Hilux sales top 40 000 units, Suzuki, Bentley fly, Merc takes a knock

The Toyota Hilux is yet again South Africa’s favourite vehicle, selling a whopping 40 018 units in 2018.  This is up 10% on 2017 sales, at 36 422 units.Ford’s Ranger bakkie, which at one stage came unnervingly close to the throne, saw an 8% decline in sales in 2018 compared with 2017, to 30 141 units. 

The South African total new-vehicle sales market declined by 1% in 2018, to 552 190 units, down from the 557 703 units sold in 2017, according to data released this week.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) says the domestic market is currently characterised by a buying-down trend with sales of entry-level vehicles, small utility vehicles and crossovers performing well, “in relative terms”.

The premium car segment continues to experience significant pressure, adds Naamsa.

Some evidence of this can be found in Mercedes-Benz passenger car sales, which dropped 22% in 2018, to around 16 000 units.

BMW, however, held steady, at roughly 18 000 units.

Volvo Cars, which continues to shed its conservative image, defied the trend, growing by 24%, to around 2 500 units.

Suzuki, a specialist in largely small, more affordable cars, proved the buying-down trend true, growing by a massive 37%, to more than 12 000 units.

What is also clear from the numbers, is that those with a fair amount of spare cash did not feel the bite of a rather frosty 2018 economy, with Porsche sales up 2.4% to 1 332 units.

Ferrari sales inched up from 76 units to 79 units.

Luxury brand Bentley saw keen interest as sales increased from 59 units in 2017, to 88 units in 2018.

Maserati, however, had a tough year, with sales declining from 165 units in 2017, to 86 units in 2018.

Lastly, if there was a buying-down trend in 2018, was there perhaps also a trend of people returning to public transportas motoring became too expensive?

Sales of the Toyota Quantum, which is largely used in the minibus taxi industry, increased by 6% (almost a 1 000 units), to around 16 500 units.

* The sales in this article were calculated using the monthly unaudited sales figures released by Lightstone Auto and the Department of Trade and Industry.



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