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South Africa's new vehicle sales finally swinging

Industry news

Johannesburg - After 14 months of a downward spiral the South African new-vehicle market has finally made an upward swing, with January’s sales figures showing a 3.7 percent gain year on year.

Though the growth is modest, and comes off an extremely low base, the positive figures are a welcome sight for a traumatised market which has endured a weakening rand and harsh inflation for over a year. The marginal growth came mostly from rental and government sales, which saw 32.5% and 26.6% increases respectively. Sales at dealer level, where the bulk of vehicles are shifted, was down 3.6 percent compared to January 2016.

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Volkswagen's Polo Vivo has returned to the top of the best-sellers list.

“Growth in the industry is always positive,” says Wesbank’s Rudolf Mahoney. “However the January result should not be seen as indicative of a trend for this year. Consumer budgets remain under pressure, as seen in the dealer channel sales, and we should not rely on continued double-digit growth in the rental channel.”

The passenger vehicle market represented 36 794 of a total reported 50 333 sales in January, showing a healthy 4.7 percent rise compared to January 2016. Light commercials improved by 1.6 percent with 11 977 sales, while medium (493) and heavy (1069) commercials reflected 3.0 percent and 1.3 percent declines respectively.

Wesbank, the country’s biggest vehicle financier, added that applications for new vehicles were down 1 percent year on year, indicating that consumers are holding on to their cars for longer due to affordability concerns. The used car market continues to grow with finance applications growing by 7.3 percent in January. Used car finance applications outweighed new ones by 2.5 to one.

* In the wake of the recent fire scandal, sales of new Ford Kugas have dropped from an average of 172 per month over the last four months of 2016, to just 74 in January. The affected 1.6-litre version is no longer on the market but the controversy appears to have tainted the range. The drop in sales may also be because there is a facelifted Kuga version to be launched soon.

THE NUMBERS: January 2017

Sales Channels

Dealerships: 70.3 percent

Rental industry: 23.8 percent

Corporate clients: 3.1 percent

Government sales: 2.8 percent

Top companies

1. Toyota – 12 252

2. Volkswagen – 8454

3. Ford – 6634

4. Motus (AMH) – 4695

5. Nissan – 4295

6. Mercedes-Benz – 2427

7. GM/Isuzu – 3005

8. BMW – 1759

9. Renault – 1618

10. Mazda – 1151

Top 50 Reported Sales*

1. Volkswagen Polo Vivo – 2951

2. Volkswagen Polo – 2734

3. Ford Ranger – 2677

4. Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris – 2628

5. Toyota Hilux – 2398

6. Toyota Etios – 2302

7. Ford Fiesta – 1707

8. Toyota Fortuner – 1233

9. Toyota Quantum – 1192

10. Nissan NP200 – 1150

11. Nissan NP300 Hardbody – 1020

12. Chevrolet Spark – 966

13. Ford EcoSport – 828

14. Isuzu KB – 772

15. Toyota Rav4 – 689

16. Renault Kwid – 621

17. Toyota Avanza – 611

18. Chevrolet Utility – 609

19. Nissan Almera – 502

20. Datsun Go – 472

21. BMW 3 Series – 447

22. Volkswagen Golf – 435

23. Renault Clio – 394

24. Renault Sandero – 384

25. Ford Figo – 377

26. Ford Everest – 365

27. Ford Focus – 364

28. Mazda CX-3 – 326

29. Mazda CX-5 – 301

30. Volkswagen Up – 292

31. Toyota Land Cruiser PU – 286

32. Volkswagen Tiguan – 282

33. Datsun Go+ – 277

34. Nissan X-Trail – 276

35. Mazda3 – 244

36. BMW 1 Series – 239

37. Volkswagen Amarok – 237

38. Mazda2 – 228

39. Audi A3 – 226

40. Nissan NV350 Taxi – 212

41. Suzuki Swift – 210

42. Nissan Qashqai – 202

43. Toyota Yaris – 185

44. Audi A4 – 183

45. BMW 2 Series – 180

46. BMW X1 – 169

47. Honda Brio – 167

48. Toyota Aygo – 156

49. VW Caddy Panel Van – 155

50. BMW 4 Series – 154

* List excludes non-reporters such as Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Kia and GWM.

IOL Motoring

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