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Vehicle sales trends a worrying sight


VEHICLE sales, as a barometer of the overall health of the South African economy, is beginning to display some disturbing trends. Overall new vehicle sales, at 54,244 units, are 8.6 % (5,091 units) down on the October 2014 figures.

Passenger car sales, likewise, fared poorly with a total of 36,157 being some 4,433 units fewer than a year ago. Only light commercials managed to record some fairly decent sales figures - declining by only 4.1 % for a total of 15,817 - 646 fewer than a year ago.

In the Top ten category, Toyota continues to occupy top spot with 11,156 total sales - only 545 fewer than in September this year. With Hilux (2,639) on runout, Toyota's fortunes continue to revolve around Corolla/Auris/Quest (2,769), Hilux (2,639), and Etios (1,478). The ever popular Fortuner continues to hang in there with total sales of 746 units.

In second place, Volkswagen likewise continues to perform reasonably well with total sales of 8,883 - only 703 fewer than in September. Volkswagen's stars were Vivo (3,170), Polo (2,320), and Golf 7 (535). Even the Amarok improved its sales, returning figures of 447.

Third place, once again, goes to Ford (6,657) with Ranger (2,740) taking the title of best-selling bakkie. Other Ford success stories revolved around Fiesta (1,005), EcoSport (968), and Figo(835). Overall, Ford sold 306 more vehicles in October than in September.

In 4th place, as usual, is the non-disclosing AMH (5,550) with a modest improvement of 69 units.

GM/Isuzu trucks (5,391) remains in 5th place with 5,301 sales - another modest improvement of 152 units sold. GM's fortunes continue to revolve around Chev Utility (1,947), Isuzu KB (1,376), and Aveo (415). The Opel brand (across 4 models) sold 445 units.

Never budging from 6th place, Nissan (3,873) lost some ground, selling 72 fewer vehicles than in September. The NP200 (1,845), NP300 Hardbody (505), and Datsun GO (418) all did well, as did Qashqai (214).

The biggest upset was in the race for 7th place where Renault (2,050) increased sales by 50 units to oust Mercedes-Benz (2,049) by a single unit. Renault's success was due mainly to Clio IV (575), Sandero II (920), and Captur (357).

Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, will not take this demotion lying down.

BMW continues its downward "progress" by selling only 1,680 vehicles locally - a drop of 206 units compared to the September figures. BMW's best sellers were 3-Series (509), 1-Series (270), and X5 (128).

Staying in 10th place, Mazda (873) quite comfortably outperformed Honda by 112 units

Mazda's stars were Mazda3 (269), Mazda2 (247), and CX-5 (217).

Other manufacturers outside the Top Ten include Jaguar/Land Rover on an excellent 656 sales, Suzuki Auto, which slipped from 538 in September to a disconcerting 392, and Porsche who experienced some late shipment dockings and could therefore only sell 54 vehicles.

Mitsubishi Motors (234) also sold 28 units fewer than in September, but continue with their best-seller ASX (106) outselling Honda's CR-V (63). Honda's HR-V, meanwhile, is taking up the challenge, selling 139 units.

It is feared that domestic new car and commercial vehicle sales will remain under pressure into 2016. However, higher new vehicle export sales remain on a strong footing.


Volkswagen Polo Vivo 3,170
Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest  2,769
Volkswagen Polo 2,320
Toyota Etios  1,478
Ford Fiesta   1,005
Ford EcoSport 968
Renault Sandero II 920
Ford Figo 835
Toyota Fortuner  764
BMW 3-Series  509


Ford Ranger  2,740
Toyota Hilux  2,639
Chev Utility 1,947
Nissan NP200 1,845
Isuzu KB  1,376
Toyota Quantum 1,256
Nissan NP300 Hardbody  505
Volkswagen Amarok 447
Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup 261
Nissan NV350 Taxi   258


Article written by Bernard K Hellberg Snr
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