Toyota’s new Urban Cruiser was the country’s best-selling compact SUV in its debut month. Picture: SUPPLIED
Toyota’s new Urban Cruiser was the country’s best-selling compact SUV in its debut month. Picture: SUPPLIED

SA new-vehicle sales regained a semblance of prepandemic normality in March with 44,217 cars, commercial vehicles and trucks sold, compared to 37,359 in February.

The year started slowly with 34,784 sales in January, 13.9% lower than the 40,413 in the corresponding month of 2020.

March’s upsurge in sales was a substantial 31.8% increase over the 33,546 vehicles sold in March last year, when the country went into lockdown towards the end of the month and saw vehicle production and sales halted.

Stronger vehicle sales in March are most encouraging, and this year may be better than expected for the local motor industry, said Mark Dommisse, chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada).

“It is evident that the delayed replacement cycle is starting to catch up, helped by interest rates remaining low. The used vehicle market is also strong, which is good for the overall health of all sectors of the industry,” he said.

“Two months after a semi-hard lockdown, consumer confidence is improving. Potential buyers were wary in January, cautious in February and, now that the second wave has passed, and the country’s economy is stabilising, people are looking to buy new vehicles again.”

The industry is expected to start recapturing lost demand on its recovery path in 2021, said Mikel Mabasa, CEO of Naamsa Automotive Business Council, umbrella body of the local motor industry. He warned that new-vehicle sales may be hampered by stock shortages of some models caused by pandemic-induced manufacturing supply chain disruptions, such as the current global shortage of semi-conductors.

There were 27,330 passenger cars and 14,375 bakkies and light commercials sold last month.

The VW Polo Vivo was SA’s most popular new car with 1,913 units finding new owners in March, closely followed by the new-generation Polo on 1,831.

Notable performances in the passenger segment included the Toyota Urban Cruiser compact SUV with 977 sales in its debut month, ahead of the vehicle on which it is based, the Suzuki Vitara Brezza, which sold 390 cars.

The Hyundai Venue was another popular compact SUV on 944 units, outperforming the ageing Ford EcoSport (597 sales) which previously dominated the segment. Strong sales for the VW T-Cross (589), Renault Triber (587) and Haval H1 demonstrated the popularity of the compact SUV segment.

The Toyota Hilux took its usual spot as SA’s most popular bakkie — and highest-selling vehicle overall — with 3,943 units in March. Ford’s Ranger was next best with 2,416 units.

The perennially popular Toyota Fortuner topped the large SUV sales charts on 966 units.

 

SA’s top selling new vehicles - March 2021

Toyota Hilux - 3,943

Ford Ranger - 2,416

Volkswagen Polo Vivo - 1,913

Volkswagen Polo - 1,831

Isuzu D-Max - 1,606

Nissan NP200 - 1,443

Toyota Hi-Ace - 1,348

Toyota Urban Cruiser - 977

Toyota Fortuner - 966

Hyundai Venue - 944

Suzuki Swift - 749

Toyota Starlet - 721

Nissan NP300 - 676

Datsun Go+ - 654

Ford EcoSport - 597

VW T-Cross - 589

Renault Triber - 587

Toyota Corolla Quest - 583

Haval H1 - 536

Toyota Agya - 531

Suzuki S-Presso - 527

Renault Kwid - 519

Kia Picanto - 516

Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up - 516

Hyundai Grand i10 - 515

Datsun Go - 437

Haval H2 - 419

Hyundai Creta - 400

VW Polo sedan - 400

Kia Seltos - 370

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