After a mere two years on the market, the Volkswagen Arteon has been discontinued in South Africa. That had us thinking: which other big sedans failed to survive here, with local buyers instead favouring three-box saloons from the "Big Three" German brands (and, of course, crossovers)?
While the local automotive graveyard is positively littered with departed sedans, here we focus on the most recent deaths (and omit smaller saloons such as Volkswagen's Jetta, the Nissan Sentra, Kia’s Rio Sedan and even the Volvo S60). This is what we dug up...
1. Ford Fusion
The Fusion was added to Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s range at the start of 2015, available with either a 1,5-litre EcoBoost engine, a 2,0-litre EcoBoost unit or a 2,0-litre TDCi powerplant. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, the Blue Oval brand stopped importing the big sedan (which is known in some parts as the Mondeo). Ford is set to end production of this model in North America in July 2020, although the nameplate is expected to live on globally, affixed to a "high-roofed hatchback" similar in concept to the Subaru Outback.
2. Honda Accord
Honda’s ninth-generation Accord arrived on local shores in July 2014 but was gone just two years later. Billed as the flagship model in the Japanese firm’s range, the large sedan was offered with the choice of two four-cylinder petrol engines (with displacements of 2,0 and 2,4 litres, respectively) and a 3,5-litre V6. A tenth-generation version was introduced in overseas markets in 2017 but Honda Motor Southern Africa opted not to bring it in.
3. Hyundai Sonata
The sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata hit South Africa late in 2010, before a facelifted model touched down in mid-2013. The update included a new 2,4-litre petrol engine hiking maximum power from the previous unit’s 131 kW to a healthier 148 kW. By the third quarter of 2015, however, the Korean firm’s local arm threw in the towel and pulled the Sonata from its range.
4. Kia Optima
The third-generation Optima left Kia Motors South Africa’s line-up towards the middle of 2014 (again, about two years after it first arrived). Like its Sonata cousin, the Optima employed the Korea group’s 2,4-litre petrol mill, which made 132 kW (one unit more than the Hyundai) in initial guise before being replaced by a 148 kW version.
5. Lexus GS
The last time the rear-wheel-drive GS appeared in Naamsa’s sales figures was in July 2018, when the Japanese firm registered just two units. By October that year, the big sedan’s local axing was official, with the seventh-generation version of the front-driven ES arriving soon thereafter to fill the gap. The fourth-gen GS soldiered on in various other markets but Lexus reportedly plans to end production in August 2020.
The third-generation Mazda6 hit local roads in October 2014, with the range including the Japanese firm’s familiar 2,0- and 2,5-litre petrol engines as well as the 2,2-litre turbodiesel powerplant. Towards the end of 2016, the big sedan disappeared from Mazda Southern Africa’s price bulletin, with a mere 10 units registered locally that year. In 2017, Mazda SA’s CEO told us the brand had "an opportunity" to reconsider its decision on the Mazda6 … but it eventually opted not to re-introduce the sedan. Recent reports suggest the next-gen model will switch to a rear-wheel-drive platform and gain six-cylinder power.
7. Subaru Legacy
Early in 2018, Subaru Southern Africa launched an updated version of its Legacy, which employed a 3,6-litre flat-six engine worth 191 kW and powering all four corners via a continuously variable transmission. At the start of 2020, the Japanese company’s local arm told us it had removed the sedan from its website “due to low demand” (trawling through Naamsa’s sales figures suggested not a single unit was registered in 2019). However, it added buyers could technically still order one from overseas. The seventh-generation Legacy revealed in February 2019, meanwhile, has not been confirmed for a local introduction.
8. Volkswagen Arteon
The sleekly styled Arteon – which Volkswagen describes as a “five-door fastback” rather than a traditional sedan – arrived in South Africa in May 2018. Two short years later, VW SA confirmed to us it had discontinued the model locally, after scrapping the TDI variants in August 2019. The Arteon 2,0 TSI 4Motion R-Line had generated 206 kW and 350 N.m from its 2,0-litre turbopetrol heart, directed to all four corners via a seven-speed DSG. VW told us the upcoming facelift (and, by implication, the rumoured Arteon R) would “not be making its way to South Africa” either.
9. Volkswagen Passat
In February 2019, Volkswagen SA confirmed to us the facelifted Passat would not be coming to local shores. But April of that year, stock had run dry, with the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local arm suggesting the abovementioned Arteon would fill the void (which it technically did, if only for about a year). VW SA said the segment in which the Passat found itself was “not doing too well” locally, adding sales of the sedan had fallen to fairly low levels before its discontinuation.