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Saturday / 15 June 2024
HomeNewsVW will build a new budget SUV and maybe a compact bakkie in South Africa – For South Africa

VW will build a new budget SUV and maybe a compact bakkie in South Africa – For South Africa

VW has confirmed its intention to start building a new compact SUV for the African continent at its Eastern Cape factory, after teasing the possibility of such a vehicle in early 2023.

Production on the A0-segment SUV will kick off in 2026 or 2027, and it will feature a petrol engine and sit on the same MQB27 platform that props up the Polo.

Consequently, it will slot in below the current entry-level T-Cross which retails for R399,000 in February 2024 but is being updated later this year, which will more than likely result in a heftier asking price.

Martina Biene, MD of Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA), additionally revealed that the new compact SUV may spawn an equally-sized bakkie that will be sold in the local market, TimesLive reports.

While Biene didn’t go into any more details, it would make sense for VW to capitalise on the small-bakkie segment which will soon lose its only entrant, this of course being the Nissan NP200.

Despite the NP200’s lengthy tenure in showrooms it remains as popular as ever and consistently ranks among the best-selling vehicles in the country, illustrating the demand for such a vehicle from South African motorists.

The gap would have been filled by the new Renault Oroch this year, but this, too, will unfortunately no longer make its way to our shores, meaning that in a few months’ time, there will be no small bakkies on sale in the domestic market anymore.

This will leave the doors wide open for VW to swoop in and capitalise on the profitable segment should it move ahead with its plans to build a new half-tonner, something it has ample experience in.

Left-hand-drive VW Saveiro sold in Brazil

There is more good news for the local auto manufacturing industry.

Head of the VW global passenger car brand, Thomas Schaefer, stated last year that the manufacturer was “very worried” about the future of its South African operations in light of record levels of load-shedding, rising labour costs, and logistical constraints which hamper its productivity at Kariega and elevate operational costs to unsustainable levels.

However, Biene calmed these concerns this week by stating that while this was a warning for government to clean up its act, it doesn’t spell the end of VW’s Eastern Cape factory.

On the contrary, the company is rebranding itself to Volkswagen Group Africa (removing the “South” from its name) and will soon become the only global manufacturer of the Polo hatchback.

As a result, it will ramp up production of the Polo and Polo Vivo by 10,000 units to approximately 150,000 units per year, more than 70% of which will be exported.

New VWs for South Africa in 2024

Apart from the revelations about the exciting plans VW has for South Africa in the future, the company said it has plenty in store for the current year, too.

In the first half, VW will introduce the facelifted Touareg to the country, which will be followed by the enhanced T-Cross, next-gen Tiguan, as well as the updated Golf GTI later in the year.

Throughout 2024, the manufacturer also has planned the launch of new turbo-petrol engines for the popular Amarok and Polo Sedan.

Finally, the all-electric ID.4 will make an appearance on local roads later this year as part of a pilot project with local media as the company’s “first step towards our long-term plan of adding electric vehicles to VWSA’s product portfolio,” it previously confirmed to TopAuto.

Unfortunately, VW said it will avoid launching any hybrid vehicles in South Africa due to the low quality of local fuels.

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