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Best-selling cars in South Africa in 2023

With the new year finally underway, it is time to take stock of all the cars which were sold in South Africa over the course of 2023, and which models can lay claim to the title of best-seller.

While the industry is facing operating challenges, with Naamsa reporting five consecutive months of reduced sales and a 3.3% decline in December 2023 when compared to 2022, the last year nonetheless saw a great appetite for new wheels from motorists, with 532,098 sales recorded overall.

This is actually a 0.5% increase in sales compared to 2022, which may be small but paints a picture of a gradual recovery to pre-Covid levels of output.

The main reason for this is thanks to commercial vehicles, which exceeded their pre-pandemic numbers in 2022 due to South Africa’s increased reliance on road networks instead of rail for transporting goods, and are continuing to prop up the sales of the industry as a whole.

The biggest portion of purchases in 2023 was attributed to the Toyota Hilux, which sold an incredible 37,382 units in the span of 12 months – an average of 3,115 vehicles per month.

Second place was taken by another bakkie, the Ford Ranger, which achieved its own impressive sum of 24,618 units in 2023.

The title of South Africa’s best-selling passenger car, meanwhile, is taken by the VW Polo Vivo at 23,904 sales, though the Toyota Corolla Cross is not far behind in fourth place at 22,592 units.

This leaves the Isuzu D-Max in fifth place with 18,962 units, meaning all three of the country’s favourite 4x4s made it into the top five.

The Toyota Hiace is another unsurprising entry in sixth owing to its ubiquity in taxi circles around the nation, and the Suzuki Swift and Toyota Starlet also proved to be fan-favourite hatchbacks, placing seventh and eighth, respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 are the Nissan NP200 which continues to perform well in its final days before it is retired this year, and the ever-popular VW Polo.

Another win for the local auto sector in 2023 was exports, which saw a 12.7% increase in overseas sales to reach 396,290 units despite disruptions to global supply chains.

Going into 2024, Naamsa expects that exports will once again play a big role in supporting the local manufacturing sector despite growing inflation and geo-political events like the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.

The industry’s prospect is that 2024 will be the year it returns to pre-pandemic levels, something that it hopes will be aided by new investments in South Africa’s railways, ports, and roads, as well as clarity on the country’s new-energy vehicle framework that will allow companies to start making plans for the future.

Time to take score

These were the 20 best-selling cars in South Africa in 2023, according to Naamsa’s vehicle sales reports.

Click on the underlined prices for more information.

1. Toyota Hilux – 37,382 units

2. Ford Ranger – 24,618 units

3. VW Polo Vivo – 23,904 units

4. Toyota Corolla Cross – 22,592 units

5. Isuzu D-Max – 18,962 units

6. Toyota Hiace – 16,465 units

7. Suzuki Swift – 15,974 units

8. Toyota Starlet – 15,713 units

9. Nissan NP200 – 12,721 units

10. VW Polo – 11,748 units

11. Toyota Fortuner – 10,385 units

12. Chery Tiggo 4 Pro – 10,054 units

13. Hyundai Grand i10 – 9,829 units

14. Haval Jolion – 8,604 units

15. Nissan Magnite – 8,580 units

16. Mahindra Pik Up – 8,063 units

17. Renault Kiger – 7,725 units

18. VW T-Cross – 7,152 units

19. Kia Sonet – 6,511 units

20. Renault Kwid – 6,222 units

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