Car prices are continuing to climb at a startling rate in South Africa, and this phenomenon is only being made worse by the rapid loss of more affordable models.
The country welcomed the addition of several great new cars in 2023, but it also saw the loss of at least 12 models – most of which came from the more affordable end of the market.
This included fan-favourites like the Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Toyota Urban Cruiser, and Ford EcoSport, and while their respective automakers have all brought out new models since then like the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Ford Puma, these options have significantly raised the cost-to-entry with price differences of hundreds of thousands of rands.
Unfortunately, this is a trend that is set to continue in South Africa in 2024, as there are already a few affordable cars lined up for the chopping block – one of which plays an important role in our market.
End of the line
The first vehicle confirmed to be on the way out is the Honda WR-V, the brand’s cheapest crossover.
It’s not all bad news, however, as the reason for the WR-V’s cancellation is that it is being replaced by a new model called the Elevate, which is based on the Ballade sedan.
The caveat is that the incoming model’s pricing has not yet been revealed, but it is expected that the Elevate will compete with the likes of the Hyundai Creta or Kia Seltos, putting its speculative sticker around R50,000 higher than the WR-V’s.
The next model is an odd one, as it has to do with the Kia Rio – a car that was confirmed to be dropping from the company’s South African roster one year ago.
The reason for this is that the hatchback is no longer being produced for right-hand-drive markets, and so the Rio has quietly remained on sale here for the last year while the remaining stock finds buyers.
As of February 2024, the car is still listed on Kia’s website, and Naamsa recorded that 24 were sold in January, so the Rio is evidently still with us, but should eventually disappear from showrooms in the coming months.
Arguably the most significant loss the local car industry will experience this year will be the Nissan NP200, which is the fourth best-selling bakkie in the country.
This is because it is locally made and is the only model still competing in the compact bakkie sector, making it an obvious choice for small businesses and helping its manufacturer sell thousands of units every month.
Nissan is shutting down production of the vehicle at its Rosslyn Plant in March, and its original plans for a replacement built in Russia had to be shelved, so there are no obvious replacements coming in to fill the void in the market left by the NP200.
However, VW recently announced its plans to produce a new budget SUV in South Africa, which it said could potentially spawn a bakkie twin later down the line with a similar footprint to the NP200.
The Xforce is positioned as an entry-level crossover, while the new ASX (built on the same platform as the Renault Captur) has not been finalized for a local introduction and would likely fill a different role in Mitsubishi’s line-up if it does eventually find its way here.
- Starting price when new – R320,800
- Starting price when new – R330,995
Mitsubishi ASX (To be confirmed)
- Starting price when new – R409,990
- Starting price when new – R234,000