While domestic new passenger vehicle sales slipped slightly by 0.6% in March 2023, there are still some clear brand and model favourites among those who purchased a new car last month.
Domestic new vehicle sales were recorded at 50,157 units – 308 units below the 50,465 new vehicles sold in March 2022. However, a month-on-month comparison shows sales increased by 10.9% compared to the 45,198 new vehicle sales units recorded for February 2023.
As of March 2023, Toyota continues as the most popular brand in South Africa, selling 13,406 vehicles. This is partly due to the popularity of its flagship bakkie – the Toyota Hilux – which sold a whopping 3,920 units.
Volkswagen (VW) also remains the second most popular brand, with 6,139 units sold, while Suzuki is third, with a total of 3,734 units sold.
Toyota comprised 26.7% of all vehicles sold last month. This is more than the combined sales of VW (12.2%) and Suzuki (7.4%), which comprised 19.7% of all vehicles sold.
Of the total reported industry sales of 50,157 vehicles, 87.3% were represented by dealer sales, 6.1% to the vehicle rental industry, 4.1% to the government, and 2.5% to corporate industry fleets.
The top 10 brands that sold the most cars locally in February 2023 were:
- Toyota – 13,406 units
- Volkswagen Group – 6,139 units
- Suzuki – 3,734 units
- Hyundai – 3,032 units
- Nissan – 3,012 units
- Ford – 2,993 units
- Isuzu – 2,961 units
- Renault – 2,058 units
- friend – 2,002 units
- Come on – 1,833 units
While domestic sales dipped year-on-year, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) noted that domestic sales still reached over 50,000 – a mark that has been surpassed only twice since October 2019, in March 2022 and now in March 2023.
This is a positive sign and shows that there is a stable buyer base who have factored in the rising costs of living and interest rate hikes and are still able to afford a new vehicle.
However, this is not sustainable for long.
Naamsa noted the continued monetary policy tightening, domestic and global slowing growth, as well as energy shortages, will have greater spillover to the overall performance of the industry moving forward.
“The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) ‘s interest rates increase by 50 basis points to a prime lending rate of 11,25% is already impacting a shrinking disposable income purse many consumers rely on when making new vehicle sales decisions,” it said.
Despite this, Naamsa and WesBank still expect growth in the vehicle industry in 2023. Year-to-date sales are up 2.4%, closing out the first quarter with 139,437 units.
“WesBank continues to expect market growth this year off the back of improved supply and the need to refresh the replacement cycle that has been delayed over the past few years,” said Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communications at WesBank.
Unsurprisingly, the Toyota Hilux came out on top as the best-selling car in March – which is the third consecutive month for 2023.
Toyota boasted five models in the top ten most popular cars – which included the Hilux (1st), Toyota Corolla Cross (5th), Toyota Hi-Ace (6th), Toyota Fortuner (8th), and the Toyota Starlet (9th).
The second and third most popular brands, VW and Suzuki, also featured models in the top ten – the VW Polo Vivo (4th) and the Suzuki Swift (10th).
Notably, Both the Isuzu D-Max and Ford Range saw a notable gain in popularity in March, gaining 542 and 441 sales, respectively, compared to February 2023.
The top 14 best-selling models, including the abovementioned models, and how many units were sold in February 2023 are listed below.
1. Toyota Hilux – 3,920 units sold
2. Isuzu D-Max – 2,289 units sold
3. Ford Ranger – 2,247 units sold
4. VW Polo Vivo – 2,016 units sold
5. Toyota Corolla Cross – 1,839 units sold
6. Toyota Hi-Ace – 1,541 units sold
7. Nissan NP200 – 1,404 units sold
8. Toyota Fortuner – 1,409 units sold
9. Toyota Starlet – 1,276 units sold
10. Suzuki Swift – 1,248 units sold
11. VW Polo – 1,008 units sold
12. Mahindra Pik Up – 966 units sold
13. Hyundai Grand i10 – 957 units sold
14. Haval Jolion – 940 units sold
15. Chery Tiggo 4 Pro – 918 units sold
Read: The cars you can afford on the average salary in South Africa right now
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