The new Volkswagen Polo Vivo shot to the top of the passenger vehicle sales charts in March.

Johannesburg - South Africa’s new vehicle market shifted to a state of marginal growth in March, with overall sales increasing 1.1 percent year-on-year, however this has largely been attributed to pre-emptive buying ahead of April’s triple tax punch that saw government increase VAT, ad valorem and emissions penalties.

It was passenger vehicles sold through the dealer channels that saw the biggest gain last month (8.8 percent year-on-year), while rental sales took a 14.9 percent knock, reportedly due to seasonal factors.

Light commercial vehicle sales were down 2.3 percent overall, although they were up 1.3 percent through the dealer channel.

WesBank’s marketing head Ghana Msibi said: “Following the budget speech indicating an increase in VAT and ad valorem tax from 1 April, it is our view that consumers opted to avoid the increases these factors will have on vehicle purchase prices. These, combined with the renewed consumer and business confidence, and a reduction in the repo rate contributed to the growth in the passenger car segment.”

Both WesBank and Naamsa are anticipating a total market growth of around three percent this year.

ALSO READ: SA's top selling vehicles in 7 key segments: Feb

Medium term prospects for South Africa’s economy have improved considerably on the back of Moody’s decision to retain the country’s credit ratings at investment grade, with an upgraded stable outlook, Naamsa said.

Furthermore, the association expects the current rand strength to keep new car price inflation at bay, while improved business and consumer confidence would result in economic growth, ultimately translating into improved vehicle sales.

Top sellers in March

Volkswagen’s new Polo Vivo range gathered full sales steam in March, romping to the top of South Africa’s passenger vehicle sales charts, while the NEW Polo tapered off from 2847 units to 2121. 

Another notable performer was Renault’s Kwid (up from 582 to 856), while Hyundai’s Grand i10 range - which recently became more affordable with the addition of a 1-litre model - put on another strong 1000+ unit performance.

Volkswagen’s Tiguan once again upset the C-segment SUV applecart, topping the chart with 525 sales, while Nissan’s recently facelifted Qashqai and X-Trail both put in strong 400+ performances, pushing the usual front-runners - Toyota’s Rav4 and Hyundai’s Tucson - to third and fifth respectively.

Below we’ve listed the 12 best sellers in eight of the key segments. Keep in mind that Mercedes-Benz vehicles are excluded from the list as the company does not report individual sales figures.

Budget Hatch/Sedan

VW Polo Vivo 2736
Hyundai Grand i10 1032
Renault Kwid 856
Kia Picanto 789
Toyota Etios 696
Datsun Go 610
Hyundai i10 516
Nissan Micra 396
Ford Figo 370
Renault Sandero 294
Suzuki Swift 279
Volkswagen Up 150

Compact Hatch/Sedan

VW Polo 2121
Toyota Yaris 664
Ford Fiesta 477
Toyota Avanza 425
Renault Clio 422
Nissan Almera 403
Kia Rio 355
Honda Jazz 199
Mazda2 174
Hyundai Accent 143
Opel Corsa 128
Honda Ballade 104

Compact-Medium Hatch/Sedan

Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris 1189
VW Golf 381
Ford Focus 286
Audi A3 279
Mazda3 240
BMW 1 Series 169
VW Jetta 147
Hyundai Elantra 141
Volvo V40 46
Opel Astra 31
Kia Cerato 28
Honda Civic 24

Executive Sedan/Coupe

BMW 3-Series 570
Audi A4 110
BMW 5 Series 87
BMW 4 Series 80
Ford Mustang 56
Audi A5 55
Lexus ES 19
Volkswagen Passat 14
Porsche Panamera 11

Compact SUV/Crossover

Ford Ecosport 813
Hyundai Creta 413
Mazda CX-3 349
Suzuki Ignis 290
Renault Duster 186
Honda HR-V 122
Renault Captur 120
Suzuki Jimny 115
Suzuki Vitara 69
Mahindra KUV 66
Jeep Renegade 55
GWM M4 49
Opel Crossland X 49

Compact-Medium SUV/Crossover

VW Tiguan 525
Nissan Qashqai 489
Toyota Rav4 463
Nissan X-Trail 444
Hyundai Tucson 400
Mazda CX-5 378
Honda BR-V 277
BMW X1 224
Kia Sportage 181
Jaguar E-Pace 136
Ford Kuga 119
Honda CR-V 114

Large SUV/Crossover

Toyota Fortuner 1274
Ford Everest 559
Toyota Land Cruiser200 136
BMW X5 171
Range Rover Sport 147
Toyota Prado 119
Land Rover Discovery 94
Range Rover Velar 72
Jeep Wrangler 65
Mahindra XUV 64
Jeep Grand Cherokee 52
Volvo XC90 39

Bakkie

Toyota Hilux 3825
Ford Ranger 2753
Nissan NP200 1562
Isuzu KB 1273
Nissan NP300 Hardbody 745
Nissan Navara 447
Hyundai H100 Bakkie 285
Toyota Landcruiser PU 262
Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 196
VW Amarok 176
GWM Steed 163
Mazda BT-50 98

TOP COMPANIES

Toyota 11 378
Volkswagen 7541
Ford 5595
Nissan 5410
Hyundai 3065
Mercedes-Benz 2379
Renault 1904
BMW 1713
Isuzu 1581
Kia 1517
Mazda 1246
Suzuki 1012

IOL Motoring