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 Micra396
Ford Figo 370
Renault Sandero294
Suzuki Swift 279
Volkswagen Up150

Compact Hatch/Sedan

VW Polo 2121
Toyota Yaris664
Ford Fiesta 477
Toyota Avanza 425
Renault Clio 422
Nissan Almera 403
Kia Rio355
Honda Jazz 199
Mazda2 174
Hyundai Accent 143
Opel Corsa 128
Honda Ballade104

Compact-Medium Hatch/Sedan

Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris 1189
VW Golf 381
Ford Focus 286
Audi A3 279
Mazda3240
BMW 1 Series169
VW Jetta 147
Hyundai Elantra 141
Volvo V40 46
Opel Astra 31
Kia Cerato28
Honda Civic24

Executive Sedan/Coupe

BMW 3-Series570
Audi A4110
BMW 5 Series87
BMW 4 Series80
Ford Mustang56
Audi A555
Lexus ES19
Volkswagen Passat14
Porsche Panamera11

Compact SUV/Crossover

Ford Ecosport 813
Hyundai Creta 413
Mazda CX-3 349
Suzuki Ignis 290
Renault Duster 186
Honda HR-V122
Renault Captur 120
Suzuki Jimny 115
Suzuki Vitara 69
Mahindra KUV 66
Jeep Renegade 55
GWM M449
Opel Crossland X49

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-V277
BMW X1224
Kia Sportage 181
Jaguar E-Pace136
Ford Kuga 119
Honda CR-V 114

Large SUV/Crossover

Toyota Fortuner 1274
Ford Everest 559
Toyota Land Cruiser200136
BMW X5171
Range Rover Sport147
Toyota Prado 119
Land Rover Discovery 94
Range Rover Velar72
Jeep Wrangler65
Mahindra XUV64
Jeep Grand Cherokee 52
Volvo XC9039

Bakkie

Toyota Hilux 3825
Ford Ranger 2753
Nissan NP200 1562
Isuzu KB 1273
Nissan NP300 Hardbody 745
Nissan Navara447
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

Toyota11 378
Volkswagen7541
Ford5595
Nissan5410
Hyundai3065
Mercedes-Benz2379
Renault1904
BMW1713
Isuzu1581
Kia1517
Mazda1246
Suzuki1012

IOL Motoring