Toyota's Hilux was the top-selling vehicle in SA for July with 2,836 units bought. Picture: CHANTELLE OOSTHUIZEN
Toyota's Hilux was the top-selling vehicle in SA for July with 2,836 units bought. Picture: CHANTELLE OOSTHUIZEN

Toyota remained SA’s top-selling new-vehicle brand last month despite closing its Durban factory for almost a week due to the riots in KwaZulu-Natal.

The unrest affected the delivery of new vehicles and the supply of parts in the affected areas. Despite these challenges, Toyota registered a market share of 25% in July. It sold 8,320 new vehicles for the month, ahead of Volkswagen (5,078) and Hyundai (2,698). 

Nationwide, new-vehicle sales fell to 32,949 units in July, a 13.6% drop from 38,030 a month earlier. Year-to-date sales are 33.7% ahead of 2020.

The unrest, coupled with the adjusted level 4 lockdown restrictions, hobbled the progress made in the motor industry’s rebound during the first six months of the year, according to industry body Naamsa.

The riots caused huge logistical challenges on the N3 highway and at all the country’s major ports, while a cyberattack at Transnet severely affected vehicle exports. Vehicle shipments and the delivery of automotive components could take some time to normalise, Naamsa said.

“July brought the fragility of the motor industry back into stark focus,” said Lebogang Gaoaketse, head of marketing and communications at WesBank.

“Not only did the month bring physical impacts, but the resulting consequences in business and consumer confidence will continue to challenge the industry’s recovery for months to come.”

Combined with disruptions in the component supply chain caused by global semiconductor shortages, July was a “perfect storm” for the motor industry, said Mark Dommisse, chair of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association. 

The effects would probably be felt for several months, with dealers facing stock shortages and local car manufacturers battling to maintain production, Dommisse said.

Revamped Nissan Navara registered strong sales in its first month. Picture: SUPPLIED
Revamped Nissan Navara registered strong sales in its first month. Picture: SUPPLIED

Toyota’s Hilux retained its long-held crown as SA’s most popular vehicle in July, ahead of Ford’s Ranger. Budget models including VW’s Polo and Polo Vivo and Toyota’s Starlet also recorded strong sales.

Another notable performer was the new Nissan Navara bakkie which sold 710 units last month after selling just 557 units in total last year. This was due to a major revamp for Nissan’s one tonner, which will soon also have single-cab models added to a line up that was previously available only in double-cab guise.

Less successful for Nissan was the new Magnite, which failed to make much of an impact in the small SUV/crossover segment with 101 sales last month. Ruling this burgeoning league is Toyota’s Urban Cruiser, which recorded 646 sales for the month. The Hyundai Venue, Haval Jolion, VW T-Cross and Kia Sonet were also popular, all outselling the ageing Ford EcoSport which long ruled the segment.

SA’s best selling new vehicles — July 2021

  1. Toyota Hilux — 2,836
  2. Ford Ranger — 1,620
  3. VW Polo Vivo — 1,619
  4. VW Polo — 1,369
  5. Toyota Hi-Ace — 1,205
  6. Nissan NP200 — 996
  7. Isuzu D-Max — 932
  8. Toyota Starlet — 747
  9. Nissan Navara — 701
  10. Toyota Fortuner — 685
  11. Renault Kwid — 647
  12. Toyota Urban Cruiser — 646
  13. Toyota Corolla Quest — 513
  14. Renault Triber — 510
  15. Hyundai Venue — 504
  16. Haval Jolion — 469
  17. Hyundai Grand i10 — 463
  18. Hyundai Atos — 461
  19. VW Polo Sedan — 451
  20. VW Tiguan — 444
  21. VW T-Cross — 429
  22. Kia Sonet — 363
  23. Ford EcoSport — 357
  24. Suzuki S-Presso — 349
  25. Kia Picanto — 346
  26. Hyundai i20 — 314
  27. Kia Rio — 311
  28. Suzuki Ertiga — 310
  29. Suzuki Swift — 299
  30. GWM P-Series — 285
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