IT is going to be a great year for Ford in South Africa. The company is going to launch at least six new models as well as effecting a number of facelifts.
While there is still no news on the replacement for the Bantam bakkie, there will be a new commercial vehicle that will add to the bottom line of many dealers who have complained about the lack of a small, half-tonner.
Although the new commercial vehicle, the Transit van, is much bigger, it will go a long way in pleasing dealers.
The new Fiesta, Transit and Tourneo, Fiesta ST, Kuga and EcoSport, will make their way into showrooms across the country this year.
These global vehicles all share Ford's good levels of quality, safety, technology and fuel economy.
"It's going to be an exciting year for us, with an exciting variety of models being introduced locally," said Ford South Africa's marketing manager, Gavin Golightly.
"From driving enthusiasts to young families and small business owners, we have something for everyone. We've also gone further to provide an enjoyable driving experience, be it with driver assistance technologies or smart in-car features."
One smart feature common across all these vehicles is the award-winning Ford SYNC.
The hands-free in-car connectivity system enables drivers to make calls or select music from devices connected via Bluetooth or USB, while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road throughout.
The new Fiesta is set to make its debut in the coming weeks, sporting bold new styling, a number of feature enhancements and the introduction of the International Engine of the Year, as awarded by Engine Technology International magazine, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.
This engine, already selected for both the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and Engine Technology International's International Engine of the Year Award in Europe, delivers 4.3l/100km on a combined cycle route – a clear indication of the company's commitment to provide fuel-efficient vehicles.
With 92kW and 170Nm on offer, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost delivers more power for its size than even some premium cars.
Transit and Tourneo
With their dynamic styling, car-like interior design and driving dynamics, smart technologies and outstanding fuel economy, the Transit and its people-mover version, the Tourneo, bring new levels of style and function to the one-ton commercial vehicle market in South Africa.
The fuel-efficient 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine is available in both vehicles.
The Tourneo seats up to eight passengers and provides generous space for people and luggage.
The newly designed seats can be folded into multiple configurations and removed in segments.
All-new Fiesta ST
Sporting the turbo-charged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine, the all-new Fiesta ST serves up impressive numbers: 132kW of power, 240Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in under seven seconds, and top speed of more than 220km/h.
The EcoBoost technology delivers a 20% reduction in CO2emissions, compared with the previous Fiesta ST.
The high-contrast interior features levels of equipment and specification to suit the sporting driver, with standard Recaro sports seats appearing in a Fiesta ST for the first time.
This is really the all-new Kuga.
Ford South Africa came in for heavy criticism when they launched the Kuga last year. They billed it the "new Kuga" when in fact it was the run-out model.
The really all-new Kuga introduces innovations such as the hands-free automatic tailgate, which can be opened and closed simply by sweeping a foot under the rear bumper.
A range of driver assistance technologies including the parallel parking aid Active Park Assist and sensor-based Blind Spot Information System will also be available.
The smart Kuga AWD system also pre-emptively reassesses conditions 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting the AWD power split to give the driver the best blend of handling and traction.
There will be two powertrain choices: Ford's popular 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine, or the 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine.
The all-new EcoSport combines small car practicality with the flexibility, spaciousness, agility and style of a sports utility.
The compact, rugged and fuel-efficient sports utility will be equipped with Ford's latest EcoBoost engine – the 1.0-litre three-cylinder, which was recently voted the 2012 International Engine of the Year.
It is going to be a good year for Ford!