Though it couldn't catch the bakkies in the overall sales race, Volkswagen's new Polo Vivo shot to the top of the passenger car sales charts, as had been expected.

New-vehicle sales in South Africa saw slight growth last month as consumers pre-emptively bought to avoid the increase in value added tax, new vehicle emissions taxes and ad valorem duty changes announced in the budget.

The 49 233 cars, light commercial vehicles and trucks sold in March improved by 535 units or 1.1% compared to the same month last year.

The growth was mainly driven by passenger cars which were 3.7% up on March 2017, as bakkies and mini buses took a 2.3% tumble. Medium-sized trucks dropped 14.6% and heavy trucks were down 7.9% compared to the corresponding month last year.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) expects new-vehicle sales to grow by 3% overall in 2018.

It says medium term prospects for the economy had improved considerably on the back of the decision by Moody’s to retain South Africa’s international and domestic credit rating at investment grade, as well as the 0.25% reduction in official interest rate at the end of March, 2018.

TOP 20 SELLING VEHICLES - MARCH 2018

1. Toyota Hilux 3825
2. Ford Ranger2753
3. VW Polo Vivo 2736
4. VW Polo 2121
5. Nissan NP200 1562
6. Toyota Quantum 1540
7. Toyota Fortuner 1274
8. Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest 1189
9. Hyundai Grand i10 1032
10. Renault Kwid 856
11. Ford EcoSport 813
12. Kia Picanto 789
13. Toyota Etios 696
14. Toyota Yaris 664
15. Datsun Go 610
16. Nissan NP300 603
17. Ford Everest 559
18. VW Tiguan 525
19. Hyundai i10 516
20. BMW 3 Series 506

Watch out for our comprehensive 'best sellers by segment' feature on Wednesday.

* List excludes Mercedes-Benz and GWM who do not reveal their monthly sales figures.