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New-car sales fly in April but bakkies fail to lift off

Toyota remains market leader despite floods causing its Durban factory to close

The Hilux was once again SA's best-selling vehicle in April, but sold fewer units than usual due to the closure of Toyota's flood-damaged Durban factory.
The Hilux was once again SA's best-selling vehicle in April, but sold fewer units than usual due to the closure of Toyota's flood-damaged Durban factory.
Image: Supplied

While the flooding in KwaZulu-Natal caused supply chain disruptions as well as the temporary closure of Toyota SA’s Durban factory, the new-vehicle market continued its recovery in April with 37,107 units sold.

Year-to-date, total vehicle sales are 14.8% up on last year, to 173,299 units.

There were 26,653 new passenger cars sold in the country last month, a 12.9% increase compared to April 2021, but commercial vehicles didn’t fare as well. Bakkies and light commercials dropped 11.9% to 9,558  units vs the same month last year. Sales of medium trucks at 475 units declined 9.4%, while heavy trucks dropped 4.6% to 1,421 units.

Sales in the volume passenger car segment performed well, assisted by ongoing strong purchases by the vehicle rental companies but the other segments of the market performed weaker.

The number of public holidays normally provides fewer selling days during April which soften sales. However, in addition to the renewed impact of Covid-19, in particular in China, the global shortages of semiconductors and the repercussions of the geopolitical conflict with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, the added shock of the flooding disaster to domestic business conditions will be felt for some time to come, says motor industry body Naamsa. 

The domestic automotive industry is expected to continue a stop-start recovery in 2022 in view of prevailing Covid-19 related supply chain disruptions, insufficient stocks, and escalating energy and transportation cost increases, says the association.

Export sales increased 16% to 30,788 units last month and prospects for 2022 remain optimistic on the back of further new locally manufactured model introductions during the year. However, the economic damage from the war in Ukraine will contribute to a significant slowdown in global growth in 2022 and add to inflation, says Naamsa.

“As SA’s automotive volumes are predominantly driven by export demand, the industry is highly vulnerable to changes in demand in export markets, in particular Europe and the UK,” it said.

Toyota continued its market leadership in April despite flood damage which forced the closure of its Prospecton factory near Durban. It sold 8,952 vehicles, ahead of second-placed Volkswagen (5,084), Suzuki (3,696), Hyundai (2,847), Renault (2,400), Nissan (2,148), Kia (2,019), Ford (1,962), Haval (1,393) and Isuzu (1,038).


Toyota Hilux — 2,788

Suzuki Swift — 1,621

VW Polo Vivo — 1,547

Toyota Corolla Cross — 1,421

VW Polo — 1,320

Ford Ranger — 1,104

Toyota Hiace — 1,084

Nissan NP200 — 966

Renault Kiger — 931

Isuzu D-Max — 777

Renault Kwid — 769

VW T-Cross — 761

Haval Jolion — 736

Hyundai Venue — 704

Hyundai Atos — 650

Toyota Fortuner — 618

Toyota Urban Cruiser — 613

Ford EcoSport — 612

Kia Picanto — 587

VW Polo sedan — 558