New record for Suzuki dealers as buyers seek cheaper cars

S-Presso is brand’s top selling model

03 July 2020 - 09:25 By Denis Droppa
Just three months after its launch, the price of the S-Pressso increased to R139,900 but it’s still the country’s cheapest car.
Just three months after its launch, the price of the S-Pressso increased to R139,900 but it’s still the country’s cheapest car.
Image: Supplied

It seems South African buyers are showing an appetite for cheaper cars in the first full month of sales under relaxed lockdown conditions, with Suzuki Auto SA reporting that its dealers set a new sales record in June.

Suzuki Auto SA leapt up the sales charts by selling 1,433 new vehicles last month, with all but one unit sold through its dealer network, and it was the highest number yet achieved by the brand’s dealer channel. The Japanese brand’s all-time sales record was 1,710 units in February, but that included sales to rental firms and the government.

Last month’s performance ranked Suzuki seventh overall in SA’s new-vehicle sales rankings, and gave it a 4.49% share of the total vehicle market and a 7.17% share of the passenger car market.

The newly launched S-Presso has proved to be a popular new model, with 555 new units finding new homes in June in the car’s first full month of sales.

The S-Presso was introduced in March for a base price of R134,900, but that increased to R139,900 this month. However, with prices for the rival Renauld Kwid and Mahindra KUV100 also increased, the S-Presso is still the country’s most affordable car.

“With a starting price of only R139,900, a service plan and five-year warranty included, the S-Presso seems to be the perfect vehicle for cash-strapped South Africans looking for a reliable new car. Its design as a compact SUV, with more interior space and high ground clearance, certainly helps,” said André Venter, divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto SA.

Other Suzuki models that have proved to be popular after sales restarted include the Suzuki Swift (297 units), the Ignis (86 units) and the Jimny 4x4 (249 units).

While the entire automotive market has not recovered in step with Suzuki, it is showing signs of recovery after dealers were allowed to reopen for business in the middle of May.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) reported 31,867 new-vehicle sales in June, which is significantly up from the 12,874 vehicles in May. It remains well below the 45,953 units sold in June last year, and year-to-date sales are still a massive 105,054 vehicles down compared to the first six months of 2019.

“It was impossible to predict the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown or to fully gauge its impact on dealer health, but based on June’s sales it looks like there is a glimmer of hope for the auto industry,” said Venter.