The Ballade nameplate was synonymous with Honda's presence in our market during the 1980s and '90s, the badge finding its way onto Honda Civic sedans that were assembled and marketed by Mercedes-Benz South Africa.
Honda of Japan used the Ballade name for its first Civic sedan, which came to South Africa in 1982, but while international markets adopted the Civic name after that, South Africa stuck with Ballade for its subsequent Civics.
These sedans then returned to their rightful Civic name when Honda entered our country under its own steam and as a full importer at the turn of the century, so the Ballade never actually disappeared - it just lost its name.
That said, the Civic has moved upmarket in recent years and it's now far cry from the affordable compact sedan that the Ballade used to be.
Now Honda South Africa is plugging that gap with an all-new compact sedan (called the City in international markets) that will be launched here during the first quarter of next year. As something of a spiritual successor to the earlier Ballades, what better name could there be?
Now totally devoid of Civic geneology, the Ballade shares its underpinnings and engines with the latest Honda Jazz.
Honda has not released any detail about the local range or specifications as yet, but the company has said that it will fill the gap between the Jazz and Civic in terms of positioning.
The 88kW/145Nm 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine fitted to the current Jazz is a dead certainty for our market though, and if Honda intends to compete with more affordable sedans too, then the 73kW/127Nm 1.3-litre engine would be a logical choice as well.