Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group (FCA) used its 2018 Capital Markets Day to make the big announcement that it is waking up to changes happening in the global automotive industry.
The biggest news was that CEO Sergio Marchionne was actually wearing a tie, something he always said he would only do if the group achieved a profit, which it has.
He took the tie off for day two, though. Major announcements included a huge push for Jeep with the company planning to increase its utility vehicle market share from a current one in 17 to one in five some time after 2022.
Another big push will come at Alfa Romeo where the company will bring back the famous GTV nameplate as well as the 8C and a couple more SUVs. We will also see Fiat switch from being a struggling nowhere brand to being an electrified city car brand.
Chrysler will become … actually, we aren’t really sure there and it doesn’t matter because Chrysler vehicles are no longer in SA.
There will be big changes for Maserati though, with Ferrari instrumental in all its powertrains and the announcement that the new Alfieri will be an all-electric sports car, although we revealed that exclusively earlier this year. Electrification will be a key part of the new strategy with all Jeeps set to have electrified options in the range and half of all Maseratis as FCA plays catch up with other car makers in a bid to meet strict emissions rules, something that will be harder after the group said it will drop diesel engines.
HYBRIDS FAIL TO DELIVER
Research in the UK by motoring website Honest John has revealed that 88% of hybrid vehicles cannot deliver on their fuel consumption claims.
The site analysed 148,000 fuel economy reports submitted by drivers to come to some alarming conclusions.
The worst offender is the Mercedes-Benz C350e, which is built in SA and which managed to achieve only 36.9% of its claimed consumption figure.
Second worst is the BMW 330e at 37.2% of the claimed figure with the Volkswagen Golf GTE (not sold in SA) third worst at 38.1%. The Lexus GS 450h was the best performer achieving 84.2% of the claimed consumption number, followed by the Toyota Rav4 hybrid (not sold in SA) at 79.3% and the Toyota Yaris hybrid at 77.9%. Toyota and Lexus claimed four of the top five positions.
HAVAL’S FLAGSHIP SUV
China’s largest SUV maker, Haval, sold more than 1-million units in its domestic market in 2016 and officially started trading in SA in June 2017.
This year the company commemorated its first year in SA and currently sells the H1, H2 and H6 range.
A model expansion is on the cards with the introduction of the seven-seater H9, which will be launched locally in August. It will take the fight to the likes of Toyota’s Prado and will be the company’s most expensive car here, although pricing is yet to be announced. The model will be powered by a 2.0l turbo petrol with 180kW and 350Nm. According to Haval, there are no plans for a diesel variant yet.
TUCSON GOES MILD
Hyundai has revealed its new Tucson, which will be in SA in the last quarter of 2018. The model gets an exterior design update but bigger changes happen inside with a new infotainment system and upgrades to materials and trim.
Hyundai is making the most noise though about the introduction of 48V mild-hybrid technology for the Tucson, which the company says will cut emissions and consumption by 7%. The system will be available with the 2.0l diesel engine which meets the new Euro 6d emissions regulations in Europe.
Whether that technology will come to SA with the new model remains to be seen.
NOT MUCH ABOUT Z4
BMW has announced more details of the new Z4 without really announcing anything.
This week it showed pictures of a camouflaged version of the car testing at the Miramas test facility in France saying that it will feature "a new, extremely powerful in-line six-cylinder engine, a lowered sports suspension with electronically controlled dampers, a newly developed front axle, M light alloy wheels with mixed tyres, an M sports brake system and an electronically controlled lock in the rear axle differential".
MOVE OVER RAPTOR
Finally, as if Ford SA has not been taking enough flak for the lack of power in the 2019 Ranger Raptor, Shelby this week announced that it will be bringing F-150 models to SA and converting them to right-hand drive before adding the Shelby performance upgrade.
Granted, at between R2.5m and R3m it will be a great deal more expensive than the Raptor, but with 565kW and upgraded suspension in two different versions, no Raptor is going to be able to get close.
You will need a code 10 licence to go with that bucket load of cash though, but if you get your order in then you will be one of only 500 Shelby F-150 owners in the world.