Car buyers are becoming more "cost-savvy" as spiralling fuel prices distort the traditional cost of vehicle ownership, says Ghana Msibi, sales and marketing head at finance house WesBank. The South African pump prices of petrol and diesel are expected to hit record levels later this week, due to stronger international oil prices. The effect will be to accelerate the market shift towards smaller, fuel-efficient cars, says Msibi. "Consumers are more informed about the real cost of ownership." That is not immediately apparent in May’s vehicle sales figures, published Friday by the Department of Trade and Industry. Two bakkies, the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, remain SA’s most popular vehicles by a considerable distance. Their customer base, however, includes agriculture and commerce. In the car market, new versions of the Volkswagen Polo and Vivo have put plenty of daylight between them and their nearest competitor, the Toyota Corolla. Truck sales finally showed some fight in May, aft...

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