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Passenger Cars, Bakkies & Vans News

Porsche, Siemens join world-first project to produce e-fuel in Chile

By: Irma Venter     22nd September 2021 German sports-car manufacturer Porsche and Siemens Energy have joined forces with a number of international companies to build an industrial plant for the production of nearly carbon dioxide-neutral fuel (e-fuel) in Punta Arenas, Chile.  A pilot plant is initially being built north of Punta... 

Nedbank expands its Avo app to include end-to-end digital vehicle shopping 

By: Irma Venter     22nd September 2021 Nedbank is promising prospective car buyers a “complete end-to-end digital vehicle shopping experience, saving them vast amounts of time and energy, through the new Avo virtual vehicle-mall feature”. “While there are already quite a few websites and aggregators where people can browse vehicles,... 

Image of someone using the Nedbank Avo app

Production of facelifted Polo starts at Kariega plant, on sale in 2022 in SA 

By: Irma Venter     20th September 2021 Production of the new-look Polo has started at Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Kariega. Vehicle models typically receive a make-over in the middle of their lifecycle. 

Image of Polos leaving Kariega plant
The first shipment of the new-look Polo leaves the VWSA Kariega plant

Netstar appoints new chief technology officer

By: Irma Venter     20th September 2021 Vehicle-recovery and fleet-intelligence company Netstar has appointed Clifford de Wit as its new chief technology officer. De Wit will take over from Francois Stols, who is retiring at the end of the year. 

Image of Netstar CTO Clifford de Wit
Clifford de Wit

Hyundai South Africa gets new flagship as it launches Palisade 

By: Irma Venter     17th September 2021 Hyundai has a new flagship model in its range – the million-rand Palisade luxury large sports-utility vehicle (SUV). The Palisade, which is just short of five meters, takes its place in the local Hyundai SUV line-up next to its slightly smaller sibling, the Santa Fe, as well as the Tucson, Creta,... 

Image of the Hyundai Palisade
The Hyundai Palisade

Merc aims to go all-electric ‘where markets allow’, South African EV launch slated for 2022

By: Irma Venter     17th September 2021 Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to go “all electric” by the end of the decade, “where market conditions allow”. By 2022, the German carmaker says it will have battery electric vehicles (EVs) in all segments of the market the company serves.  

Volkswagen celebrates seven decades of manufacturing in South Africa

By: Irma Venter     17th September 2021 The first Volkswagen manufactured in South Africa, a Beetle, rolled off the assembly line on August 31, 1951. This means the German manufacturer celebrates its seventieth anniversary of producing cars in South Africa this year. 

New-vehicle supply constraints could ease towards year-end – Motus

By: Irma Venter     17th September 2021 Automotive group Motus expects new-vehicle supply, currently constrained by a global computer chip shortage, to start normalising towards the end of the year, says CEO Osman Arbee. “Yes, there are some constraints with the supply of new vehicles globally, not only in South Africa. There are... 

New-vehicle market could reach 485 000 units, if supply holds – Hill 

By: Irma Venter     16th September 2021 The South African new-vehicle market could reach around 485 000 units this year, says Ford South Africa MD Neale Hill. This will be a significant increase from the 380 000-unit sales recorded last year. 

Image of Ford Rangers on a truck

Hyundai, Mini and Hino come out tops in NADA dealership survey 

By: Irma Venter     15th September 2021 Hyundai and Mini have walked away with top honours in the 2021 National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) Dealer Satisfaction Index Survey (DSI) for passenger and light commercial vehicles, while Mitsubishi was the most improved brand. Gold winners in this segment were Suzuki, Toyota,... 

Image of a Hino dealership

Record month and top-five ranking for Suzuki Auto in August

By: Irma Venter     14th September 2021 The local sales trend towards smaller, less expensive vehicles saw Suzuki Auto South Africa (Suzuki SA) hit a new record in August, when it sold 2 470 vehicles. Just shy of 75% of sales were to private individuals and small businesses through the Suzuki dealer network. 

Image of the Suzuki Swift 2021

Solar-powered 4x4s are totally transforming safaris

By: Bloomberg     14th September 2021 For Sipps Maswanganyi, a safari guide with 20 years of experience in the African bush, it was one memorable sighting that sold him on electric safari vehicles. “I could hear this buffalo panting heavily deep in the bushes,” recalls Maswanganyi, head guide at Cheetah Plains, a luxury outfit in... 

Ford SA exports 500 000th Ranger 

By: Irma Venter     13th September 2021 Ford South Africa’s (Ford SA’s) Silverton plant, in Pretoria, this month produced its 500 000th Ranger for the export market. This year is the current Ranger’s tenth anniversary, with the new model to be launched next year. 

Image of a Ford Ranger being exported from South Africa

Fritz to depart Mercedes-Benz SA, Raine announced as successor 

By: Irma Venter     10th September 2021 Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) has announced that co-CEO and Mercedes-Benz Cars executive director Johannes Fritz will be moving back to Germany to head up Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans in Bavaria, one of the largest sales regions in the German market.  “Fritz, who spent four years in South... 

Image of MBSA co-CEO Mark Raine
Mark Raine

Developments in SA's automotive industry  

10th September 2021 Engineering News Senior Deputy Editor Irma Venter tells Creamer Media's Chanel de Bruyn about the progress Ford South Africa is making at its Pretoria plant in preparation for the start of production of the next-generation Ranger bakkie, as well as about how German car manufacturer BMW has... 

Image of Irma Venter
Developments in SA's automotive industry

Eleksa to launch R200 000 CityBug electric car in South Africa this month

By: Irma Venter     10th September 2021 Pretoria-based electric mobility importer Eleksa will introduce the CityBug on the South African market this month. The vehicle, described as an urban electric vehicle (EV), is a two-door four-seater, and will be priced at about R200 000. 

No jobs lost as FCA SA and PCSA merge into single entity following their overseas parents’ tie-up

By: Irma Venter     10th September 2021 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles South Africa (FCA SA) and Peugeot Citroën South Africa (PCSA) have officially merged in the domestic market into a new company called Stellantis, reflecting the marriage between its parent companies. “Stellantis is now an official entity in the South African landscape;... 

Production at BMW Rosslyn plant prioritised amid semi-conductor shortage  

By: Irma Venter     9th September 2021 The current global semi-conductor (computer chip) shortage has not significantly impacted operations at the BMW plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, as production at the facility is being prioritised within the German car maker’s larger manufacturing network. “At BMW we are managing quite well [with the... 

Image of BMW X3s being exported from  theRosslyn plant in Pretoria

Ford creates 1 200 jobs as it unveils modernised Ranger line 

By: Irma Venter     8th September 2021 Ford South Africa (Ford SA) has created around 1 200 incremental jobs by reintroducing a third shift to its operations at the Silverton assembly plant. The additional shift forms part of the US auto maker’s $1.05-billion investment in the Pretoria plant to produce the next generation Ranger... 

Image of the new Ford Ranger plant and assembly line in Silverton, Pretoria

The money is there, Volkswagen CEO says of planned battery cell push

By: Reuters     7th September 2021 Volkswagen is optimistic that there are sufficient funds, internal or external, to pull off its ambitious plan to build six large battery factories across Europe with partners by the end of the decade, its chief executive said. "The required capital is available in the market. Northvolt has shown... 

Toyota spending $13.7bn to secure EV battery supplies

By: Bloomberg     7th September 2021 Toyota Motor Corp plans to spend 1.5-trillion yen ($13.7-billion) on the supply and development of batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles by 2030, joining other global automakers boosting investments in anticipation of greater demand. The world’s biggest automaker will commit roughly... 

How will solid-state batteries make electric vehicles better?

By: Reuters     7th September 2021 Solid-state batteries could be game changer for electric vehicles (EVs) by storing more energy, charging faster and offering greater safety than liquid lithium-ion batteries, helping accelerate the shift away from fossil fuel-powered cars. HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM LIQUID LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES?... 

Promotion of electromobility in SA key to battery production participation 

By: Irma Venter     6th September 2021 One of the first steps for South Africa to participate in the global battery supply chain for battery electric or hybrid vehicles would be the promotion of electromobility in the local market, proposes Mercedes-Benz production and supply chain management board member Dr Jörg Burzer. “This is one... 

Image of the Mercedes-Benz EQB car
The Mercedes-Benz EQB electric vehicle

Chery South Africa, WesBank sign financial services agreement

By: Irma Venter     6th September 2021 South Africa has signed an agreement with WesBank for the provision of financial services to the importer’s clients and dealers. The agreement includes the provision of vehicle finance solutions under the newly created Chery Finance.  

Image of the signing of the Chery SA and WesBank finance agreement

BMW orders up $24bn worth of batteries as EV demand grows

By: Bloomberg     6th September 2021 BMW has boosted orders for batteries cells to keep pace with accelerating demand for electric cars that made up for more than 11% of deliveries during the half of the year. The German carmaker now has contracts for more than €20-billion worth of batteries, up from €12-billion previously, CEO... 

Nissan develops technology to halve recycling cost of rare earths

By: Reuters     3rd September 2021 Japan's Nissan Motor Co has developed a new technology to halve the cost of recycling rare earths used in magnet motors for electric vehicles (EVs), the company said on Friday. With tension simmering between China and the United States, automakers are trying to reduce their reliance on a key... 

Internal combustion engine car sales in permanent decline – BloombergNEF 

By: Irma Venter     3rd September 2021 There are currently 12-million passenger electric vehicles (EVs) on the road. There are also more than one-million commercial EVs, including buses, delivery vans and trucks, as well as more than 260-million electric mopeds, scooters, motorcycles and three-wheelers in traffic globally.  This is... 

Plan to split Metair into two to be revisited, following return to profitability

By: Irma Venter     3rd September 2021 Metair will revisit its plan to potentially split into two, following the recovery of its business in the six months to end-June. Metair manufactures, assembles, distributes and retails energy storage products and automotive components in Africa, Europe, Turkey, the Middle East and Russia. 

New intervention aims to improve engineering skills pipeline in Eastern Cape

By: Irma Venter     3rd September 2021 An intervention launched with public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in the Eastern Cape is expected to aid the output of engineering training and boost the pipeline of skills required by South Africa’s automotive industry. The intervention will place mechanical... 

Audi to launch six EV models in South Africa next year

By: Irma Venter     3rd September 2021 Audi South Africa will go full throttle on electric vehicles (EVs) next year, when it plans to introduce six electric models across three different model ranges to the local market. The launch follows the announcement earlier this year by the German luxury brand that by 2026 every new Audi model... 

Chery returns to local market with former Haval boss at helm

By: Irma Venter     3rd September 2021 Chinese car manufacturer Chery is returning to the South African market, this time as a wholly owned subsidiary of its parent company. The company’s previous foray into South Africa was through McCarthy, and then the Imperial group, now known as Motus. 

Durban Car Terminal sets new record in August

By: Irma Venter     2nd September 2021 Growing transshipments and improving new-vehicle exports from South Africa have seen the Durban Car Terminal set a new record in August, with the facility handling 54 520 fully-built units in a single month.  This follows the previous handling record of 51 407 fully-built units, set in June this... 

View of the Durban car Terminal

New-vehicle sales jump by 25% in August, exports down 16% 

By: Irma Venter     1st September 2021 New-vehicle sales in August increased by 24.6%, to 41 425 units, compared with the same month last year. Out of the total industry sales an estimated 83.6% represented dealer sales, with 12% of vehicles going to the rental industry. Around 2.5% of new vehicles were sold to industry corporate... 

Image of cars being exported from Durban harbour

Volkswagen celebrates 70 years of manufacturing in South Africa 

By: Irma Venter     1st September 2021 The first Volkswagen manufactured in South Africa, a Beetle, rolled off the assembly line on August 31, 1951. This means the German manufacturer this year celebrates its seventieth anniversary of producing cars in South Africa  

Image of the first Beetle made at the Uitenhage plant in 1951
The first Beetle manufactured at the Uitenhage plant in 1951

New-vehicle supply constraints could ease towards the end of the year – Motus

By: Irma Venter     31st August 2021 Automotive group Motus expects new-vehicle supply, currently constrained by a global computer chip shortage, to start normalising towards the end of the year, says CEO Osman Arbee. “Yes, there are some constraints with the supply of new vehicles globally – not only in South Africa. There are... 

Image of a Motus dealership

Lockdown, recent civil unrest could stunt auto-sector green shoots – TransUnion

By: Irma Venter     27th August 2021 While the latest indicators for the second quarter (Q2) of the year suggest an uptick in the local car market, the combined effects of the lockdown measures prompted by the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and the civil unrest witnessed in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July could take a heavy... 

BMW SA loses R200m in sales owing to unrest, Transnet hacking

By: Irma Venter     27th August 2021 The recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, as well as the subsequent cyberattack on Transnet that caused major disruptions to South Africa’s port operations, cost BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) an estimated R200-million in lost vehicle sales, says corporate communications and... 

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