South Africa's used car sales take a dive in February

The Polo Vivo was the third most sold used car in February with 946 units finding new homes.
The Polo Vivo was the third most sold used car in February with 946 units finding new homes.
Image: Supplied

While used car sales have been on the up and up in recent months, February presented a more sobering picture.

Sales dipped by -8% month on month from a historically stronger and longer January, while year-on-year sales slipped by -1%, according to AutoTrader used car sales data.

Toyota continued to lead sales with 4,800 units, ahead of Volkswagen (3,969) and Ford (3,037). The remainder of the top 10 sold brands remained the same in February with BMW taking fourth position and followed by Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Suzuki, Kia and Renault. 

But the only two brands in the top ten to escape a month-on-month drop in sales were BMW and Renault. With single-digit dips, Toyota, VW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Suzuki were the least affected. The remaining brands experienced a double-digit decline with Hyundai and Kia posting the biggest dip in sales with -15% and -14% month-on-month declines respectively.

However, when we look at year-on-year sales performance, five out of the top 10 brands, namely Toyota, Volkswagen, Suzuki, Kia and Renault, all experienced positive growth. Of the five brands, Suzuki had the largest growth (50%) versus 2023 sales. Kia and Renault, which saw increased popularity in the second half of 2023, also experienced double-digit growth of 16% and 15%, respectively.

There was minor shuffling in model sales in February. Hatchback Kia Picanto (a big mover in January) fell out of the top ten making way for the Nissan NP200 and allowing the Toyota Fortuner, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Suzuki Swift and Ford EcoSport to each climb up the sales ladder. Single-cab bakkie Nissan NP200 posted sales growth of 6% in February, while the Mercedes-Benz C-class and Ford EcoSport posted growth of 9% and 3% respectively. 

The top 10 sold used models in February 2024 (AutoTrader used car sales data: February 1 to February 29)
The top 10 sold used models in February 2024 (AutoTrader used car sales data: February 1 to February 29)
Image: Supplied

As in previous months, the Ford Ranger generated the most model sales moving 1,564 units in February. Bakkie rival Toyota Hilux followed with 1,475 sales while the hatchback VW Polo sold 1,166 units, ahead of the VW Polo Vivo (946 sales) and large SUV the Toyota Fortuner (684).

Models with an average age of six years and 74,887km average mileage sold for an average of R404,905, the price ticking up by 1.9% month on month.

“In February, the average age of sold models remained at six years old,” says AutoTrader CEO George Mienie.

“Budget constraints have likely boosted interest in older, more affordable vehicles, especially those with a proven record of longevity. Older eight-year-old Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series and seven-year-old Toyota Fortuner models continue to hold appeal.”

During the prior five months, the VW Polo 1.0 TSI consistently outsold its more affordable hatchback sibling, the VW Polo Vivo 1.4. But with sales of 824 units in February, the Vivo 1.4 overtook its costlier stablemate as the top-selling variant by some margin. Three bakkies, the Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6, Ford Ranger XL and the Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 completed the top five variants sold. 

In the coming months, a clearer picture of how affordability or consumer confidence is affecting used car sales is likely to unfold.


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