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2018-06-05 08:41

Lance Branquinho

Think global, buy local. It’s a mantra for the sustainable consumerism and South African new vehicle buyers certainly subscribe to this view. 
As 2018 nears its halfway point, locally built vehicles remain resolutely dominant in the market.

Much like the world’s largest mature vehicle market (the United States of America), one class of vehicle governs local sales charts. The South African love affair with bakkies appear impervious to any threat of interest rate increases or rampant fuel price spikes.

Tallying all the sales data since 1 January, reveals an almost predictable top 5 ranking of most popular local vehicles. And they are all built within the country’s borders, instead of being imported. 

Toyota Hilux (15924)

There can be no surprise that Toyota’s 1-tonne bakkie continues its run as South Africa’s most popular vehicle. A massive range of 36 derivatives enable Toyota to service the broadest possible customer demand, from steel-wheel utility single-cabs to the latest edition of Dakar trim double-cabs.

Hilux is due to further incorporate its global styling upgrade into the third-quarter of this year, featuring an arguably more attractive grille, which should only serve to sustain the strong demand.

                                                                      Image: Wheels24

Just when other bakkies assumed they might be in with a chance, Toyota initiates a facelift and redoubles interest in its virtually unbeatable anchor product. 

Ranger (12466)

The only bakkie which remotely provides a sense of rivalry to Hilux, is Ford’s Ranger and it sits predictably in second place overall for sales tallied thus far in 2018. Despite the blue oval bakkie being Hilux’s most credible rival, the South African Ranger portfolio is only 25 derivatives strong, which is still massive, but nearly a third less than Toyota.

Hilux outsells Ranger by 27% greater volume, which could be partly explained by the difference in derivative count between the two bakkie product portfolios.

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Hilux’s broader range offers customers more derivatives to choose from and convincing greater transactional momentum when potentially bakkie buyers are perhaps split between specification and drivetrain choices. The anticipated product updates for Ranger include new engines and halo Raptor model, but both of those product initiatives will only happen next year. 

Vivo (11689)

It’s telling that South Africa’s best-selling passenger car, only ranks third on the list of most successful total vehicle sales. 
A perineal South African market favourite, Vivo’s only real competition comes from within the VW model portfolio itself: Polo.

An impressive upgrade in March added improved additional cabin digitisation and a 1-litre turbocharged engine, which has certainly added appeal to the logic of owning a Vivo especially for high-altitude commuters in Gauteng.

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Keen to keep the Vivo sales success trending upwards, VW’s pandering to market demand with regards to gravel-travelling too. The addition of a new Vivo Maxx derivative this month, with 15mm greater ground clearance and some pseudo-crossover styling features, should add additional sales momentum for the Vivo range into the third quarter of 2018.

Polo (9881)

Perhaps the best hatchback on sale in South Africa, Polo sits between its legacy sibling, Vivo, and the most iconic hatchback of all, Golf. 
For customers who are considering to buy-down, yet don’t wish to sacrifice that quality feel, class-leading NVH and sophisticated open-road cruising feel, Polo is very much the perfect 2/3rds Golf solution.

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Polo GTi launches this month and although the volumes will be but a fraction of total Polo sales, it’s certainly not a similar scenario to Golf GTi which a significant proportion of Golf7 deliveries, the pocket rocket will be a great brand builder for Polo’s dynamic appeal.

The only thing possibly lacking in VW’s local Polo range is a cross-type vehicle. VW is in the challenging position of calculating the cannibalisation risk of introducing T-Roq, which could siphon off a significant volume of Polo sales. As the case has been with Tiguan trimming Golf volumes. 

NP200 (7747)

Predictably the South African first five-month sales chart is rounded-off by a bakkie. A small one, and quite tragically, the only small one left to buyers who don’t require a double-cab or 1-tonner.

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Nissan’s locally built NP200 has the once burgeoning South African compact bakkie market all to itself, and this reflects in the effortless volumes achieved each month. Although NP200 sales are less than half of Hilux, Nissan still turns a tidy trade in these front-wheel drive bakkies, delivering more than a thousand of them to customer each month. 

With Ford unlikely to ever deliver a Bantam replacement and Chevrolet’s departure from the local market killing off the legacy of Corsa Utility, Nissan has the good fortune of operating unhindered in a strong demand market where it is under no pressure to anything differently to what it has been doing all year.

Read more on:    toyota  |  vw  |  ford  |  nissan  |  lance branquinho  |  south africa  |  vehicle sales

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