Two months into the year, and light commercial vehicles, which include bakkies of all shapes and sizes, have outperformed passenger cars in terms of sales growth. According to the National Automobile Association of South Africa, this trend will continue into the end of 2015, as more businesses get tax breaks according to the recent National Budget, which frees money to expend their fleets. Nonetheless, the passenger car market is still almost 3 times the size of the LCV market, and these are the winners and losers – the best selling cars and bakkies in February 2015.

Top 10 Selling Passenger Cars

  1. VW Polo Vivo – 2401

  2. VW Polo – 2155

  3. Toyota Etios – 1599

  4. Toyota Corolla – 1590

  5. Ford Ecosport – 1318

  6. Toyota Quantum – 1312

  7. BMW 3 Series – 804

  8. Ford Figo – 714

  9. VW Golf 7 – 646

  10. Chevrolet Spark – 586

There are a couple of noteworthy things about the month of February, one of which is not very obvious because we've limited our list to just 10 vehicles. Firstly, you will notice the Ford Ecosport's entry into the top ten for the first time. This is an incredible feat by Ford Motor Company of South Africa, which over the past 3 years has done an exceptionally great job at introducing new, amazing vehicles. That's a turn around that's been replicated in almost every market that Ford sells cars in.

The second point I'd like to make is to note the missing numbers from Mercedes-Benz. The C Class, which is made in South Africa for both domestic and export sales, doesn't appear in the list because of Merc's decision to only make public aggregate numbers of their entire vehicles instead of giving us numbers for each marquee. I think it's a move in the wrong direction, especially given the tight competition between the C Class and BMW 3 Series, and the current generation A Class and BMW 1 Series.

The last point to make is relates to the Datsun Go! and VW Up!. Datsun and VW's quirky naming methods have not only won the hearts of comedians and advertisers, but South African car buyers as well. Although there have been mixed reviews about both the different cars (Datshun's low safety rating, and the questionable looks of the Up!), the Go! And Up! Sold 564 and 419 units respectively in February. The astonishing rise of both these cars is evident of South Africa's appetite for small, affordable vehicles, and it seems that both Datsun and VW have got their pricing right.

Top 10 Selling Bakkies

  1. Toyota Hilux – 3097

  2. Ford Ranger – 3078

  3. Nissan NP200 – 1409

  4. Chevrolet Utility – 1406

  5. Isuzu KB – 1212

  6. Nissan NP300 – 546

  7. VW Amarok – 340

  8. Toyota Lang Cruiser PU – 304

  9. Nissan Navara – 168

  10. Mazda BT-50 – 132

The top spot in the bakkies market is getting tighter every month, and whoever bought those 13 extra Hilux bakkies in February is probably hated by the guys at Ford, who (with the Ranger), could've claimed the best seller spot for a second time in the marquee's history. Both the Hilux and Ranger enjoy top class positions among motor journalists and buyers alike. Similarly, the 3 unit difference between the NP200s and Utilities sold last month must've been a hack for GM's Chevrolet.

Overall Market

Overall, Toyota South Africa continued its lead as the largest automotive manufacturer in the country. One peer that is seldom raved about is Fiat Chrysler which completed a merger that saw the American and Italian companies become one. Within it, there's been a great uptake of Maserati's ultra premium cars, which compete with Porsche's. In the general luxury market, Mercedes-Benz continued ahead of BMW, where on aggregate, the company sold 2735 vehicles, and having had announced record revenues of R45-billion last week.

  1. Toyota – 10 147

  2. Volkswagen – 8367

  3. Ford – 6358

  4. Hyundai/Kia – 5891

  5. General Motors – 4772

  6. Nissan – 3916

  7. Mercedes-Benz – 2735

  8. BMW – 2233

  9. Honda – 1411

  10. Renault – 1152

Author: Pierre Theron