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 Vivo2851
Toyota Etios2059
Kia Picanto1020
Datsun Go528
Renault Kwid511
Ford Figo473
Renault Sandero442
Hyundai i10367
Hyundai Grand i10366
Nissan Micra324
Suzuki Swift314
Datsun Go+200

Compact Hatch/Sedan

Volkswagen Polo1950
Ford Fiesta855
Kia Rio843
Renault Clio696
Toyota Avanza659
Hyundai i20640
Nissan Almera431
Hyundai Accent346
Mazda2214
Suzuki Baleno98
Honda Ballade96
Toyota Yaris88

Compact/Medium Hatch/Sedan

Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris2135
Volkswagen Golf676
Ford Focus298
Audi A3265
Mazda3262
Volkswagen Jetta138
Hyundai Elantra135
Renault Megane74
Opel Astra36
Kia Cerato25
Subaru Impreza25
Volvo V4024

Compact Crossover/SUV

Ford EcoSport1047
Hyundai Creta395
Mazda CX-3294
Renault Captur229
Suzuki Ignis129
Honda BR-V95
Suzuki Jimny88
Opel Mokka X83
Mitsubishi ASX53
Mahindra KUV10052
Jeep Renegade41
Suzuki Vitara40

Compact/Medium Crossover/SUV

Toyota Rav4916
Hyundai Tucson522
Nissan X-Trail396
Volkswagen Tiguan336
Mazda CX-5283
Nissan Qashqai283
Toyota C-HR170
Kia Sportage161
Audi Q5134
Renault Duster127
Honda HR-V105
Honda CR-V93

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 Scorpio27
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 Bakkie337
Volkswagen Amarok 256
Toyota Land Cruiser PU218
Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up169
Nissan Navara 144
Kia K2700 93

Top Companies

Toyota12 312
Volkswagen7898
Ford6337
Nissan4858
Hyundai 3464
GMSA/Isuzu2452
Kia2219
Renault2150
Mercedes-Benz2015
BMW1341
Mazda1116
Suzuki917

Sales Channels

Dealer network75.1%
Rental industry18.9%
Government2.9%
Corporate3.1%

Data source: Naamsa

IOL Motoring