These cars are changing what South Africans want in their garage – TopAuto
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These cars are changing what South Africans want in their garage

The Toyota Corolla Cross, Haval Jolion, and VW T-Cross have added to a fundamental shift in what South African car buyers want from a new vehicle.

These models were all introduced to South Africa quite recently, all have starting price tags below R400,000, and are all what most people describe as “small SUVs”.

How do we know these three SUVs have made a big impact in the short amount of time they have been in the market?

The answer is twofold.

Look around

The first indicator of change is the reliable “take a look around” measurement.

In parking lots, on roads, and in driveways where you live: there are a lot of these small SUVs.

Following the launch of the T-Cross, it was impossible to go to the shops or drive to a friend’s house and not see one on the roads or parked within 100 metres of you.

The same is true for the Jolion and the Corolla Cross – there is always at least one passing by when you are on the roads.

This is complemented by the anecdotal evidence we receive from people who like to talk to TopAuto staff about cars:

  • “My dad is looking to sell his Golf GTI to buy a VW T-Roc,” was a conversation from this week.
  • Two people who work in the same office block as TopAuto said they plan to buy a Corolla Cross this year (they currently both own sedans).
  • Friends-of-friends are asking us: “What do you think of the new Haval SUVs?”

The numbers

If you prefer more well-defined evidence, then indicator number two is for you: the sales numbers.

Small SUVs like the Toyota Corolla Cross, Haval Jolion, and VW T-Cross are smashing it when it comes to new sales.

In the South African market, small, cheap hatchbacks are still the biggest volume sellers – but when you start going over the R300,000 mark, little SUVs are taking over.

Naamsa’s new vehicle sales report for January 2022 highlighted this. Below is a non-exhaustive selection of top-selling crossover and SUV models in the country:

The numbers indicate the number of units sold during the month.

  • Toyota Urban Cruiser – 1,454
  • Toyota Corolla Cross – 1,356
  • Haval Jolion – 1,038
  • VW T-Cross – 781
  • Ford EcoSport – 691
  • Renault Kiger – 604
  • Nissan Magnite – 570
  • Suzuki Vitara Brezza – 558
  • VW T-Roc – 247
  • Mazda CX-5 – 222

As a reference point: for a car brand to sell 1,000 units across its entire range in one month is a big deal.

Ford, for example, sold 1,693 new units in total in January – making it the 8th best-selling brand in the country.

Incredibly-popular cars like the VW Polo and Polo Vivo then did around 1,400 new units each during January.

For Toyota and Haval to launch the Corolla Cross and Jolion and take the sales numbers to over 1,000 units is a clear sign that South Africans want a small SUV in their garage.

With lots of room in the cabin, big boots, good ground clearance, a higher ride height, solid fuel economy, and their lack of fear when it comes to a dirt road, these cars are ideal for a range of South African driving scenarios.

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