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5 unexpected Mzansi motor sales heroes

2018-04-06 06:30

Lance Branquinho

Cape Town - Some very unexpected sales heroes emerge from the latest South African vehicle sales.

Amidst the slew of sales data produced by the South African motor industry each month, there are some peculiar patterns for those who spend their hours analysing the market.

Certain trends are obvious – bakkies rule, and Toyota too – but some of the other month-to-month data changes can be surprising. You see huge sales spikes and some cars which, have done nothing for months, suddenly finding a lonely customer to take ownership of them.

We list some of the biggest gainers from last month’s data, a veritable ranking of unexpectedly successful sales comebacks

Bentley Bentayga

Luxury SUVs are a set-and-forget business in South Africa. We have the gravel roads and abundance of parking space to justify them. Still, it’s not always easy in a very crowded and competitive luxury SUV market, and Bentley’s Bentayga has managed a 200% increase in sales last month – although the total was still a single digit number: six. One suspects that Bentley does manage supply a touch to keep demand high, establishing exclusively and keeping Bentayga residuals solid.

Alfa Romeo 4C

What do you mean you forgot they still have 4C in the local product portfolio? How could you forget about this diminutive carbon-fibre platform work of art without power-steering, so typically inspiring and frustratingly Italian? Simply a huge month for Alfa, as they doubled the volume of 4Cs sold, from one to two. Amazing. If you want a truly exclusive two-seater sportscar, this is it.

Range Rover Sport

Once there was only one Range Rover and Land Rover’s product range was simple and fathomable. In 2018 there are no less than four different Range Rover variants on sale, and you need to keep your wits to understand the differentiation and why you’d want one over another.

That said, it’s the Sport which was a resounding success last month, outselling all other Rangeys, even the fashionable new Velar. Volumes were up by 320%, with total Range Rover Sport sales of 147. Why? Perhaps Range Rover followers are confused by the Velar, find the Evoque too small and claustrophobic inside and Vogue a touch expensive, hence Sport is the happy middle for Range Rover aspirations. 

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Subaru Impreza

Okay, so we’ve listed some very expensive, and predictably exclusive, cars which trade in low volumes and there can have huge variances each month. But what of Subaru’s sedan, the Impreza – and no, not the bewinged and boosted WRX version, the normal one. It would appear that the market suddenly remembered there was a quality Japanese sedan which wasn’t Corolla last month and Impreza sales increased by 950%, to total a still modest, but much better, 21 cars.

Mitsubishi Mirage 0 1

True to its name, we thought the Mirage was an illusion within Mitsubishi’s product portfolio – because nobody bought one in February of this year. And then, a resurrection. Mitsubishi Mirage sales doubled last month because somebody decided that they would like to buy one, a Japanese compact hatchback with some very tenuous Dakar and WRC pedigree.


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