The cheapest new car on the market at the moment is the Fiat Uno Mia at R55 600, but that could change as the team behind the proposed Africar Trabant want to sell the vehicle for about R25 000. Would you be interested?

The cheapest new car on the market at the moment is the Fiat Uno Mia at R55 600, but that could change as the team behind the proposed Africar Trabant want to sell the vehicle for about R25 000.

CARtoday.com reported recently that a version of the East German Trabant could make its way to South Africa through Sachsenring Fahrzeugtechnik, a subsidiary of the now-insolvent successor to the communist-era manufacturers.

At the weekend reported that a businessman believes the Trabant could be easily modified for African roads as it is low-tech, involves low maintenance and cheap.

“We love this technology,” said businessman Peter Mandos. He said that the low-tech knowledge from Sachsenring could be used to set up factories in developing countries. Mandos said Sachsenring was the right choice “because they know how to build a simple indestructible car”.

Mandos said he was raising the R8,2 million needed to run a feasibility study for the Africar. The plan is for cars with simple, sturdy steel frames and strong suspensions to handle bad roads. It will also have plastic parts like the old Trabants. This vehicle would sell for just under R25 000.

The Trabant was East Germany’s answer to the Volkswagen. It was supposed to be economical, convenient and available in huge numbers. But it had production problems, which saw many consumers waiting nine years for their vehicle. The car was mainly plastic, and many of the parts were made using hand-operated systems. About 3,3-million Trabants were built at Zwickau in south-east Germany between 1957 and 1991.

Mandos said the Africar would be slightly different to the Trabant for environmental reasons and the feasibility study would determine if a two-stroke engine, like the one used by the Trabants, could be used. He said cheap engines could be available from Russian car manufacturers.

Mandos said that apart from R8,2 million for the feasibility study, he would need a further R400-R700 million to build a factory and was looking for an investor.

Would a R25 000 Africar appeal to the South African market?

Original article from Car