South African new-vehicle sales declined by 4.1% in 2015 compared with 2014. This follows a 0.7% drop in 2014 compared with 2013.
Here are a few interesting statistics from 2015.
Who Won the Bakkie War?
For a while last year it looked as if the Ford Ranger might outsell 2014’s bestselling vehicle in South Africa, the Toyota Hilux. However, the Hilux has retained its spot at the top of the bakkie segment, selling 35 684 units in 2015. Ford sold 33 920 Rangers.
Toyota sold 37 562 Hilux units in 2014.
The new Hilux will be launched early this year.
Money, Money, Money
While the overall market was down in 2015 compared with 2014, three notable brands defied this trend. Maserati sales increased from 26 units in 2014 to 45 units in 2015, while Ferrari sales were up from 82 units to 91 units. Porsche sales jumped from 1 146 units to 1 469 units.
Datsun Go Proves a Winner
Price-sensitive customers in 2015 flocked to showrooms to buy the Datsun Go, regardless of motoring scribes criticising the cheap entry-level vehicle for its poor safety features. Nissan sold 5 647 Gos last year.
Rand Takes Toll
It seems vehicle importers had another tough year, again owing to the weak rand, which led to significant price increases.
Two South African importers, Associated Motor Holdings (AMH) and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors (AAD), saw their combined sales drop from 77 019 units in 2013, to 69 750 units in 2014, and 59 478 new vehicles in 2015.
AMH imports the Kia and Hyundai brands, for example, while AAD focuses on Chinese imports.
Great Wall Motors South Africa, a Chinese importer, sold 3 647 new vehicles in 2014. No comprehensive data is available for the brand’s local sales in 2013. Sales reached 3 109 units in 2015.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic of 2015 is that electric car sales increased dramatically, albeit off a low base. While sales of the Nissan Leaf showed healthy growth, BMW’s i3, launched this year, hinted that South Africans are warming to zero-emission alternatives.
Sales of the Nissan Leaf, launched in 2013, more than doubled in 2014, increasing from 14 units to 35 units in 2015.
In comparison, sales of BMW’s i3 electric vehicle reached 82 units.
The i8 plug-in hybrid sports car proved more popular, with sales of 124 units.
Electric vehicles receive no government incentives in South Africa, as is the case in a large number of developed countries.
* All the numbers in this article were calculated using the monthly sales figures released by Lightstone Auto and the Department of Trade and Industry.