AS THE SALES YEAR GEARS UP, ARE WE FAC­ING AN­OTHER TURNDOWN?

Driven - - Report Future -

For the mo­tor in­dus­try, Jan­uary 2018 started on a less than happy note. Sales were down, and gloom was up. Over­all ve­hi­cle sales, for in­stance, came in at 45,888 units, which rep­re­sented a de­cline of 4,498 (8.9%) units on a year-on-year ba­sis. The pas­sen­ger car seg­ment recorded the most sig­nif­i­cant losses where the 32,642 sales trans­lated into an 11.6% de­cline, or 4,266 fewer cars.

Cour­tesy Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa MAR­KET LEAD­ERS SUCH AS TOY­OTA (11,893 units sold) were ut­terly un­fazed – im­prov­ing their De­cem­ber sales by al­most 2,000 units. Once again, Toy­ota pro­vided the over­all light com­mer­cial best-seller with the Hilux record­ing 2,695 sales, ably as­sisted by the Etios on 1,519 and Corolla/Auris/Quest on 2,196 sales. 871 new RAVs found new homes too. The ever­green For­tuner con­tin­ues to im­press with 1,318 sales, while the re­cently re­launched Yaris will likely im­prove from a poor show­ing dur­ing the car’s run out pe­riod in De­cem­ber 2017.

Sec­ond place in the Top Ten rat­ings – af­ter a brief third spot in De­cem­ber 2017 – once again be­longs to Volk­swa­gen with an equally im­pres­sive 7,070 to­tal sales, thanks to its top-sell­ing Vivo on 2,862 units, Polo on 1,027, and Golf 7 (805). The Group’s Audi di­vi­sion ac­counted for 746 sales. Eye­brows will be raised, how­ever, by the fact that the Amarok (203) lost ground to the Mahin­dra Scor­pio Pik Up (218).

Re­main­ing in third over­all, Ford Mo­tor Com­pany recorded a fairly mod­est to­tal of 4,869 – al­most 600 units fewer than the pre­vi­ous month. Ford, as usual, re­lied heav­ily on their Ranger bakkie (2,269), with good show­ings by the EcoS­port (660), Figo (619), and Fi­esta on 542.

Still in fourth over­all and im­prov­ing sales by some 400 units, Nis­san’s 4,400 to­tal is based on the NP200 sub-one ton­ner which recorded an ex­cel­lent 1,500 to­tal, as well as good per­for­mances by the NP300 on 597 sales, Nis­san X-Trail on 353 units sold, and Dat­sun GO on 489.

Fifth place in the rank­ings be­longs to Hyundai with 2,897 sales rep­re­sent­ing an im­prove­ment of some 500 units over the De­cem­ber 2017 to­tal. Apart from the Grand i10’s promis­ing 1,134 sales, the Korean gi­ant also did well with Tuc­son mod­els go­ing to 400 new own­ers, while Creta sta­bilised on 380, and the stylish i20 found 317 new homes.

French car­maker Re­nault re­mains in sixth over­all with a to­tal of 1,929. Re­nault’s stars were the Kwid (664), Clio IV (559), and San­dero II with 325 sales.

BMW sur­prised all with 1,856 sales, which not only placed it ahead of Mercedes-Benz (1,797) but also recorded a 500-unit im­prove­ment, and an en­try into the Top Ten rank­ings af­ter be­ing in 11th place at the end of last year. Nei­ther BMW nor Mercedes-Benz pro­vides de­tailed in­di­vid­ual model sales break­downs.

KIA (1,603) slipped into ninth place but re­mains in the run­ning with the Rio (469), Pi­canto (793), and Sportage on 168 units sold.

The last place on the Top Ten list goes to South Africa’s new­est in­de­pen­dent man­u­fac­turer, Isuzu (1,423) – cour­tesy of the Isuzu KB’s 1,200, and the Opel brand’s 216 sales.

Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers/im­porters fall­ing out­side the Top Ten rank­ings achieved notable re­sults, with Jaguar/ Land Rover sell­ing 461 ve­hi­cles of which 86 rep­re­sented the Jaguar name­plate. This is one ve­hi­cle more than Toy­ota’s Lexus di­vi­sion.

Porsche dipped slightly un­der three fig­ures but, as usual, this may be as­cribed

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