AutoTrader investigates whether cars are playing second fiddle to bakkies and SUVs in SA

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You may be seeing a lot more bakkies and SUVs on SA’s and the world’s roads in the not-too-distant future.

While the world’s most popular vehicle in 2017 – the Toyota Corolla, with 1 160 495 global sales – is still a car, bakkies, SUVs and crossovers are fast encroaching on car territory all over the globe. And, as George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, points out, precisely the same trend is evident in South Africa too.

“South Africans have long had love affairs with bakkies. In fact, the world’s most popular vehicle in 2017 – the Toyota Corolla – doesn’t even feature in the top ten in South Africa (its budget sibling, the Corolla Quest, fares well, with 12 333 sales recorded in 2017). Instead, all the glory typically goes to bakkies. This much was apparent once again in 2017, with the Toyota Hilux (36 422 sales) and Ford Ranger (32 786 sales) being the top two best sellers in this country,” explains Mienie. In third place in South Africa – with 28 402 sales – was the VW Polo Vivo hatch and sedan.

While these bakkies don’t occupy the same positions in global rankings, they’re popular internationally too. “The F-Series Light-Duty was the sixth most popular vehicle in world last year, with 730 596 units sold. The Hilux occupied the 19th position, with 459 984 global sales. The Vivo, on the other hand, is only sold in South Africa and Kenya, so it obviously doesn’t feature on the world rankings,” he explains.

According to LMC Automotive, a number of SUVs and crossovers feature in the most popular vehicles in the world during 2017. The Toyota RAV4 was the fourth most popular car in 2017, with global sales of 786 580. Number five was the Honda CR-V (753 359 global sales) and number eight was the Ford Escape (632 529 global sales).

The same can be seen in South Africa. “While cars such as the Polo Vivo and Polo are extremely popular in this country, so too are the Toyota Fortuner (13 696 sales last year), Ford EcoSport (9 920) Renault Kwid (8 027) and RAV (7 622),” reveals Mienie.

The popularity of SUVs in this country is furthermore reflected in AutoTrader search data. “The Fortuner and BMW X5 were the ninth and 10th most searched-for vehicles on AutoTrader in 2017,” Mienie explains.

Going forward, the AutoTrader CEO expects more bakkie, SUV and crossover sales – both here in South Africa and globally. “The modern motorist demands so much more. He or she wants style, safety, economy and practicality too – and that’s precisely what modern bakkies, SUVs and crossovers deliver,” he explains.

List of AutoTrader’s top searched for vehicles for 2017

  1. BMW 3 Series
  2.  Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  3.  Volkswagen Golf
  4.  Toyota Hilux
  5.  Ford Ranger
  6.  Volkswagen Polo
  7.  BMW 1 Series
  8.  Audi A3
  9.  Toyota Fortuner
  10.  BMW X5

World’s most popular cars by sales

  1. Toyota Corolla, global sales: 1,160,495
  2. Honda Civic, global sales: 833,017
  3. VW Golf, global sales: 788,044
  4. Toyota RAV4, global sales: 786,580
  5. Honda CR-V, global sales: 753,359
  6. Ford F-Series Light-Duty, global sales: 730,596
  7. Ford Focus, global sales: 656,071
  8. Ford Escape, 632,529
  9. VW Polo, global sales: 614,827
  10. Toyota Camry, global sales: 569,760

Source: LMC Automotive

South Africa’s annual passenger vehicle sales for 2017

  1. VW Polo Vivo hatch & sedan, SA sales: 28 402
  2. VW Polo hath & sedan, SA sales: 22 575
  3. Toyota Etios, SA sales: 14 686
  4. Toyota Fortuner, SA sales: 13 696
  5. Toyota Corolla Quest, SA sales: 12 333
  6. Ford Fiesta, SA sales: 11 446
  7. Ford EcoSport, SA sales: 9 920
  8. Kia Picanto, SA sales: 8 140
  9. Reault Kwid, SA sales: 8 027
  10. Toyota Rav, SA sales: 7 622

Source: Lightstone

South Africa’s annual light vehicle sales for 2017 (passenger & light commercial)

  1. Toyota Hilux, SA sales: 36 422
  2. Ford Ranger, SA sales: 32 786
  3. VW Polo Vico hatch & sedan, SA sales: 28 402
  4. VW Polo hatch & sedan, SA sales: 22 575
  5. Toyota Quantm, SA sales: 15 694
  6. Nissan NP200, SA sales: 15 081
  7. Toyota Etios, SA sales: 14 686
  8. Isuzu KB, SA sales: 14 255
  9. Toyota Fortuna, SA sales: 13 696
  10. Nissan NP300/Hardbody, SA sales: 13 604