VW could announce third production model this year; expects uptick in 2024 car market

9th February 2024 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

VW could announce third production model this year; expects uptick in 2024 car market

The ID.4

Volkswagen Group Africa (VWA) will hopefully this year receive the final confirmation on the production of a third model at the Kariega plant, says MD Martina Biene.

This third model will add to production of the Polo and Polo Vivo at the Eastern Cape production site.

Biene emphasises that this third model will be “on top” of the other two models, and that it will not replace any existing production units.

The third model is expected to be a small, more affordable sports-utility vehicle (SUV), slotting in under the T-Cross.

A possible fourth model could potentially be a half-ton bakkie.

Biene says the third model will also be an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and not an electric vehicle (EV), as the uptake of EVs has been “very slow” in South Africa, with zero government support to boost the sale of this new technology.

She adds that a swing to EV production at Kariega could potentially see Volkswagen lose its leading position in the local market, and “we don’t want that to happen”.

“If we produce EVs here, we need strong local demand.”

Biene says she also expects the ramp-up to the phase-out of ICE vehicles in Europe in 2035 – a big export market for VWA – to be less steep than originally anticipated, providing the company some breathing room with Polo exports.

VWA expects to still produce and export the current Polo and Polo Vivo until 2029.

The Polo Vivo is exported to some sub-Saharan African markets, while the Polo is exported to numerous markets abroad.

VWA produced 140 430 vehicles last year – 7 182 more than in 2022.

Production is expected to grow by 10 000 units this year on the back of expanded Polo numbers.

Polo exports already increased by 3 500 units last year, to 101 557 units.

Combined domestic Volkswagen and Audi sales reached 67 411 units last year.

The Vivo was the group’s best-seller, at 23 904 units, up 15% on 2022 numbers.

Looking ahead, Biene says VWA will introduce the new and refreshed T-Cross, Tiguan, Touareg and Crafter models this year.

The ID.4 EV will also make its debut as part of a test fleet, which should give local arm of the German car maker the opportunity to test the local appetite for EVs.

Looking at the South African new-car market for 2024, VWA is positive that sales could increase by 6.4% compared with last year, to 370 000 units.