Though it’s set to be priced against the Mini – which benefits from junior BMW brand status – Alfa's MiTo should do much to revitalise the brand when it is launched in the second quarter of 2009.
Aston Martin is readying a hardcore Vantage which will be powered by the DB9 and DBS’s 6-litre V12, while it will also benefit from ultra-light carbon bodywork. This killer Bond-car will arrive in the second quarter. According to our crystal ball Aston’s four-door Rapide might be here by Christmas.
Continuing its frantic portfolio expansion, January sees the fire-breathing 426-kW RS6 sedan. Following in March should be the facelifted A6 range (receiving Audi’s new 3-litre supercharged V6) and the Q7’s more stylish smaller brother, Q5. May will bring another performance highlight for Audi fans with the local introduction of the S4. The marque's R8 supercar gets a does of V10 power.
The Bavarians will cue up to the vanishing limousine market with the new 7 Series, due on local roads by March. BMW’s controversial X6 range should be fleshed out by V8 power in the second quarter, followed on shortly by the local launch of the significantly smoother new Z4. All-new 5 Series will be launched at Frankfurt, so if we're lucky it may be here by December. The X1 SUV could also be available by the end of the year.
There will be no giant killing CTS-V, so BMW M-division and Merc AMG owners can sleep soundly for 2009. Sadly the CTS estate is not expected locally either, though the stunning two-door coupe version is a possibility by the fourth quarter.
Despite the liquidity crisis at GM headquarters in Detroit, the Eurocentric Cruze four-door sedan (complete with turbodiesel power) should arrive towards the end of the year. Chevrolet is launching the Spark replacement at the Detroit show, so expect it to arrive in South Africa sometime in 2009.
The new C5 executlve sedan should be available shortly. Also, look out for running changes to the C1, C2 and C3 ranges. The C4 gets a facelift, too.
2009 will be the year of California which, as with nearly all Ferrari products, should be available in South Africa.
The big launch expected from Fiat in 2009 is the introduction of Linea, a Toyota Corolla competitor previewed at the Johannesburg International Motor Show. New engines and a slight facelift come to the Grande Punto range, while the Abarth version of the 500 is due for local introduction too. Fiat is also planning a drop-top 500 for 2009.
A makeover for Ford’s proudly South African Bantam bakkie was shown at last year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show. It will be in showrooms by February featuring a new face and a new turbodiesel engine. Although the facelifted Focus ST was launched here at the end of 2008, a freshened-up Focus range will go on sale in February too. And although Ford is tight-lipped, the sizzling Focus RS could make its way to SA at some point.
Where 2008 was a big year for Honda with the launch of the new Jazz and Accord ranges, 2009 will be a quiet year for the Japanese carmaker. But expect the Accord range to equipped with the latest generation diesel engines. There is no indication yet if Honda will bring its Prius-killer, the Insight, to local shores.
Probably no H3 bakkie (they would have shown it at JIMS if Hummer was serious about local introduction) but turbodiesel and V8 engine options by the middle of the year.
The i-range should see specced up i10 options and the introduction of the bigger brother, i20, during the first quarter.
The wraps are to come off of Jaguar’s XJ replacement, which will be a radically different car from the existing model. The Indian-owned carmaker is also to spice up its classy XF line-up with a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 model to rival the BMW M5. And look out for a facelifted XK range later in the year.
The "other" Korean manufacturer should release the Cerato by the middle of the year. JIMS showgoers who saw the impressive Soul, can expect the funky little MPV by the end of the second quarter.
The boss of Lexus locally is a an absolute petrolhead, so expect the IS-F to become available - albeit in limited numbers - toward the end of the year. Look out too for the IS coupe-cabriolet range and an all-new RX SUV.
Depending on the European launch schedule, the Evora is scheduled to find its way to South African soon after.
The new GranTurismo S along with the facelifted Quattroporte sedan should become available in South Africa this year.
Big news for Mazda fans will be the introduction of the all-new Mazda3. Putrid local diesel quality will mitigate against diesel range Mazda2 expansion, though we should see the facelifted MX-5 by the second quarter.
fter a particularly busy 2008, Merc’s showstopper for 2009 will be the new E-Class. A revised S-Class range will also find its way to South Africa. BlueEfficiency drivetrain technology will become available in C-Class models by January, whilst performance oriented AMG buyers will soon be able to shop for wheels and accessories at five dedicated AMG performance centres.
A quiet year for Mini, especially after upsetting the hot hatch applecart with their JCW launch late last year. The new convertible is on the cards for 2009, as well as JCW version of the Clubman.
Whether they call it Challenger or Pajero Sport, the Triton-based Fortuner rival should become available towards the middle of the year and it’s sure to cause a stir in the utility-oriented SUV market. Performance fans will have to exercise patience with regards to the Evo X, which should roll onto local showroom floors by the third quarter, together with the Sportback hatch range.
The car of JIMS was undoubtedly the GT-R, and it will be arriving towards the end of the year. In the meanwhile the new 370Z with fishhook-like detailing for the lights, should arrive by May. New Murano, facelifted Pathfinder and possibly a Navara Kingcab derivative should be available by the third quarter. There are also rumours that Nissan might take aim at the entry-level segment with its Indian-built Pixo, which comes with a 1.0-litre engine.
In September Opel will showcase the new Astra at the Frankfurt Motor Show, featuring a fresher and sportier shape. At first it will be available as a five-door hatch with more body shapes to follow. We hope that it will be here by the end of the year.
Peugeot South Africa will lift the lid on the 308 CC later this year. The 207 will also be subjected to subtle changes.
Fresh from Stuttgart will be revised versions of the Boxster and Cayman, including the exciting Cayman S Sport. However, the big news will be the introduction of Porsche’s controversial Panamera four-door sedan. Another new niche for Porsche will be diesel power, with a Cayenne TDI going on sale here in the second half of the year.
It’s no secret that Renault is plotting to upset the budget car market with its Sandero hatchback, which will be produced locally. Renault announced in 2008 that it is serious about giving South Africans an affordable, safe small car with a price tag of around R100 000. Together with its recently launched Logan sedan, the Sandero will stiffen competition in the lower end of the market. Renault will also expand its hot hatch portfolio with the Twingo RS in April, whilst the new Megane should become available by the second half of the year. The French carmaker will also unveil a restyled Clio.
All-new versions of the 9-3 and 9-5 sedans should arrive in South Africa this year.
Sacrilegious to some, but turbodiesel power should envelop most the entire line-up locally; with Legacy, then Outback, Impreza and Forester getting the 2.0-litre diesel engine - a first for a boxer configuration.
The budget beating Alto (shown at JIMS) is due for mid-year, whilst the Swift Sport should really liven things up when is comes to local shore by the fourth quarter this year. We might even see 4x4 versions of the SX4 later this year.
The new Indica, which will be more upmarket than the current model, goes on sale in the middle of the year.
A revised Fortuner range is on the cards for January, which will see some mechanical and styling changes. Although otherwise a quiet year for the Japanese car giant, the new Prius will become available in South Africa too. RAV4 gets some minor changes in the first quarter, while a facelifted Avanza should be available towards the end of the year, too.
Deny it as they may, you’re very likely to see the Golf 6 launched locally before the year is out; it’s simply too important a car to not bring to market as quickly as possible for VW. The superb Scirocco should add massive image credentials to the VW brand locally when it goes on sale in May too. And although VW will try to steal the limelight of the Ford Fiesta with the launch of an all-new Polo at the Frankfurt Motor Show, South Africans will have to wait until 2010 for the newcomer. And Citi Golf fanatics will be pleased to know that the ageing range will survive beyond 2009.
Big news for the Swedish manufacturer will be the launch of the mid-sized XC60 SUV in February. It will rival SUVs such as the VW Tiguan and BMW X3. Also look out for the new S60 which should be unveiled in 2009.