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Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

RUMOUR HAS IT… Kia, Hyundai models on the way

Kia and Hyundai are ramping up on a number of new models. After a rather uninspiring response to the new Sonata in 2015, the company is set to introduce an updated variant next year with slightly more aggressive styling.

At the same time it is testing a performance version which will sit under the banner of the company’s new N division. A spokesperson for Hyundai SA has confirmed that neither model is currently planned for our market though, mainly due to exchange rate issues that would make the Sonata too expensive.

It remains to be seen if Kia will have the same issue when it attempts to get all sporty with its new Kia GT that first debuted in concept form back in 2011. The company is keen to get into the more performance oriented market to rival models such as the Mercedes CLS and Audi A7. Information coming out on the car, which is undergoing testing in the US, shows a vehicle with a lift back profile similar to that of the A7. However, the company is planning that the vehicle be much cheaper than the Audi rival, with pricing expected to compete against the Volkswagen CC.

Speaking of Volkswagen, the company is also busy testing the next generation of its Touareg SUV. The new model looks set to debut at the Geneva show next year and go on sale later in 2017. The company is reportedly planning to take the Touareg even more upmarket in a bid to rival the new Volvo XC90 and its in-house stablemate, the Audi Q7. Along with more luxury, expect more technology, particularly in the realms of infotainment where Volvo and the BMW X5 have definitely taken the lead.

Splash of colour

After BMW unveiled its 2002 Hommage concept at the Villa d’Este concours in Italy earlier this year, the company revealed a second concept at the Pebble Beach concours in the US. This time the concept pays homage to the glory days of the 2002 turbo in the 1970s, complete with orange and black livery and “Turbomeister” branding instead of the original Jagermeister sponsorship.

“The BMW 2002 Hommage celebrates the extraordinary feats of engineering on which BMW turbo technology is based and reinterprets them in a design study,” says Karim Habib, head of design BMW Automobiles. “With its iconic orange/black paintwork, the car has a colour scheme and livery synonymous in the minds of many motorsport fans with the triumphs of the 1970s.”

Cab couture

There is also no shortage of confirmed rumours when it comes to technology. Last week Ford announced that it will have a level 4 autonomous vehicle available in the US for ride sharing and cab hailing services. The new model will have no steering wheel or pedals and will drive itself around urban centres.

Now Volvo and Uber have announced that they are jointly investing $300m to develop a new vehicle based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture that will also be self-driving. Volvo will develop the base model and add its own autonomous technology, while taxi service Uber will buy the base vehicle from Volvo and add its own tech. The vehicle is expected on the roads in the early 2020s.

Pure performance

Ford has announced it will extend production of its GT supercar by another two years. It is also planning to add up to 12 new performance models by 2020, according to Autocar. While a number of them will not come to SA, there are a few we are excited about. One is the new Focus RS500, which will be limited to 500 models that will get more aggressive styling and power over the new Focus RS. That model is likely to be a run-out version of the Focus as Ford launches the new generation Focus in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Following the arrival of the Focus, 2018 will see a new ST version. Little is known about the company’s plans for its hot hatch, but we expect to see a concept alongside the new Focus when it is revealed. Prior to that, Ford will launch the next generation of its Fiesta ST. We expect a bigger body and more power but Autocar reports the new pocket rocket will retain its superb handling. – Business Day