Johannesburg - Volkswagen South Africa is going full steam ahead with its new offerings for the rest of the year, even though there is likely to be a slight delay as the Covid-19 pandemic affects operations in Europe.
"No-one expected what we're currently experiencing and obviously we have had to adjust accordingly." says Martina Biene Head of the Brand in South Africa.
Coming next month is the T-Cross 1.5 TSI with its 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine producing 110kW and 250Nm via the front wheels and a seven speed dual clutch transmission.
In July, 300 Golf GTI TCRs
become available. Inspired by the race car of the same name it's 2-litre turbopetrol engine is tuned to 213kW and 370Nm, which VW says is will get the hatch from 0-100km/h in just 5.6 seconds. The top speed limiter has been removed allowing it to reach a top speed of 264km/h. Power is via the front wheels with a seven-speed DSG dual clutch transmission.
The T-Cross 70kW
arrives in August/September. It will be a slightly down-tuned TSI Trendline with a five-speed manual transmission and 70kW on tap.
The highly anticipated T-Roc
is scheduled to arrive in October but specification levels are still to be confirmed.
Due in October: Volkswagen T-Roc.
"The T-Roc is still happening this year but we're facing some delays with the factories in Europe," said Biene.
"Also, with the Golf
we're still not sure of the launch dates which will be either in Q4 of this year or possibly Q1 next year."
Hopefully here by year-end: Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI.
Two more Volkswagens are on the cards with the T6.1
scheduled for October and the 190kW Amarok
either in October or November.
At VWSA staff have been keeping in contact via Skype as the day to day business in strange times continues.
"our way of working has changed dramatically, we are regularly in Skype meetings, and we think that it has become more effective, although during level four we are back in the office twice a week in a shift system."
Like all manufacturers, VWSA won't be spared the projected downswing in sales and Biene agrees with current projections.
"Look, were not immune to this and we are expecting a drop in sales of between 25 to 30 percent.
"we're revising on a monthly basis because at the moment it's completely unpredictable. We see a bigger impact on the rental car channel as a result of the downturn in tourism and international travel being limited in the foreseeable future.
VWSA brand head Martina Biene.
"We don't think the government channel will have such a negative impact and we've also done quiet well with emergency services such as the SAPS and in our commercial vehicle department.
"But the dealer channel will be the hardest hit no doubt."
With restrictions being eased slightly during level four there was some movement though.
"Obviously not as much as there would have been without Covid-19. VW has been gearing up for a full digital experience but South African law doesn't yet allow full purchasing of vehicles on line and dealers are telling us that final finance applications and trade-ins are not possible online either."
Due in July: Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI TCR.
With VWs stated intention of putting much of their focus on electric vehicles Biene is still upbeat about what the future holds.
"We have to electrify the country because that's without a doubt the future. We've committed to 1000 electric SUVs and we already have a number of customers lined up but that's likely to be delayed because of the situation in Europe where the rollout has also been delayed.
Volkswagen's ID.4 prototype will spawn the new electric SUV that's been confirmed for SA.
"We haven't changed any of our strategy but our digital strategy has been speeding up, so it's almost a forced acceleration you could say."
On customers buying down Biene says they expected that. "We are well prepared though because of local production of the Polo and Polo Vivo. It's not what we want because it's good to have a spread in the market, but that's currently the reality. We're also preparing for a switch from new to used cars."
With an economy that's wasn't great to begin with, Biene says they will be doing everything in their power along with VW Financial Services partnering with Wesbank to do their bit.
"We're looking at various products to assist customers, because South Africa really needs that now," she concluded.