Johannesburg - South Africa’s new vehicle market surged ahead for the fifth consecutive month in October, with an overall gain of 4.6 percent over October last year.

The month saw a total of 51 037 vehicles finding homes, and among these passenger vehicles registered an improvement of 7.9 percent year-on-year to 35 316 units.

Light commercials (13 376) actually registered a modest decline of 1.7 percent over October last year, however, as did the medium and heavy truck and bus segments, down 3.2 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.

The latter is a worrying sign economically, and although the relatively buoyant passenger vehicle sales might seem like a cause for celebration, it’s likely that there are cyclical factors at play here. TransUnion recently commented that a dwindling supply of used vehicles as a consequence of lower new vehicle sales over the past few years is pushing up the price of used vehicles, while new vehicle inflation is slowing for various reasons, luring more buyers into the new car section of the showroom.

However the weakening of the rand following last month’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement has yet to be reflected in car prices, and this could certainly throw a spanner in the works in the coming months, should the currency not bounce back. The higher fuel prices caused by this, and rising international oil prices, will put further pressure on consumers going into 2018.

South Africa’s vehicle export sales took a knock in October, falling 8.3 percent to 28 229 vehicles, but Naamsa attributes this in part to the recent Durban storms, which affected operations in the country's biggest port. Volkswagen’s changeover to the new-generation Polo could also adversely affect exports in the coming months.

Movers and shakers

After many months of losing out to the Toyota Hilux, Ford’s Ranger climbed to the top of the sales charts in October, with 2855 sales, versus its Japanese rival’s 2483. Although still lagging somewhat, Isuzu’s KB has gained some momentum in recent months, rising to around 1400 units a month from a previous average in the region of 1000, which is a good sign for the local Isuzu operation following GM’s divestment.

On the passenger car front, Volkswagen’s locally-assembled hatchbacks continue to sell up a storm ahead of their imminent model changeover, with the Polo Vivo narrowly losing out to the Ford Ranger in the overall sales race, with 2851 sales in October, while the Polo range saw a volume of 1950.

Also in the compact hatch sector, Kia had a strong month with 1020 Picantos and 843 Rios finding homes, while Toyota managed to move 2059 Etios hatches and sedans, more than double the previous month.

Below we’ve listed the top performers in seven key segments, although please note that we have avoided the premium segments due to the fact that Mercedes-Benz and BMW currently do not report individual sales figures.

Budget Hatch/Sedan

Volkswagen Polo Vivo 2851
Toyota Etios 2059
Kia Picanto 1020
Datsun Go 528
Renault Kwid 511
Ford Figo 473
Renault Sandero 442
Hyundai i10 367
Hyundai Grand i10 366
Nissan Micra 324
Suzuki Swift 314
Datsun Go+ 200

Compact Hatch/Sedan

Volkswagen Polo 1950
Ford Fiesta 855
Kia Rio 843
Renault Clio 696
Toyota Avanza 659
Hyundai i20 640
Nissan Almera 431
Hyundai Accent 346
Mazda2 214
Suzuki Baleno 98
Honda Ballade 96
Toyota Yaris 88

Compact/Medium Hatch/Sedan

Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris 2135
Volkswagen Golf 676
Ford Focus 298
Audi A3 265
Mazda3 262
Volkswagen Jetta 138
Hyundai Elantra 135
Renault Megane 74
Opel Astra 36
Kia Cerato 25
Subaru Impreza 25
Volvo V40 24

Compact Crossover/SUV

Ford EcoSport 1047
Hyundai Creta 395
Mazda CX-3 294
Renault Captur 229
Suzuki Ignis 129
Honda BR-V 95
Suzuki Jimny 88
Opel Mokka X 83
Mitsubishi ASX 53
Mahindra KUV100 52
Jeep Renegade 41
Suzuki Vitara 40

Compact/Medium Crossover/SUV

Toyota Rav4 916
Hyundai Tucson 522
Nissan X-Trail 396
Volkswagen Tiguan 336
Mazda CX-5 283
Nissan Qashqai 283
Toyota C-HR 170
Kia Sportage 161
Audi Q5 134
Renault Duster 127
Honda HR-V 105
Honda CR-V 93

Large Crossover/SUV (Sub-R1-million)

Toyota Fortuner 1337
Ford Everest 594
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 119
Toyota Prado 59
Jeep Grand Cherokee 46
Mahindra XUV 44
Chevrolet Trailblazer 33
Jeep Wrangler 27
Mahindra Scorpio 27
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 27

Bakkies (all)

Ford Ranger 2855
Toyota Hilux 2483
Isuzu KB 1399
Nissan NP200 1348
Nissan NP300 Hardbody 957
Chevrolet Utility 346
Hyundai H100 Bakkie 337
Volkswagen Amarok 256
Toyota Land Cruiser PU 218
Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 169
Nissan Navara 144
Kia K2700 93

Top Companies

Toyota 12 312
Volkswagen 7898
Ford 6337
Nissan 4858
Hyundai 3464
GMSA/Isuzu 2452
Kia 2219
Renault 2150
Mercedes-Benz 2015
BMW 1341
Mazda 1116
Suzuki 917

Sales Channels

Dealer network 75.1%
Rental industry 18.9%
Government 2.9%
Corporate 3.1%

Data source: Naamsa

IOL Motoring