South African new car buyers aren’t exactly short on choice these days. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few vehicles that we think would do well were they to be introduced to local consumers.
So, we decided to take a closer look at five vehicles we believe would sell well in their respective segments here in South Africa (if they were fairly priced, of course). Can you think of any more? Leave a comment below...
1. Volkswagen Saveiro
These days, the half-tonne bakkie segment in South Africa is pretty much deserted. In fact, with the Chevrolet Utility set to exit the local stage with the rest of the American brand at the end of 2017, buyers in this segment will soon have but one choice: the Nissan NP200. And we think Volkswagen Saveiro (currently offered in certain South American markets, in both standard and so-called "Cross" guise) would positively clean up on the local sales charts were it to finally become available in right-hand drive. So, what are the chances? Well, see VW SA’s latest comment on the "local viability" of this model here.
2. Opel Karl
Revealed back in late 2014, the Opel Karl (along with its Vauxhall Viva cousin) plays in the budget city car segment, and actually shares much with the Chevrolet Spark. So, what better model to fill the gaping hole due to be left by the latter when the Bowtie brand leaves SA at the end of the year? Bear in mind, of course, that Opel's new strategic plan will see the German brand gradually phase out its existing platforms (such as this one) in favour of PSA Group architecture ... and what that means for the Karl's long-term future remains to be seen. Interestingly, the little hatch is also offered in "Rocks" guise in some markets, boasting a raised ride height, silver skid-plates and black protective cladding.
3. Renault Duster Oroch
A small double-cab bakkie based on the popular Renault Duster? Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, although Renault SA has time-and-again pledged its commitment to bringing this vehicle – which is 160 mm longer than the SUV on which it is based – to local shores, the importer has seemingly been hamstrung by the lack of right-hand-drive production volume. If the Duster Oroch does eventually make its way to SA (take note that a new version of the Duster SUV is due to arrive here in the third quarter of 2018), expect it to carve out a fresh niche between the half- and one-tonne bakkie segments.
4. BMW 1 Series Sedan
If you happen to live in China, you have the option of buying an F52-generation BMW 1 Series Sedan, built exclusively for the world’s largest automotive market. Based on the UKL2 platform (employed by the likes of the X1, 2 Series Active Tourer and Mini Countryman), the little saloon serves as a cheaper alternative to the popular 3 Series, and competes with the Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA. But those underpinnings also mean the diminutive sedan is front- rather than rear-wheel drive. Sacrilege? Perhaps, but we suspect most local buyers wouldn't care one iota. And, of course, the next-generation (global) 1 Series hatchback will be front-driven, too...
5. Volkswagen Up! GTI
South Africa’s fondness for the GTI badge led us to assume that VW SA would be keen to introduce the Up! GTI soon after it was revealed earlier this year. But we then found out that the local arm of the Wolfsburg-based automaker had no immediate plans to bring the little pocket rocket to local shores. Why? Well, the brand said that it would likely end up treading on the toes of other models in the range…
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Which other vehicles do you think would sell well here in South Africa? Leave a comment below…