Johannesburg - New vehicle sales in South Africa dropped 4.1 percent last year as the worsening economy bit, but the flow of launches continues at full pace. Here is a rundown of the major new cars, SUVs and bakkies you can expect to arrive in local dealerships during the course of 2016:
An open-roof version of the 4C, the 4C Spider, has already arrived at dealers and an updated Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde lands late in the year.
Expect a new model onslaught from Ingolstadt this year, starting with the local launch of the all-new A4 next month. Also all-new is the second-generation R8 which lands in May, and a facelifted A3 range is scheduled for November.
Other new Audi models which will be launched internationally include the SQ7 in May, A5/S5 Coupés, S4 and a new small SUV called the Q2 in June, TTRS in September, A5/S5 Sportback in October and new Q5 in November.
It’ll be a big year for BMW as well, with planned launches of its tech-packed new 7 Series later this month, the high-performance M2 Coupé in April, a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 around May, the track-inspired M4 GTS in September and a long-wheelbase 760 Li close to the end of the year.
As far as new Minis go, there will be a new Clubman arriving next month and a Convertible in March.
Chevy’s only launch this year will be a facelifted Captiva SUV scheduled for next month.
A convertible version of the 492kW/760Nm Ferrari 488 GTB, called the 488 Spider, will arrive in South Africa around June.
Fiat plans to launch smaller import duty-beating TwinAir engines in its refreshed 500 hatch early in the year, and will also launch a Mitsubishi Triton based bakkie called the Fullback in the third quarter. Later in the year we’ll get some new 500 Abarths, a Mazda MX-5 derived 124 Spider roadster, and a budget sedan expected to be called the Tipo.
After a huge product offensive in 2015, Ford will have a relatively quiet year but there will be one ‘big-bang’ launch in the form of the powerful new all-wheel-drive Focus RS around May.
Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti will bring its first hatchback model, the Mercedes A-Class based Q30 in July.
Jaguar claims its all-new XF sedan, set for launch next month, is one of the most efficient cars in its class thanks to an aluminium rich construction and a new-generation engine; and the British marque’s first SUV, the F-Pace, is scheduled for launch in the second quarter.
There’s not much happening from Jeep this year, but some special 75th anniversary Buzz models with special colours and trims will be made available sometime during 2016.
Kia will launch the new-generation of its popular Sportage around midyear.
The introduction of Lexus’ fourth-gen RX SUV, with angular styling similar to that of its smaller NX model, is happening right now. Facelifts of the IS and GS sedans will take place later in the year and, if we’re lucky, the sexy new LC Coupé which was unveiled at the Detroit motor show last week, will land in our market before year end.
Big news from Maserati this year is the launch of its first SUV, the Levante, coming in April.
Then the S-Class Cabriolet and C-Class Coupé arrive in the second, the all new E-Class midyear, a facelifted CLA in the third quarter, and added E-Class models including a 450 AMG toward the end of 2016.
The Smart brand also makes its return to our market with new rear-engined Fortwo and Forfour models landing around April or May.
The all-new Triton range arrives around midyear to compete in SA’s very active one-tonner war. It’s quieter and more sophisticated, and the offroad versions have the same 4x4 systems as the Pajero.
Also coming by midyear is the new Triton-based Pajero Sport.
Nissan SA is still deciding on when to launch the new-generation NP300 Navara here. It’s already more than a year since the one-tonner, which was co-developed with Daimler, was introduced overseas - but it’s a safe bet that it’ll arrive here sometime during 2016.
Peugeot will update its 308 hatch with an automatic gearbox in coming months, and will launch a new version of the 2008 crossover in the year’s second half.
The new and very niche Evoque Convertible will be launched in 2016’s third quarter.
Renault will introduce its Nissan Qashqai-based Kadjar crossover in the second quarter of 2016, while the new Megane and small Kwid crossover are due for launch later in the year.
Suzuki plans to launch a new compact delivery van called the Super Carry in the second quarter of 2016, and yet another new hatch called the Baleno later in the year.
Also in store is a facelifted version of the Toyota 86 sports coupé and an all-new Prius hybrid is expected to land in the second quarter.