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How big are Hyundai and Kia in SA? Naamsa car sales reveals

2017-08-02 07:41

Lance Branquinho

Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond

Cape Town - You probably have a Korean Smartphone. You definitely own a Korean kitchen or bathroom appliance. The Korean industrialisation and product design project has matured in the last decade to a point where ‘made in Korea’ has become the Asian equivalent of ‘made in Germany’. 

Then there are the cars produced by Hyundai and Kia. We’ve had them in South African for two decades now, and originally, they weren't great. Then they became a bit better. Now, they’re stylish, reliable and suffocating many of the Japanese brands we assumed would once be unassailable. 

READ: SA's best-selling bakkies: Toyota Hilux dominates in July

Problem is, we never knew exactly where the popularity and demand curve for specific Korean cars were. See, Hyundai and Kia don’t report model specific sales figures for South Africa. Well, until now. With July 2017 automotive sales  for South Africa tabled and collated we finally have two new brand entrants and very valuable market analysis they certainly do provide: Hyundai and Kia. 

Car sales on the up, massive increase in exports - Naamsa

The numbers are big with the two Korean brands accounting for nearly 10% of the local market, 9.7% to be exact, ranking Hyundai as the fifth and Kia as the ninth biggest car brands in South Africa. It’s the individual sales which are really interesting, seeing what people are actually buying when the shop Korean. 

READ: SA's best-selling cars: Vivo leads the way, Kia makes the top 10

Hyundai – a lot of little cars

With a larger range, you’d expect Hyundai to sell greater volumes than Kia, which it does, at 3035 units versus 1512. 

It’s in the market between R120 000 and R400 000 that Hyundai delivers great volumes. How significant? Like 435 Tucsons significant, very nearly the same number of vehicles that Honda sold in total in June. In the market for compact SUVs, only Toyota sells more, with its RAV4 at 641 units.

Superminis are a great business, at impressive scale, for Hyundai, with 845 i10s sold, calculated by totalling the cumulative number of both the standard and slightly longer ‘Grand’ derivative. That’s massive. 

Not everything Hyundai markets works, with the Veloster having sold only 3 units in July and the Sante Fe’s premium mid-sized SUV prices makes it a non-starter, moving only 8 vehicles. Hyundai’s Golf rival, the i30, only recorded 7 units in July 2017.

Although there are models which aren’t performing, most of Hyundai’s product portfolio is balanced and very much in demand for South African customers. Interestingly, these are also the segments, compact hatchbacks and SUVs, that were once dominated by Japanese brands, where now only mighty Toyota can keep the Koreans at bay.

Kia - smaller but selling the style

Hyundai’s sibling  Kia, might have fewer passenger car models (seven as opposed to eleven), but its product portfolio isn’t quite as balanced. 

Although Kia is doing well, nearly all its volume (85%) is sourced from two models - Picanto and Rio. Beyond these two, the numbers are tiny. Grand Sedona shows nobody is interested in MPVs anymore, selling only six, nor are people willing to pay premium for a Korean full-sized SUV, Sorento selling only 11. 

The true surprises are Sportage and Soul, both attractive styled products with good engines, aimed at growth segments (one an SUV, the other a crossover), who both underachieve, with sales of only 62 and 11 units respectively. Kia’s South African business, is very much a hatchback one. 

Korean Bakkies?

True. We tend to forget that both Hyundai and Kia market a line of bakkies in South Africa. Not double-cab 4x4s to rival Ranger or Hilux, but true utilitarian semi-flatbed bakkies. Kia sold 109 units of its K-Series bakkies last month, whilst Hyundai sold 269 H100 bakkies. Not a bad presence in the bakkie market, and with the promise of proper, leisure orientated bakkies to come from the Koreans, that total local market share of nearly 10% could easily double in the next decade. 

Read more on:    kia  |  naamsa  |  hyundai  |  passenger cars  |  suv  |  rio

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