Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Sunday, 01 October 2023 13:30

Here is why the new Ford Puma is well over R500,000.

Motoring Reporter.

Ford recently broke the news that the new Puma is coming to South Africa shortly after delisting the EcoSport in the local market, with the high-end nature of the new crossover, the exchange rate of the domestic currency, and its direct competitors all playing a role in its half-million-rand-plus price tag.

For this price, the new Ford is equipped as standard with amenities such as a wireless charging pad, an 8-inch infotainment system with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation, keyless entry, and FordPass Connect that enables functions such as a vehicle locator, vehicle status checker, remote door lock/unlock, and remote start via a smartphone.

In the more expensive ST-Line Vignale trim, the Puma additionally offers a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, keyless start, lumbar massage front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 10-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a hands-free tailgate.

The Puma line-up is fitted with a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine – providing 92kW and 170Nm, via a seven-speed automatic shifter.

With the EcoSport being available in nine trims selling from R311,400 before its discontinuation, it was expected that the Puma would be somewhat pricier, but not by much.

This is because the Puma sits on the same B3 platform as the EcoSport (and Fiesta), it has the same 1.0-litre engine as the EcoSport that has been on sale since 2013, it has similar dimensions to the EcoSport, and it has many of the same features as the top-spec EcoSport Titanium.

Comparing the prices, the top-spec EcoSport costs R416,900, meaning the entry-level Puma outprices the current Ford crossover by a notable R153,000.

This new pricing for the Puma pits it against some tough competitors, including the Nissan Qashqai Visia (R568,200), Mazda CX-30 individual (R573,100), and the VW T-Roc Design (R596,200).

TopAuto reached out to Ford South Africa to get more clarity on its newcomer’s price, which they provided – pointing to the target market and the exchange rate as the main determinate factors.

"In general, Puma is a more comprehensively equipped and stylish package, priced in line with the market," with the crossover marking the debut of Ford’s all-new "upmarket" Vignale trim, the company told TopAuto.

"The Puma is sourced from Romania, and its pricing is thereby also influenced by exchange rates," it added. For example, in Romania, the crossover starts at around R480,000 and is available in seven variants.

The more premium aesthetic of the Puma versus the EcoSport, the rand/euro exchange rate, and import taxes were, therefore, the main contributors to its substantial cost, which is at least R153,000 higher than that of the most expensive EcoSport.

When asked if a more affordable Puma would eventually make it to market, Ford said that it "can't comment on other derivatives at this stage."

The Puma is not meant to replace the EcoSport, but rather serve as Ford's sole offering in the affordable segment of the market. Without it, the only options from the automaker would be the Everest, Ranger, and Mustang, all of which have high price points.