HAS THE TIDE TURNED?

The mo­tor in­dus­try, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, has ex­pe­ri­enced some topsy-turvy times re­cently. But there is (fi­nally) good news: the lo­cal new car mar­ket is 6.2% up on the same pe­riod last year. And on the in­ter­na­tional front, a new su­per­power is

Leisure Wheels (South Africa) - - BUYERS GUIDE -

WE kick off with some global news: the Nis­san-Re­nault Al­liance has taken over the man­tle as the world’s big­gest vol­ume seller from Jan­uary to June this year, record­ing a to­tal of 5 268 079 sales. It also means the al­liance, which now in­cludes Mit­subishi fol­low­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of the strug­gling Ja­panese firm last year, out­sold the likes of Volk­swa­gen, Toy­ota and Gen­eral Mo­tors.

It’s the first time that the al­liance has man­aged to out­sell the tra­di­tional Big Three, and it augers in an ex­cit­ing new era for the multi-fran­chise com­pany. For in­ter­est’s sake, the global brand-by-brand break­down of Nis­san-Re­nault’s record sales were as fol­lows: Nis­san: 2 894 488 units Re­nault (in­clud­ing Da­cia): 1 879 288 units

Mit­subishi: 494 303 units

In­finItI: 125 000 units In South Africa, the al­liance’s sales re­main im­pres­sive. The Re­nault brand con­tin­ues to do re­ally well, with a to­tal of 2 226 pas­sen­ger cars sold in July. Nis­san man­aged 1 690 pas­sen­ger cars and an im­pres­sive 3 227 light com­mer­cials. The ex­cel­lent per­for­mance in the light com­mer­cial seg­ment can mostly be as­cribed to the Nis­san NP200 half-ton­ner, which alone ac­counted for 1 376 units.

The NP300 one-ton­ner also per­formed well, record­ing 1 251 units. It re­ally de­serves to do bet­ter, but the new Nis­san Navara lingers on less than 150 units per month.

Also in­ter­est­ing to note is the sales of the Volk­swa­gen Amarok, which is now only avail­able in dou­ble cab guise. Record­ing 335 units in July, the Amarok is clearly rid­ing a bit of a 3.0TDI V6 wave at the mo­ment.

Mean­while, the Fiat Full­back (22 units), the Mazda BT50 (33 units) and the Mit­subishi Tri­ton (24 units) are still un­der pres­sure com­pared to the ram­pant Toy­ota Hilux and Ford Ranger as well as the still pop­u­lar Isuzu KB (see top three bakkie sales).

In the bakkie seg­ment, the Toy­ota Land Cruiser pick-up’s per­for­mance is no­table: 228 units were sold in July. Clearly this ro­bust bakkie is very much in vogue at the mo­ment.

Kia South Africa and Hyundai Au­to­mo­tive South Africa are now of­fi­cially re­port­ing their sales fig­ures to con­trol­ling body Naamsa (The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers of South Africa) again – and it makes for in­ter­est­ing read­ing. Kia is do­ing a grand job in the sales de­part­ment, with es­pe­cially its en­try-level cars do­ing well.

Hyundai is fly­ing though, record­ing the fifth highest sales num­ber of all man­u­fac­tur­ers in South Africa. Hyundai recorded 2 753 units – only Toy­ota, Volk­swa­gen, Ford and Nis­san sold more. Hyundai’s top sell­ing mod­els were the Grand i10 (565 units), Creta (514 units) and the Tuc­son (435 units).

But we’ve left the best news for last: the South African new car mar­ket seems to have turned a cor­ner: July saw an im­prove­ment of 6.2% over the sales recorded in 2016 (30 826 ver­sus 29 035 units), which is an en­cour­ag­ing turn­around. Light com­mer­cials showed less growth, but at 1.7%, still recorded an im­prove­ment over last year.

Here’s hold­ing thumbs the positive growth con­tin­ues in the com­ing months. And years.

Above: Hyundai is now of­fi­cially re­port­ing its sales num­bers, and the Creta is one of the best per­form­ers, record­ing 514 units sold in July. Be­low: De­spite a hefty price tag, Toy­ota’s ven­er­a­ble pick-up is still a strong seller.

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