RUMOUR HAS IT...
Volkswagen building local
Volkswagen is following through on its give-the-markets-what-they-want strategy
Resurgent Volkswagen is following through on its give-the-markets-what-they-want strategy, with its Chinese and Brazilian arms both showing locally designed concept cars.
For China, it’s the A-SUV segment T-Rocstar, unveiled at the Guangzhou motor show. For Brazil, it’s the small Virtus sedan, to be built in Sao Paolo as part of a €1.8bn push to build 13 new models in local plants by 2020.
The T-Rocstar concept is a halfway house design to get locals used to the fact that they won’t be getting the European-built T-Roc, but something that’s closer to local tastes.
Designed largely for suburban work, the T-Rocstar will still sit on the high-rise version Golf’s MQB architecture and will be roughly the same size overall. That makes it smaller than the Chinese-built, seven-seat Teramont/Atlas that is the largest MQB machine Volkswagen makes.
The main news for SA is the reveal of the Virtus because it could well be under consideration for the local market and Volkswagen SA has capacity to build another model alongside the Polo.
Currently it is being built for a purely Latin American audience though.
The 4.84m long Virtus has a 2.65m wheelbase and will be the first Volkswagen-branded car to support the driver with artificial intelligence, as the co-operation between VW and IBM’s IT group arrives at industrialisation.
"We have set ourselves a clear target: in all the key regions, Volkswagen intends to become the most attractive volume brand," Volkswagen’s board member for sales Jürgen Stackmann says. "The Virtus shows how we are reinforcing the positioning of the brand in the regions. The new Volkswagen models, which will be precisely tailored to customers’ wishes, will be quality and technology leaders in the volume segment."
Toyota has announced a global recall of its new C-HR crossover model. The recall is because the electronic handbrake might fail, leading to the car rolling away if parked on a slope.
Toyota SA cannot confirm how many models in SA are affected, saying only that 2,029 models sold in SA Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia are included in the recall and that owners will be contacted or can get in touch with their nearest dealership.
Volvo has announced that construction of its new state-of-the-art Polestar Production Centre has begun in Chengdu, China, where the company’s first model, the Polestar 1, will be produced. This follows the announcement of the new Polestar brand in October.
The facility is due for completion by mid-2018 to be ready to start tooling installation and pre-production testing. It will build the Polestar 1, a grand touring coupe with a 448kW electric performance hybrid powertrain that the company claims will offer 150km of pure electric range. Polestar says it is targeting to build a maximum of 500 units a year.
More lux for Rangie
Land Rover has revealed an even more luxurious version of the Range Rover.
Available exclusively to order in long wheelbase, the SVAutobiography model will be available with a range of powertrain options including a new plug-in hybrid electric-petrol and an uprated V8 supercharged petrol engine.
Executive class rear seats are the main feature, which combined with the long-wheelbase body offer rear legroom of more than 1.2m. The seats offer a powered 40° recline capability, hot-stone massage function and heated calf and foot rests. There is also a fixed centre console that extends the full length of the cabin and the new model also allows passengers to close the rear doors using buttons on the rear console.
There are electrically deployable rear tables and integrated 10-inch touchscreen rear entertainment screens, 4G WiFi connectivity and a concealed refrigerator between the twin rear seats that can hold two wine bottles or four 600ml bottles.
Down with Black Friday
The chaos of Black Friday has passed once more, but there was one story that really caught our attention.
Dacia, the division of Renault that manufacturers the Sandero and Duster, closed its pop-up store in the UK on Friday in protest at the whole shopping phenomenon. Louise O’Sullivan, head of Dacia UK, said: "At Dacia, we offer great value every day and not just on one day a year. We hope that closing our Westfield Stratford pop-up on the day synonymous with ‘bargains’ will show UK shoppers that, at Dacia, Black Friday is just another Friday — exceptional value should be every day."
Good for them, we say.
The finalists for the European Car of the Year title have been announced. It is always a closely watched competition and the winner will be announced at the Geneva motor show from the following: Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi A8, BMW 5 Series, Citroen C3 Aircross, Kia Stinger, Seat Ibiza and Volvo XC40.
Motor News is in Barcelona this week driving one of those finalists, the new Volvo XC40, which launches in SA in 2018.
In the meantime the company has confirmed pricing for its new Range Rover Evoque competitor. The XC40 will start "from under R500,000 to about the mid-R600,000 mark".