Volkswagen's Polo Vivo took the overall sales lead in January.
Volkswagen's Polo Vivo took the overall sales lead in January.

South Africa's 50 top selling vehicles: January 2020

By Jason Woosey Time of article published Feb 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - It's been a dismal start to the year for the South African motor industry, with overall vehicle sales amounting to just 39 475 units in January 2020, which represents an 8.1 percent decline over the same month last year, Naamsa said.

However, the month’s sales numbers were skewed by the unavailability of BMW’s sales figures due to the implementation of a new sales reporting model, and WesBank estimates that the actual decline would have been closer to 5.2 percent if we factored in the carmaker’s likely sales tally based on historical data.

Crunching the segment numbers, however, it was the bakkie market that took the biggest hit last month, with light commercial vehicles registering a worrying year-on-year decline of 16.3 percent, while passenger car sales fell by 5.1 percent despite a relatively strong contribution by the rental car industry, which accounted for 17.6 percent of the pie. 

The medium and heavy commercial vehicle markets saw respective declines of 8.0 percent and 2.6 percent versus January 2019.

Naamsa added that export sales were down by 37.7 percent year-on-year, although the organisation expects momentum to improve over the course of 2020, to more or less match 2019’s year-end tally of 387 125 units.

Load shedding = sales shedding

As for domestic sales, Naamsa expects the new vehicle market to face further consolidation in 2020, at least until such a time as the country breaks out of its low-growth trap. That said, the likelihood of more regular load shedding in the foreseeable future means that any meaningful growth is unlikely to be on the cards any time soon.

While the recent 0.25 percent interest rate cut is seen as a positive for the industry, it didn’t stimulate sales in January, however WesBank’s marketing head Lebogang Gaoaketse is positive that the rate cut will set a more optimistic tone for the industry this year.

“Reassuringly, we have seen a slow but constant shift towards new vehicle sales over the past 12 months, lowering the used:new car ratio in the WesBank book,” Gaoaketse added. “This bodes well for new vehicle industry sales during 2020, albeit under on-going strain.”

Polo Vivo takes the lead

In line with the softer trend for LCVs, Volkswagen’s Polo Vivo overtook the Toyota Hilux as South Africa’s best-selling vehicle in January, with the new-generation Polo following in third and Ford’s Ranger in fourth.

Renault’s Kwid continued to light up the budget car sales charts with another month above the magical 1000 mark, while Suzuki’s Swift managed a better-than-usual 824 units to land it in ninth spot overall.


1 Volkswagen Polo Vivo 2811
2 Toyota Hilux 2681
3 Volkswagen Polo 1761
4 Ford Ranger 1735
5 Ford EcoSport 1132
6 Renault Kwid 1010
7 Toyota Corolla Quest 998
8 Nissan NP200 967
9 Suzuki Swift 824
10 Toyota Hiace 777
11 Volkswagen T-Cross 764
12 Ford Figo 722
13 Hyundai Grand i10 697
14 Isuzu D-Max 672
15 Nissan Hardbody NP300 661
16 Toyota Etios 622
17 Toyota Fortuner 611
18 Volkswagen Tiguan 546
19 Renault Clio 506
20 Volkswagen Polo Sedan 503
21 Renault Sandero 479
22 Hyundai i20 439
23 Toyota Yaris 439
24 Renault Duster 371
25 Kia Picanto 370
26 Hyundai Venue 367
27 Hyundai Tucson 362
28 Toyota Avanza 355
29 Mazda CX-5 353
30 Toyota Rav4 337
31 Datsun Go 331
32 Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 329
33 Kia Seltos 320
34 Mazda CX-3 302
35 Kia Rio 285
36 Volkswagen Golf 7 265
37 Ford Everest 247
38 Hyundai H100 Bakkie 240
39 Toyota Land Cruiser PU 230
40 Hyundai Atos 229
41 Mazda2 226
42 Kia Sportage 208
43 Hyundai Creta 207
44 Suzuki Jimny 189
45 Nissan X-Trail 182
46 GWM Steed 172
47 Mahindra KUV 166
48 Volkswagen Amarok 165
49 Suzuki Ertiga 159
50 Honda Amaze 156

IOL Motoring

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