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