South Africa has never been far behind global trends when it comes to motoring. Sure, on occasion we might stumble to catch up but eventually we get there.
The 4th annual Festival of Motoring, held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit between Thursday and Sunday, is a window into what our vehicle landscape may look like in the near future if it were up to the manufacturers.
On Wednesday, the media were invited to take the first peak.
And there’s undoubtedly plenty to see. Most major car brands have brought a few of their 2020 models along as well as a concept car here or there. Some even offer a driving experience with a professional driver at the helm. Other booths are filled with VR and simulation games to give you a sense of those models. Plenty to see, touch and hear.
All the other trappings you might expect from a motoring festival are of course there as well. There’s classic cars to ogle at and the revs of rambunctious drag cars to soak up. A skid pad should provide plenty of fun while the 4×4 zone will display the latest capabilities of that market.
But it’s electric cars where many of the manufacturers are looking to make their biggest plea.
Much of the developed world is increasingly looking to move away from diesel and petrol as best it can and new models are arriving in the market every year. What the manufacturers want is the South African government to cut import tariffs so the country can join what they view as a global revolution in progress. There will be plenty of discussions and presentations at the festival around the topic should the debate interest you. Volkswagen even brought along its sleek ID.R racing car to brag about the capability of electric.
China is another that’s looking at penetrating deeper into the local market. Baic and Haval are showcasing their new models that you can climb into and scrutinise the quality for yourself. With more and more SUVs selling globally, to the detriment of the sedan, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see cheaper ones such as the Haval appear more often on our roads.
Another new addition to the local scene, and a welcome one at that, is the Supra GR. Toyota has redesigned its classic speedster with a little bit of help from BMW and the sexy new design is the highlight of the gallery at Kyalami’s lower pits. Be sure to hop in for a ride and take in the growl for yourself as a professional driver takes you around the track.
The showcase doesn’t stop there and the festival is sure to prove a delight for all types of enthusiasts, families or just about anyone who enjoys a closer engagement with cool stuff.