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Toyota dominates South African car sales 43 years and counting

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has earned the accolade of the country’s favourite car brand for the 43rd consecutive year, securing a 24.9% overall market share in 2022 across its Toyota, Lexus, and Hino sub-brands.

As a result, out of the total of 528,963 new vehicles sold in the country last year across the four major segments, 132,035 had either a Toyota, Lexus, or Hino badge on the nose.

The automaker also finished 2022 on a high note, raking in 11,250 sales in December alone and topping both the passenger and light-commercial categories.

Star performers and the number of units they moved during 2022 included the following:

With the Hilux’s stellar showing, it not only managed to be Toyota’s most popular model, but also the best-selling vehicle in the country.

A tough year for Toyota

Although Toyota managed to maintain its position as the best-selling automotive brand in South Africa, it didn’t come without its roadblocks.

Notably, semi-conductor shortages towards the end of 2021 caused the company to cut its full-year production forecast by 15% as it simply couldn’t source enough parts to build all the vehicles it had intended to.

In March 2022, the carmaker shut down all 14 of its plants in Japan due to one of its suppliers being hit by a cyberattack, costing it approximately 13,000 vehicles.

Locally, it also faced challenges in the form of floods that wreaked havoc on its Durban plant in April, which caused the factory to be out of operation for nearly three months while repairs were being done.

With the global supply-chain issues, the restorations presented their own obstacles, too.

Many components inside the factory were badly damaged from the rushing waters and due to slow shipping times and limited part availability, these components had to be cleaned, refurbished, and put back to work until their replacements arrive – whenever that may be.

The Toyota head office in Japan also halted many of its ongoing projects around the globe to ensure that spares could be sourced to assist in the repair of the KZN plant, and imported vehicle units were brought in to make up for lost sales.

If the company had waited for all damaged components to be replaced, the Durban facility would have been out of action for another 12 months, said Toyota South Africa CEO Andrew Kirby at the re-opening in August.

In November, the world’s biggest automaker once again warned customers that it may face supply challenges over the coming year due to a persistent shortage of semiconductors and spikes in Covid cases in China.

“We are truly grateful for the 26.9% market share recorded in December. We are also grateful to the entire TSAM team and dealers across the country for their continued efforts towards making Toyota a market leader, but we have learned from last year that we cannot be complacent,” said senior vice president of sales and marketing at TSAM, Leon Theron.

“We emerged out of a tragedy and managed to achieve an overall market share of 24.9% in 2022 – and that’s phenomenal.”

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