Hatchbacks dethrone SUVs in SA's used-vehicle market

16 January 2020 - 12:22 By Motoring Reporter
A 2019 Volkswagen Golf R.
A 2019 Volkswagen Golf R.
Image: Supplied

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) may well be the darling of the global motor industry, but in SA, they have been dethroned by the humble hatchback.

According to used-vehicle sales data provided by AutoTrader, hatchbacks are the number one choice when it comes to body type in SA — by far. As the country's largest automotive digital marketplace, AutoTrader is well positioned to provide accurate motor-industry commentary and insight. According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, the company's data is an effective proxy for the automotive market. 

He reveals that hatchbacks outsold SUVs by 18.9% in SA in 2019. “This is interesting, given the global popularity of SUVs,” he said. The meteoric rise of the SUV has been well documented. Last year was again a good year for the SUV. For instance, in the German car market, SUVs represented the fastest growing and largest segment of that country's new car market. The popularity of SUVs has, of course, also been bolstered by the many new luxury SUVs that have been launched — the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, for instance. The first SUV in the 116-year history of the automaker, it sold particularly well in 2019.

2019's most sold used cars by body type
2019's most sold used cars by body type
Image: Supplied

But here in SA, SUVs don't rule the used-car roost. Mienie said this situation mimics that in the UK. “The list of the top 10-selling new cars in the UK in 2019 was dominated by conventional hatchbacks,” Mienie said.

Interestingly, the SA used-vehicle body-type ranking doesn't mirror new vehicle sales in this country either. “Yes, a hatchback (the Polo Vivo, of which 29,619 units were sold in 2019) was the top-selling passenger vehicle in SA last year. However, the top-selling new vehicle was the Toyota Hilux. And the list of top-selling new vehicles in 2019 is dominated by bakkies (with the Ford Ranger in third place, the Nissan NP200 in fifth and the Isuzu D-Max/KB in seventh). Yet single-cab, double-cab and extended-cab bakkies rank fifth, fourth and 10th respectively in the used rankings. Even if we add those three body types together, they still don't come close to hatches or SUVs,” Mienie said.


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