The Toyota Starlet was the company’s best-selling passenger car in 2021, with a monthly average of just over 1000 sales. Picture: Cornel van Heerden.
The Toyota Starlet was the company’s best-selling passenger car in 2021, with a monthly average of just over 1000 sales. Picture: Cornel van Heerden.

One in four cars sold in SA in 2021 were Toyotas, these were the top sellers

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Jan 12, 2022

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Johannesburg - Following a dismal 2020 that we’d all like to forget, 2021 saw a return to growth for the South African new vehicle market, in spite of many supply chain disruptions among other challenges. A total of 464 122 units were sold last year, up 22.1% on the previous year, albeit still 15% below 2019 levels.

2021 was a particularly stellar year for Toyota, which sold a total of 117 659 vehicles, giving it an impressive overall market share of 25.4%, the highest since 2003. This means that that one in every four vehicles sold in SA last year was a Toyota. This also marked Toyota’s 42nd year of overall market leadership in the country.

There are no prizes for guessing which vehicle was Toyota’s best seller, with the Hilux bakkie surging ahead of all its stablemates with a total volume of 36 085 units for the year, which works out to an average of just over 3000 vehicles a month.

Toyota’s second best seller, and by far the country’s most popular people mover, was the Hiace taxi, which achieved an impressive volume of 15 699 units in 2021, or 1308 per month.

These two vehicles, as well as the Land Cruiser pick-up and Dyna, allowed Toyota to achieve a record light commercial vehicle market share of 42.2% last year.

But which was Toyota’s most popular passenger vehicle?

In a year from now that list is likely to be topped by the new Corolla Cross, which achieved volumes of 1757 and 1752 in its first two sales months of November and December.

However with the benefit of a full year on the market the Toyota Starlet emerged as the most popular passenger car, with 12 103 sales for the year (or 1008 per month). The Toyota Urban Cruiser, launched in March 2021, followed with 8899 sales.

The Starlet and Urban Cruiser are both sourced from Maruti Suzuki in India, and the pair have been consistently outselling their Suzuki counterparts the Baleno and Vitara Brezza.

“The last time Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) registered a market share higher than 25% was in 2003, and it was not necessarily a good year for the industry as total automotive sales were just slightly above 380 000,” Toyota said in response to 2021’s sales figures.

“This was followed by a few years where Toyota garnered a market share just above 19%. Worthy of mention however is that for the past five years, Toyota has been punching above a 20% share – an unprecedented run of success by any local automotive brand in recent history.”

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