The sedan body shape has gone from the second-most-popular option for South African car buyers to the least popular in the past 10 years.
This is according to data from Lightstone, which looked at the most popular vehicle types for buyers in the country.
Lightstone said the decline of the sedan has coincided with the rise in popularity of the crossover/SUV shape – with purchases “more than doubling from 14% of the market in 2011 to 31% at end October in 2021”.
Following the SUV on its upward trajectory is the double cab bakkie, which is a very popular option among local car buyers.
Interestingly, the hatch body shape has also experienced a drop in popularity over the past 10 years – although not as marked as that of the sedan.
The graph below from Lightstone shows the changes in market share for vehicles in South Africa from 2011 to 2021.
“In 2011, new vehicle sales were dominated by the hatch, sedan, and single cab [bakkie] body shapes, which were responsible for more than 70% of all light vehicle sales,” said Lightstone.
In fact, the sedan “enjoyed a market share of 30%” as recently as 2003, said the company.
“This has slipped over the past 10 years, however, from 20% in 2011 to 6% in 2021.”
Conversely, crossover/SUV market share has risen from under 15% in 2011 to over 30% in 2021.
What is a crossover?
To provide a clearer picture of which “body type” a vehicle is, Lightstone shared examples of vehicles that fall into the various body type categories.
The Toyota Corolla and the BMW 3 Series are two iconic sedans in the country, and the decline in popularity of the body type can been seen when examining the vehicles launched by the brands of late.
Toyota recently launched the Corolla Cross in South Africa, which sits in the crossover/SUV category.
This followed the brand launching the Corolla Hatch locally in 2019.
BMW has also adjusted its models strategy in South Africa as a result of shifting trends.
While high-performance models like the M3 and M5 are still fan favourites, and the 3 Series continues to be a luxury sedan of choice for buyers, the brand has put a lot of energy into its SUV range.
You can buy an X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 today, with a range of trim and engine options available for each model.
The graphic below provides examples of vehicles which fall into the various body-type categories.