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Wednesday / 19 June 2024
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Where South Africa imports its cars and bakkies from

South Africa imported a sizeable 42% of all passenger vehicles from India in 2023, with China being the second most popular origin country for vehicles sold locally.

While India is also the number one source for light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) such as bakkies and taxis, only 8% of these models were delivered to our ports from the South Asian nation in 2023 whereas the largest portion was built right here on local soil.

These figures were revealed by Toyota at its recent State of the Motoring Industry address which took a look back at the performance of the country’s automotive industry over the last year.

Passenger car imports

India was the unequivocal leader of passenger vehicle imports in 2023 accounting for 146,095 shipments, reflecting an increase of 46,397 cars versus 2019, which is likely a consequence of the affordable models that are built in this country such as Suzukis and Renaults.

South Africa was second as it was responsible for 82,219 new cars entering the market – the locally-made VW Polo family being a prime driver of this performance – though this is down from 88,608 four years ago.

China was third, tailed by Germany, Japan, Spain, and South Korea.

China enjoyed a massive jump in imports going from a mere 9,066 units in 2019 to 32,382 in 2023; while Spain also saw an increase but by a much smaller margin of 2,702 units.

Contrastingly, volumes for Germany, Japan, and South Korea dropped by over 12,000 units each – probably because vehicles from these nations are on the more expensive end of the market, for example, BMWs and high-end Toyotas.

The main source countries for passenger vehicles in South Africa, as provided by Toyota, are detailed below:

Bakkie imports

When it comes to bakkies and taxis, a good 81% of the vehicles sold in this category last year were built locally as several of South Africa’s most popular bakkies including the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, VW Amarok, and Nissan Navara are produced within its borders.

Subsequently, only 19% of LCVs were imported mainly from three other countries.

During 2023, there were over 145,000 LCVs sold in the country with 122,981 of these being produced on South African soil, marking a decrease of 6,357 units in comparison to 2019.

Regarding imports of LCVs, India once again held the top spot with 11,462 units shipped from there to here, which is a substantial increase of 7,090 units when compared to pre-Covid volumes.

China was third, its shipments jumping by an equally impressive 4,586 vehicles – from 2,377 in 2019 to 6,963 in 2023.

This was followed by Japan which experienced a slight dip of 581 units over the last four years to reach a total of 3,992 LCVs in 2023.

The main source countries for LCVs in South Africa, as provided by Toyota, are detailed below:

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