Categories: NewsVehicle News
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2023-12-11 10:29 AM

South Africa’s Top Car Picks Amid Economic Challenges

  • South Africa's automotive industry faces challenges due to high lending rates, inflation, and decreased household income, resulting in a 9.8% decline in new vehicle sales in November 2023 compared to the previous year.
  • Despite the industry-wide sales decline, specific car models like the VW Polo Vivo, Toyota Starlet, and Suzuki Swift remain popular choices among South African buyers for hatchbacks, showcasing consistent demand even amidst economic hardships.
  • The Naamsa statistics reveal a shift in consumer preferences for affordable yet feature-rich models like the Hyundai Grand i10, highlighting how affordability and distinct features influence purchasing decisions in the South African automotive market during challenging economic times.
By Miriam Matoma

South Africa’s automotive industry has been navigating a complex landscape marked by high lending rates, inflationary pressures, and decreased household income. Despite these hurdles, recent data from Naamsa (the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa) highlights the preferred brand and model choices among South Africans purchasing new cars last month.

In November 2023, aggregate domestic new vehicle sales stood at 45,075 units, indicating a decline of 9.8% from the 49,986 vehicles sold in November 2022, as per Naamsa’s New Vehicle Sales statistics. Specifically, the new passenger car market experienced a substantial drop, with 29,384 units sold, marking a 12.1% decrease from November 2022.

The challenging scenario extended beyond passenger cars, encompassing a 3.9% decline in domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies, and mini-buses. Additionally, the medium commercial vehicle segment witnessed a 13.5% decrease in sales.

Naamsa noted that November 2023 represented the most significant downturn in the new vehicle market since the early stages of 2021 when the industry was gradually recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sales were 1.3% below the pre-pandemic level of 2019 at the beginning of 2023. For the year to date, it was now 0.6% ahead of the same period in 2022. Depending on December sales figures, it could potentially miss returning to the pre-pandemic level after three years,” Naamsa remarked.

Despite the industry-wide sales decline, certain models retained their popularity among South African buyers. Notably, the VW Polo Vivo maintained its position as the country’s preferred hatchback, registering 1,913 units sold in November, slightly lower than the 2,280 units in the previous month.

Following closely, the Toyota Starlet secured the second spot with 1,176 units sold, down from 1,363 units in October. The Suzuki Swift, despite experiencing a decrease from 1,248 to 1,117 units, held onto the third position.

In a noteworthy shift, Hyundai’s Grand i10 climbed to fourth place, recording 965 units sold, surpassing the VW Polo and Toyota Vitz, which sold 930 and 855 units, respectively.

The top 10 best-selling hatchbacks in November 2023, including their sales figures and starting prices, are as follows:

VW Polo Vivo – 1,913 units, Starting price: R259,400

Toyota Starlet – 1,176 units, Starting price: R252,100

Suzuki Swift – 1,117 units, Starting price: R205,900

Hyundai Grand i10 – 965 units, Starting price: R234,500

VW Polo – 930 units, Starting price: R348,200

Toyota Vitz – 855 units, Starting price: R189,900

Renault Kwid – 589 units, Starting price: R192,999

Hyundai i20 – 565 units, Starting price: R325,500

Suzuki S-Presso – 446 units, Starting price: R174,900

Suzuki Baleno – 414 units, Starting price: R247,900

These statistics shed light on the prevailing consumer preferences in the South African automobile market amidst economic challenges. The affordability and features of these models continue to influence buying decisions, reflecting the resilient choices made by consumers amid a challenging economic backdrop.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam