The new Kia Seltos (pictured) has made an immediate impact in the compact SUV market, taking a bite out of the market share of VW’s T-Cross. Picture: SUPPLIED
The new Kia Seltos (pictured) has made an immediate impact in the compact SUV market, taking a bite out of the market share of VW’s T-Cross. Picture: SUPPLIED

Local new-vehicle sales recovered somewhat last month after January’s 8.1% decline, but the claimed improvement involved some guesswork after Mercedes-Benz joined BMW in only reporting its sales on a quarterly instead of monthly basis going forward.

This is in line with both companies’ global directives.

Providing estimates for both BMW’s and Mercedes’sales, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) reported that 43,485 new vehicles were sold in February 2020 which was just 0.7% down on February 2019, providing a confidence boost in the market after January’s plummet.

Passenger car sales were up an encouraging 7.6% to 29,665 units last month compared to February 2019, but new bakkie sales tumbled 17.7% to 11,625 units in a sector that closely reflects business confidence levels.

Sales in the medium and heavy truck segments performed relatively well at respectively 686 units (up 3.8%) and 1,509 units (up 3.7%) compared to the February last year.

February is traditionally the first realistic picture of the year’s outlook for sales, as January is skewed by the holiday season, says Wesbank’s Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication.

“The economic outlook for the country isn’t going to give the market an easy ride. While consumers were shown some relief in the Budget in income tax terms, increases in toll fees and fuel levies will continue driving the total cost of ownership up, forcing consumers to be increasingly vigilant about their discretionary spend,” says Gaoaketse.

“Simply put: if there is an opportunity for consumers to defer vehicle purchases, we expect them to do so.”

Despite the drop in light commercial vehicle sales, SA’s best selling vehicle was a bakkie with the Toyota Hilux occupying its regular spot at the top of the February 2020 list. The VW Polo Vivo and its modern Polo counterpart were respectively the best selling passenger cars ahead of the Ford Figo and Renault Kwid.

After lighting up the sales charts since its launch late last year, sales of the VW T-Cross took a dip in the competitive compact SUV market, at least in part due to the recent introduction of rivals like the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Venue which both feature in the top 30 best sellers list.

SA’s top selling new vehicles — February 2020

1. Toyota Hilux — 2,895

2. VW Polo Vivo — 2,417

3. VW Polo — 2,120

4. Ford Ranger — 1,878

5. Isuzu D-Max — 1,333

6. Nissan NP200 — 1,167

7. Toyota Hi-Ace — 1,083

8. Ford Figo — 1,068

9. Toyota Fortuner — 975

10. Renault Kwid — 892

11. Toyota Corolla Quest — 884

12. Suzuki Swift — 761

13. Toyota Etios — 644

14. Nissan NP300 — 574

15. Hyundai i20 — 676

16. Hyundai Grand i10 — 674

17. Toyota Yaris — 561

18. VW Polo sedan — 540

19. VW Tiguan — 529

20. Toyota Rav4 — 497

21. VW T-Cross — 462

22. Renault Triber — 432

23. Nissan Almera — 426

24. Hyundai Venue — 394

25. Kia Seltos — 377

26. Kia Picanto — 373

27. Mazda CX-5 — 335

28. Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up — 327

29. Renault Duster — 315

30. Hyundai H100 Bakkie — 300

* List excludes BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Haval (Haval reports only its aggregate sales and not by model derivative).


Peugeot 208 voted 2020 European Car of Year

Peugeots sell slowly in SA but they’re a hit in Europe, where the new 208 (pictured) is the third car from the French brand to scoop the Car of the Year title in seven years. Picture: SUPPLIED
Peugeots sell slowly in SA but they’re a hit in Europe, where the new 208 (pictured) is the third car from the French brand to scoop the Car of the Year title in seven years. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Peugeot 208 compact hatchback has scooped this year’s European Car of the Year (COTY) award, with Tesla’s Model 3 in second place.

The award, which was set to be announced at the cancelled Geneva motor show, still took place inside the city’s deserted Palexpo exhibition centre.

The annual prize is voted for by 60 European-based motoring journalists from 23 countries.

Peugeot has enjoyed good success in the annual competition, winning it with the 308 in 2014 and the 3008 in 2017.

The 208 won it this year with 281 points, ahead of the Model 3 (242), and Porsche’s electrically-powered Taycan (222). Other finalists included the Ford Puma, Toyota Corolla and BMW 1 Series.

Judges lauded the 208 for its sharp and dynamic design and high technology levels, including a next-generation Peugeot 3D i-Cockpit with innovative hologram technology. The new 208 also features driving assistance technologies usually reserved for more prestige market segments, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping.

The car is due to go on sale in SA towards the end of 2020.


Klein Karoo’s Route 62 makes best-road-trips list

One of the quaint pitstops situated along the Western Cape’s Route 62, a road that has made it onto the list of world’s most Instagrammed road trips. Picture: DIETER LOSSKARN
One of the quaint pitstops situated along the Western Cape’s Route 62, a road that has made it onto the list of world’s most Instagrammed road trips. Picture: DIETER LOSSKARN

SA’s Route 62 in the Western Cape has made it onto the top 15 Most Instragrammed Road Trips in the world.

The snaking, scenic road that stretches for 248km from Outdtshoorn to Ashton in the Klein Karoo joined other iconic roads including the USA’s Route 66, which topped the list.

Much like America’s Route 66 that forms an east-west artery, the Cape’s Route 62 provides an inland link between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The route passes through farming towns such as Calitzdorp, Ladismith, historic Amalienstein, Zoar and the fruit growing and wine producing towns of Barrydale, Mantagu, Ashton, and Bonnievale. It includes the famous Ronnies Sex Shop, a pub and restaurant that has become a regular pit stop for bikers, tourists and local farmers.

Route 62 also has some twisty mountain passes to delight driving enthusiasts, including the Cogmanskloop Pass connecting the towns of Asthon and Montagu.

The international survey of Most Instagrammed Road Trips was conducted by British company Click4Reg.co.uk. The research was done by collecting 15 of the best-known roads and trips around the world and then judging which is the most instagrammed by analysing the number of hashtags for each road trip.

Route 66 was the most Instagrammed road trip with 1,708,620 tags, with Australia’s Great Ocean Road in second place with 1,291,178 tags. USA had three roads in the top 15, which included the Pacific Coast Highway and Valley of Fire, and Norway made it onto the list twice with Trollstigen and the Atlantic Road.