VW’s recently launched T-Cross has gained instant popularity among buyers. Picture: SUPPLIED
VW’s recently launched T-Cross has gained instant popularity among buyers. Picture: SUPPLIED

After the best month of the year in October, new-vehicle sales took a beating in November with the light-commercial market the worst affected.

According to the latest Naamsa figures, sales of light commercial vehicles, which include bakkies and minibuses, dropped to 10,679 units last month, an alarming 22.1% drop over November 2018.

“The poor performance of pick-up sales is concerning considering they are among the highest volume-selling nameplates in the market, and because they are locally manufactured,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, communications, social media and PR manager of Wesbank.

Passenger cars showed more positive signs with sales of 31,444 units, a 1.3% rise over November 2018. Sales through dealers grew 3.6%, accounting for 22,918 units, but the rental market at 6,893 units was 8.9% down on November last year.

Sales in the low-volume medium and heavy truck segments performed weaker during the month, at 733 units (-7.6%) and 1 882 units (-1.8%) respectively.

The overall market — including cars, light commercials and trucks — moved 44,738 units in November, a 5.8% decline over November 2018.

Despite business confidence showing small signs of improvement in the fourth quarter, buyers of new vehicles are delaying purchasing decisions until economic uncertainty steadies, says Gary McCraw, national director of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association.

There were 399,454 new vehicles sold on dealer floors year to date to November 2019 (2018: 413 346), a 3.4% decline on dealer floors year on year.

November export sales at 35,271 vehicles were a marginal 306 units down compared with the same month last year, but the 374,215 year-to-date figure has already surpassed the previous annual record of 351,139 vehicles exported in 2018.

With additional fuel price hikes expected and no change in the interest rate during November, consumers remain under pressure.

“Consumer price inflation may be in check within the target range, but Wesbank customers financed their biggest new-vehicle deals by value size this year in November, indicating that new-car price inflation remains very real within an affordability-driven marketplace,” says Gaoaketse.

The Hyundai Venue, with a starting price of R274,900, is being launched this week as the latest contender in the popular compact SUV class. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Hyundai Venue, with a starting price of R274,900, is being launched this week as the latest contender in the popular compact SUV class. Picture: SUPPLIED

Despite the downturn in light commercial sales, Toyota’s Hilux bakkie continues to be SA’s most popular vehicle, with the VW Polo Vivo the country’s best-selling passenger car.

VW’s new T-Cross is the most notable mover in the passenger car charts, occupying seventh place overall after just a few months on the market, although the Ford Ecosport continues to hold on to its top position in this very competitive compact SUV segment. The segment will have another new contender with the Hyundai Venue being launched in SA this week.

The Renault Kwid budget hatch had an excellent month with 1,508 sales, making it the third most popular passenger car overall. The rival Datsun Go dipped to 233 sales last month after regularly selling more than 600 units a month earlier this year.

The Peugeot 108, with 46 units, was the top seller in the revitalised PCSA stable. Picture: SUPPLIED
 The Peugeot 108, with 46 units, was the top seller in the revitalised PCSA stable. Picture: SUPPLIED

With the return of Citroën cars to its stable along with the launch of new Peugeot models, PCSA (Peugeot Citroën SA) is making slight inroads into the market, reporting 171 sales in November after averaging fewer than 100 units earlier this year.

The Toyota Fortuner continues to dominate the large SUV market, in tenth place overall.

Top-selling passenger cars

1 VW Polo Vivo 2,439

2 VW Polo 2,038

3 Renault Kwid 1,508

4 Ford Ecosport 1,360

5 Ford Figo 1,002

6 Toyota Etios 858

7 VW T-Cross 842

8 Kia Picanto 733

9 VW Polo sedan 711

10 Toyota Fortuner 664

11 Toyota Corolla Quest 598

12 Hyundai Grand i10 576

13 Suzuki Swift 550

14 Hyundai i20 540

15 VW Tiguan 536

16 Toyota Yaris 525

17 Toyota Avanza 507

18 Renault Sandero 446

19 Hyundai Creta 416

20 Kia Rio 398

21 Toyota Rav 373

22 Renault Clio 361

23 Fiat Panda 332

24 BMW 3-Series 330

25 Mazda CX-5 321

26 Nissan X-Trail 310

27 Nissan Almera 292

28 Hyundai Elantra 280

29 Nissan Qashqai 278

30 Mazda CX-3 275

Top-selling bakkies

1 Toyota Hilux 2,588

2 Ford Ranger 1,894

3 Isuzu D-Max 1,299

4 Nissan NP200 694

5 Nissan NP300 293

6 Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 238

7 Toyota Landcruiser Pick Up 224

8 VW Amarok 186

9 Hyundai H100 Bakkie 167

10 Nissan Navara 161

• List excludes Mercedes-Benz and Haval who do not report their detailed sales.