Local motorists looking to drive the upcoming Ford Fiesta ST are set to be disappointed.
Speaking to Carmag, Ford South Africa has confirmed that the car won’t be coming to the country, citing ‘fuel quality’ as the primary reason.
Officials from the brand further suggested that South Africa’s fuel would not be compatible with the petrol particulate filter fitted to the Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre engine.
Ford also confirmed to Carmag that it is currently developing next-generation version of its Focus ST and Focus RS, but it remains to be seen whether a similar issue will prevent these upcoming models from being launched in South Africa.
While this news may be a shock for some South African drivers, it’s a problem that has been a long-time in the making, according to experts.
Speaking to BusinessTech at the end of 2017, Naamsa fuel and emissions working group chairperson Stuart Rayner explained that South Africa is about 15 years behind the rest of the world in terms of fuel standards and quality.
“With the widespread introduction of new technology including new 4 way catalytic converter equipped vehicles in Europe during 2018 we will now find that for the first time since the 1996 introduction of unleaded petrol in South Africa – that many regular petrol engine motor cars as available to the general public in Europe will not be able to be marketed in South Africa,” said Rayner.
“This will effectively deny the motoring public access to latest low emission vehicle technology,” he said.
He added that product restrictions are already being applied to local companies by their foreign principles, particularly due to the lack of availability of clean fuels (low sulphur fuel).
“It is illogical that vehicle manufacturers and importers should continue to be penalised for not introducing latest engine technology vehicles when many such vehicles will not be able to operate on South African fuel, and those models that are introduced may require expensive reverse engineering to use older less efficient engines.”