The year 2019 saw a number of well-known nameplates exit the South African automotive market. We look back and pick out 14 vehicles discontinued locally last year (take note, of course, we’ve excluded models that were directly replaced by new-generation vehicles). Here they are, in alphabetical order...
Alfa Romeo 4C
While there have been conflicting reports about whether or not Alfa Romeo has ceased production of its rear-driven 4C sportscar, we do know it has been removed from the Italian firm’s local website. As a reminder, both the coupé and Spider had employed a turbocharged 1,7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine offering 177 kW and 350 N.m.
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
Production of the 3 Series Gran Turismo has officially ended, with the Munich-based firm opting not to develop a replacement based on the G20-generation sedan. The 3 Series GT range was removed from BMW SA’s local configurator in March, with the January 2019 price list showing the five-strong line-up priced from R604 104 for the 320i GT to R848 634 for the flagship 340i.
BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
While BMW’s 6 Series Gran Turismo soldiers on in some markets, it was pulled from the German firm’s line-up in South Africa as part of the local arm’s “ongoing model rationalisation” towards the middle of the year. At the time of its local death, the 6 Series GT range had comprised the 195 kW 630d GT and the 250 kW 640i xDrive GT.
Ford’s fourth-generation Focus is selling well in Europe but the Blue Oval brand confirmed to CARmag.co.za in July 2019 it had “no current plans” to bring the new version of the hatchback to local shores. The third-gen range offered locally had comprised as many as ten hatchback variants (including the ST) and eight sedan derivatives. The Focus RS, meanwhile, quietly exited SA late in 2018.
While you might have expected the original Brio budget hatchback to be replaced by the second-generation version in South Africa in 2019, it wasn’t. Instead, the new Amaze (effectively the sedan version) arrived. What was behind the decision to scrap the hatch? Well, the Japanese automaker’s Indian subsidiary ceased production of the Brio late in 2018 meaning Honda SA could no longer import the model from that country.
The Soul transitioned to its third generation late in 2018 but the new version didn’t ever make it to South Africa. The reason? Well, Kia SA told us "for the time being, the all-new Soul will only be produced in left-hand-drive configuration, and is therefore not expected to debut in South Africa". Bit of a pity, isn’t it?
When rumours of the end of Mercedes-AMG SL63 production surfaced in May 2019, we noticed Mercedes-Benz SA had already removed the line-up from its website. Last priced at R2 808 221, the rear-wheel-drive SL63’s V8 offered 430 kW and 900 N.m. The local range had also included the SL400 and SL500. Still, at least a new variant is in development (if still a year or so away), with fresh spy photographs recently being published online...
After briefly adding “Final Edition” variants to its SLC range, Mercedes-Benz SA discontinued the line-up in October 2019. The local SLC range had comprised three variants: the SLC200, SLC300 and Mercedes-AMG SLC43. Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz in Germany hasn’t officially confirmed the future of the SLC roadster (which, of course, previously went by the SLK moniker).
The NV200, which often found itself on our monthly lists of worst-selling passenger vehicles in South Africa, left the Japanese brand's local line-up in 2019. The MPV had been offered here with the choice of two engines: a naturally aspirated 1,6-litre petrol engine with 81 kW and a 1,5-litre turbodiesel churning out 66 kW.
Head over to Smart South Africa’s website and you’ll notice a distinct lack of vehicles listed. Yes, the Mercedes-backed firm stopped bringing in both the ForTwo and the ForFour – which together accounted for as many as 11 derivatives locally – in 2019.
VW officially ended production of the Beetle at its Puebla plant in Mexico in July 2019, with the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local arm earlier importing 50 examples of the limited-edition Beetle R-Line variant as something of a swansong (after discontinuing all other variants as long ago as 2017). Farewell, Bug!
In April 2019, we reported the last of Volkswagen SA’s sixth-gen Jetta stock had been sold, with the nameplate officially exiting the local market after some 39 years. The reason you won’t be seeing the seventh-generation Jetta in local dealers? Well, the Wolfsburg-based brand will not be producing the fresh version of the sedan in right-hand drive.
Despite being billed as the world’s best-selling mid-size car, the Passat is no longer on sale in South Africa. In February 2019, VW SA confirmed to CARmag.co.za the facelifted version was not destined for local shores, before suggesting the sleekly styled Arteon fastback would fill the void.
With production of the V40 hatchback and V40 Cross Country having ended at some point in 2018, Volvo Cars South Africa removed the models from its local range in December 2019 after selling the last of its stock. Before its exit from our shores, the V40 range had comprised seven variants, ranging from the T2 Kinetic to the T5 Momentum (and including both petrol and diesel oomph).