Still SA’s top selling range, the Toyota Hilux is soon to be joined by this limited-edition GR Sport model. Picture: SUPPLIED
Still SA’s top selling range, the Toyota Hilux is soon to be joined by this limited-edition GR Sport model. Picture: SUPPLIED

Sales of light commercial vehicles took a dip in SA last month in a subdued economy.

New bakkies and minibuses sold 12,197 new units in May, a decline of 1,816 units (13.0%) from the 14,013 sales of the corresponding month last year. Demand for new vehicles is likely to remain under pressure in the coming months as the market continues to be affected by numerous constraining factors.

However, examination of year-to-date sales of SA’s most popular bakkies, comparing 2018 with 2019, shows that sales of some ranges have improved despite last month’s  downturn.

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The Toyota Hilux, which is SA’s best selling bakkie and also the most popular vehicle overall, gained from 15,906 sales in the first five months of 2018 to 16,148 units in the corresponding period this year.

The Hilux range will shortly be boosted by the introduction of the Legend 50 derivatives and the limited-edition GR Sport. The latter features a bold Gazoo Racing style package and more offroad-tuned suspension.

Recently launched 157kW versions are expected to boost Ford Ranger sales. Picture: SUPPLIED
Recently launched 157kW versions are expected to boost Ford Ranger sales. Picture: SUPPLIED

Another range to show improvement was the Nissan NP300 Hardbody, despite the negative publicity it garnered in November after scoring zero stars in a Global NCAP crash test. It sold 3,989 units between January and May this year, up from 3,527 during the same period in 2018.

Also showing year-to-date sales gains was the Isuzu KB, which was renamed the D-Max in October last year and at the same time received range-wide upgrades.

THE TOYOTA HILUX, SA’S BESTSELLING BAKKIE AND ALSO THE MOST POPULAR VEHICLE OVERALL, SOLD 16,148 UNITS IN THE FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF 2019.

The Hyundai H100 Bakkie, VW Amarok, GWM Steed, Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up, and Nissan NP200 half tonner were others to record gains compared to last year.

There was also a slight upturn in Mitsubishi Triton sales after being given a recent refresher, though with only four derivatives in the line up it remains a niche player.

Sales of the Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 were down in the January-May 2019 period, though the Ranger still comfortably remained SA’s second most-popular bakkie range. The Ranger’s sales are likely to be boosted in coming months by recent upgrades to the line up including the introduction of more powerful 2.0l turbo diesel engines and 10-speed transmissions, and the launch of the flagship Raptor model.

Nissan has responded to the Navara’s sales dip by introducing a Stealth double cab derivative with a colourful cosmetics package.

The ageing but well-priced Mazda BT-50 with its five-model line up of double cabs, dipped from 394 sales in the first five months of 2018 to just 90 units in the corresponding 2019 period. Launched here in 2012, the BT-50 is one of SA’s oldest bakkie ranges but is only due for replacement in 2021.

Mercedes X-Class has sold 389 units in the first five months of 2019. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
Mercedes X-Class has sold 389 units in the first five months of 2019. Picture: DENIS DROPPA

The expensive new Mercedes-Benz X-Class premium pick up introduced last year has failed to make much of an impact, selling 389 units in the first five months of 2019 and trailing most of its one-tonner rivals, although still ahead of the Triton and BT-50.

Demand remained low for Chinese bakkie brands Changan and JMC, which have collectively sold 150 units so far this year.

The Fiat Fullback has until now found only 50 owners in 2019 due to a stock shortage, which Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) says has been addressed with all derivatives now in stock.


SA’s best selling light commercial vehicles, year to date (2018 sales in brackets)

Toyota Hilux — 16,148 (15,906)

Ford Ranger — 10,755 (12,466)

Nissan NP200 — 7,722 (7,709)

Isuzu D-Max/KB — 6,439 (6,039)

Nissan NP300 Hardbody — 3,989 (3,527)

Hyundai H100 Bakkie — 1,336 (1,224)

VW Amarok — 1,196 (1,073)

Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up — 1,168 (946)

Toyota Land Cruiser pickup — 1,056 (1,156)

GWM Steed — 873 (800)

Nissan Navara  — 747 (1,100)

Toyota Dyna — 527 (479)

Kia K2700 — 488 (465)

Mercedes-Benz X-Class — 389 (68)

Mahindra Bolero — 270 (269)

Suzuki Super Carry — 256 (50)

Mitsubishi Triton — 235 (193)

Kia K2500 — 124 (132)

VW Transporter pick up — 104 (86)

Mazda BT-50 — 90 (394)

Changan Star — 78 (69)

Fiat Fullback — 50 (124)

JMC Carrying — 35 (47)

JMC Vigus — 20 (24)

JMC Boarding — 17 (34)