REPORT: Here are the brands and the cars South Africans find most desirable

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Mar 2, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - It should come as no surprise; BMW is the most searched for car brand in South Africa, the Toyota Hilux is the most desired car model and online vehicle searches have grown by an impressive 54.1%.

This is according to the latest bi-annual AutoTrader Car Industry Report, titled #ReBound. The report covers July 2020 to December 2020 and it includes interesting data that is pertinent to the used and new car market in South Africa.

Top 10 most searched for brands on Autotrader

According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, 2020 saw an unprecedented interruption to the local automotive industry: “2020 will be a year that will go down in history. Lockdown was the catalyst that is driving and – in many ways – forcing an accelerated change in the automotive industry.”

He explains that what would have taken years suddenly started happening sooner. “We have seen a compression of the innovation curve in the South African automotive industry (as a result of Covid pressures and uncertainty). It is like we are being fast-forwarded. New automotive technologies, business models and thinking should begin to emerge in 2021,” he predicts.

Automotive brands South Africans search for the most

While 2020 was turbulent, it wasn’t without its highs. For instance, during the last six months, 270 million total searches were conducted, a record high, representing growth of 54,1% year-on-year. The most-searched-for brand in the country on Autotrader was BMW once again, which accounted for 15.4% of all car brand searches from 1 July to 31 December 2020.

Mercedes-Benz took second place from Volkswagen – with 14.8% of all car searches.

Volkswagen clocked in third with 14.3% of the searches.

Top 10 most searched for models on Autotrader

BMW also romped home first in the Consumer Advert View (CAV) department (which is one of the leading indicators of demand according to Mienie), receiving 19,3 million views. This was over nine million more views than the same period a year ago. In total, over 130 million car views, indicating an incredible 70% increase year-on-year.

The most searched for model – with 9.3 million searches – was the Toyota Hilux, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The BMW 3 Series which was previously 2nd in the previous AutoTrader Bi-Annual Car Industry Report dropped to 4th place.

Used car prices rose in the second half of 2020, which is unusual and can only be put down to the effects of lockdown – historically, prices in the second half of the calendar year are lower. In the second half of 2020, average car prices rose to R312,794 representing an 8,5% increase, with the average mileage being 70,429 km, representing a 4,7% decrease.

The full report, as well as an array of previous automotive reports, are available at

Sporty models are sought after by South Africans


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