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2018-04-17 05:00

Lance Branquinho

Image: QuickPic

Cape Town - It’s no secret that Toyota dominates the South African motoring landscape but what of the segments where the Japanese giant does not compete?

That rarefied world where cars cost as much as a house (in Cape Town) and silly issues like depreciation and 60-month financing agreements are laughable details, never to be considered. 

The uppermost end of automotive retail is well represented locally, and with the economy finally returning to some stability in 2018 those with enormously generous amounts of disposable income are spending – on the following brands. 

Bentley

Extremely luxurious VWs or exceptionally usable British performance cars, depending on how you see the relationship between corporate ownership and heritage, Bentley does a tidy trade in South Africa.

Bentley sold eight vehicles in March, two Continentals and six Bentaygas, which shows that even for the second most stately British brand, SUVs are inarguably the business to be in. 

Ferrari

The company that produces a greater proportion of its inventory as red cars than any considers a sales month in double figures a good one. The month of March certainly qualifies according to that criteria with a total of 11 Scuderias sold. The model split is interesting, with two 488s, six 488 Spiders and three 812 V12s.

Traditionally Ferrari buyers have preferred fixed-roof cars as opposed to Spiders, but it appears South Africans like enjoying the country’s abundance of year-round sunshine – and might like hearing that wailing V8 a bit clearer, without a metal roof to shield them from the noise.

With a Ferrari SUV pending, and due to be released late next year, Scuderia South Africa could possibly be anticipating double the sales they’re currently enjoying. 

Maserati

Renowned for once being a better F1 team than Ferrari, Maserati’s local presence has been completely altered by the introduction of the Levante.

The luxury SUV now accounts for 90% of Maserati’s South African sales. In fact, last month, they only sold one Maserati which was not an SUV, a sole GranTurismo. Five years ago, GranTurismo was effectively Maserati’s entire business. 

Porsche

The brand which has always marketed itself as being the range of true sports cars you can use as daily drivers, Porsche South Africa is a very healthy business in 2018. During March they sold 141 cars. To contextualise that, in the same time, Peugeot only sold 106 and Subaru 100.

Porsche’s diversity of excellence hedges it against any change in buyer behaviour and contemporary trends, with a fair spread of demand across the entire product portfolio. That means they avoid the big peaks and throughs of having cars which are momentarily popular, before becoming totally of out fashion. 

Porsche traditionalists will be encouraged that last month saw the iconic 911 as South Africa’s most in demand Porsche, selling 47 units, followed by 718, with 33.

Then only the SUVs, Cayenne at 31, supported by Macan with 19 units, and finally, the largest of all Porsches: Panamera, selling 11. To see an SUV obsessed market buying the classic coupes instead of five-door vehicles from the brand, will hearten all those air-cooled 911 owners. 

Best of the rest

And what of those more mainstream brands who sell something exotic within their portfolio? Was March kind to them as Q1 ended?

Nissan’s most expensive local offering, the GT-R, found three new owners who have made the PlayStation dreams a tangible driving reality, whilst Audi only found a single taker for R8 in March.

BMW? Three South African embraced the future of hybridised sportscar driving by purchasing an i8. 

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