group gives the go-ahead.
Audi has released this image of the PB18 E-tron concept it will show at Pebble Beach. Mercedes is continuing tests on its EQ C electric vehicle, which will be sold in SA.
Is Hyundai planning a smaller crossover than the upcoming Kona?