Most of the global trend spotters in the automotive industry are not living in the real world of South Africa.
They forecast the imminent rise of electric and self-driving vehicles which are many years – possibly even a decade – away from substantive reality here.
Tesla promised to launch locally in 2019 and it still hasn't arrived – and 2020 seems unlikely for them unless the government moves quickly to reduce tariffs on imported EVs.
The forecasters also tend to herald high-end, high-tech, high-priced vehicles which will gain little more than novelty attention in a South Africa in the grip of an economic crisis.
So, what can we look forward to of significance on our roads and in the showrooms during 2020? Here's what will be headed our way in the new year in the local motoring market.
Which new model are you most looking forward to arrive in SA in 2020? Email us.
1. Used is the new 'New'
Currently 2.12 used vehicles are purchased in SA with financing for every new one. If you included the unmeasured cash-based deals, the ratio would be far higher. In the tough economic environment that is forecast for us, I expect that ratio to widen even further as more buyers seek value in previously-owned vehicles.
2. Playing Golf
The arrival of the VW Golf 8 late in 2020 will be biggest new model news of the year and will trigger a small flood of old Golfs onto the previously-owned market. Also keep an eye out for the new Opel Corsa, another popular vehicle in SA.
3. Defending the Defender
The Land Rover brand locally is loved or loathed with a passion and the arrival of the shiny new Defender in 2020 will stir that debate up again.
4. SUV love affair
South Africans won’t lose their ever-expanding appetite for SUVs that suit the daily urban run, cope with poorly-maintained roads, and offer a hint of off-road holiday adventure. Nissan, Mazda, Mercedes and Datsun all have new SUVs coming in 2020 in this highly competitive segment, as does, at a heavy price tag, Audi with its super-powerful RS Q8.
5. Chinese bakkies
GWM are expected to launch their P Series double cab bakkie during 2020 and have very big ambitions in this market.
6. High-end fun
If you have the bucks, there will be excitement about the expensive arrivals of the electric Porsche Taycan, Mini’s punchy new JCW GP and Lexus' luxurious LS 500.
7. Dealers getting it
The clever and responsive use of IT is no longer a luxury for car dealerships. The best of them will offer a greater range of innovative digital channels for marketing, exploring models, test drives, servicing, and customer response.