This was the 3rd best January for passenger cars, and the best for bakkies below 350kg in NAAMSA's records. January itself is not the most popular of car buying months among South Africans but this one is peculiar because of a couple of factors. The oil price has plummeted and buyers are possibly on the view that this trend will continue for at least the next 12 months if not longer. Instantly, this means it is cheaper to own a car than this time last year when the petrol price was nearing its R14.39 per litre peak. With that in mind, the case for buying a car seems a whole more appealing, thus the whopping 52,306 motor vehicles sold in January 2015.
The top five list of favourite cars that South Africans bought is pretty much the staple now, with very few new names able to break into the list.
- VW Polo Vivo – 3004 units
- Toyota Hilux – 2605 unit
- Toyota Corolla – 2465 units
- Ford Ranger – 2365 units
- VW Polo – 2153 units
Volkswagen Polo Vivo
The most popular starter car in the country is no doubt the VW Polo Vivo. It's an affordable motor vehicle, and used models from 2013 and 2014 average R100.500 and R161.000 respectively in February. Prices aside, the Polo Vivo managed to sell just over 3000 units in January 2015. That's a good number when you compare it to the rest of the top 10 best sellers. The Vivo is almost 400 units ahead of the next best vehicle, the mighty Toyota Hilux.
2014 wasn't a rocky year for the Hilux, but its competition with the Ford Ranger continued to intensify, and in percentage terms, sales number of the Ford bakkie outpaced those of the Hilux. Nonetheless, the Toyota Hilux remained the most popular bakkie in the country both in 2014, and starting again in January 2015. For the Hilux, anything below 3000 units sold ought to be mediocre, but it may be some time before the guys in Durban can push so many units into the floors of South Africa's car dealerships. Last month, Toyota sold 2605 units of its Hilux bakkie.
The world's most favourite car ever, continues to do well in South Africa, and no doubt helped by the introduction of the Corolla Quest, which in fact was the reintroduction of the previous generation Corolla. The Toyota Corolla was the only car in the top 5 to increase sales in January 2015 from the previous January at 2464 units, up 544 cars.
SA's second favourite bakkie is the Ford Ranger. It's so popular that it ranked 3rd most bought vehicle in the country for the whole of 2014. Last month, 2365 of the Ranger where bought. If Ford can continue at this pace, they would break the 30,000 units mark they missed last year, and with lower petrol prices, it's become ever more affordable and appealing to own a big car.
The Polo itself is distinct from its more popular brother, the Vivo. Higher up in the range with something like the Polo GTI 1.4 TSI, you'd be forgiven for thinking the car was a Golf 7 GTI. Unlike the Golf however, the Polo managed to sell 2153 units in the first month of January 2015.
It's too early to call 2015 a good or bad year for any of the cars on our list. There are a lot of events that can take place that could change this for the better or worse. However, popularity should remain a guide to any buyer considering a car.
Author: Pierre Theron