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SEE: BMW, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz... SA continues to build and export thousands of cars

2019-06-07 12:00

Lance Branquinho

BMW X3 M

BMW X3 M

With public holidays and an election day, vehicle sales and production were disrupted in May. Some brands still weather the challenge better than others. 

Although May had its fair share of public holidays, which reduced retail automotive trading days, local vehicle assembly showed another strong performance. In May the local automotive industry built 29 850 vehicles for export.

To set that number in context,  consider that total domestic demand (new vehicles bought in South Africa) totalled 40 506. The South African automotive manufacturing sector is surging to a scenario where we are building a vehicle for export, for every one and third new vehicles being bought locally.

Amongst the star performers were VW and BMW. The largest overall export volume was once again sourced from Uitenhage, where VW managed to assemble and ship 9399 Polos for export. To put that number into perspective, VW now builds and exports 38% more vehicles than it sells locally. 

The near largest local vehicle exporter for May will come as a surprise. BMW had a simply phenomenal month with its X3, managing to construct and ship 6628 of these luxury mid-sized SUVs for export. It is a huge number for BMW and one which shadows its rival, Mercedes. 

BMW X3 M

Usually one of South Africa’s dominant exporters, May was a strangely quiet month for Mercedes. Its East London operations only loaded 3891 C-Class luxury sedans onto car carriers in the Buffalo river. That said, Mercedes still finished last month as the fourth biggest vehicle exporter but its numbers were May were way lower than only two months ago, in March, when Mercedes built 11 837 cars for export. So who was third?

Ford’s new Ranger is proving hugely popular in both domestic and export markets and seeing as the Silverton plant builds for both, Ford South Africa had a busy May. A total of 5388 Ranger bakkies were exported, with an additional 1973 Rangers delivered to local customers. 

Toyota ranked May as the fifth largest local vehicle exporter, a touch behind Ford, with 3614 units delivered beyond South Arica’s borders. It did manage to rank as the most popular domestic vehicle overall, again, with Hilux sales trumping all other rivals, bakkie and passenger alike, at 3187. 









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