Viva to Vivo as SA buyers flock to budget hatches and compact SUVs

Premium-car sales continued to struggle in a pandemic-hit 2020

04 February 2021 - 07:11 By Denis Droppa
The entry-level VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline was SA's most popular car in 2020, by a significant margin. Picture: SUPPLIED
The entry-level VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline was SA's most popular car in 2020, by a significant margin. Picture: SUPPLIED

SA’s most popular new car is the Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline hatchback, and by quite some margin.

At 10,774 units sold in 2020, the entry-level model of VW’s small hatchback notched up nearly double the sales of the next most popular car, the slightly better equipped Polo Vivo 1.4 Comfortline, which found 5,997 buyers.

Out of 1,500 individual model derivatives on sale in SA in 2020, the next two most popular models were variants of the new-generation Polo. The first non-Volkswagen car in the top sellers was the fifth-placed Hyundai i20 1.2 Motion.

SA’s new-vehicle market declined 29.1% in 2020 due to the pandemic, worsening a pre-lockdown recession that already had middle-class disposable income under pressure. The passenger market experienced a buying-down trend as the premium segment continued to struggle, and the vast majority of models in the top-40 sellers were budget-focused hatchbacks and compact SUVs.

Toyota’s Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 large SUV was the first non-budget derivative, in 13th position with 2,013 units. BMW’s locally built X3 xDrive20d SUV was the top model from a premium brand, in 40th place with 1,126 sales.

New entrants to the budget segment in 2020, such as the Renault Triber, Suzuki S-Presso and Toyota Starlet, fared very well despite being on the market for only a few months. Strong sales by the VW T-Cross, Ford EcoSport, Haval H1 and Hyundai Venue revealed the burgeoning popularity of compact SUVs.

Chinese vehicles are making inroads into the local market, with the Haval H1 the country’s 10th-best-selling car in 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED
Chinese vehicles are making inroads into the local market, with the Haval H1 the country’s 10th-best-selling car in 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED

Haval’s performance is noteworthy on the back of previous ill-fated attempts by Chinese brands to woo buyers with budget-priced but cheaply built cars. Having the H1 as SA’s 10th-best-selling car indicates that local consumers are starting to embrace Chinese vehicles.

The 40 top-selling individual models of 2020:

  1. VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Trendline 5-dr — 10,774
  2. VW Polo Vivo 1.4 Comfortline 5-dr — 5,997
  3. VW Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline 5-dr — 4,260
  4. VW Polo 1.0 TSI Trendline 5-dr — 3,739
  5. Hyundai i20 1.2 Motion 5-dr — 3,712
  6. VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG — 3,090
  7. Renault Kwid 1.0 Dynamique 5-dr — 2,558
  8. Ford Figo 1.5 Ambiente 5-dr — 2,483
  9. VW Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline 5-dr DSG — 2,374
  10. Haval H1 1.5 VVT-I — 2,202
  11. Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion 5-dr — 2,130
  12. Suzuki S-Presso 1.0 GL+ — 2,052
  13. Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 RB auto — 2,013
  14. Hyundai Grand i10 1.0 Motion 5-dr — 1,974
  15. Toyota Corolla Quest 1.8 — 1,938
  16. Suzuki Swift 1.2i GL 5-dr — 1,888
  17. Toyota Etios 1.5 Sprint — 1,873
  18. Toyota Etios 1.5 Sprint 5-dr — 1,783
  19. Ford EcoSport 1.5 Ambiente — 1,714
  20. Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente — 1,487
  21. Toyota Fortuner 2.8 RB Epic auto — 1,465
  22. Toyota Avanza 1.5 SX MPV — 1,458
  23. Hyundai Venue 1.0 TGDi Motion — 1,455
  24. Suzuki Swift 1.2i GA 5-dr — 1,421
  25. Toyota Corolla Quest 1.8 CVT — 1,408
  26. Toyota Corolla Quest 1.6 Plus — 1,395
  27. Datsun Go 1.2 MC MID 5-dr — 1,385
  28. VW Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline 5-dr — 1,384
  29. VW Polo Vivo 1.6 Comfortline 5-dr Tiptronic — 1,377
  30. VW Polo Sedan 1.4 Trendline — 1,339
  31. Toyota Starlet 1.4 Xi 5-dr — 1,334
  32. Hyundai Grand i10 1.0 Motion 5-dr auto — 1,324
  33. Renault Triber 1.0 Energy Dynamique 5-dr — 1,300
  34. Renault Kwid 1.0 Expression 5-dr — 1,280
  35. Renault Sandero 0.9 Stepway Turbo Expression 5-dr — 1,220
  36. Nissan Almera 1.5 Acenta — 1,213
  37. VW Polo 1.0 TSI Highline 5-dr DSG — 1,198
  38. Renault Triber 1.0 Energy Prestige 5-dr — 1,197
  39. VW T-Cross 1.0 TSI Highline DSG — 1,173
  40. BMW X3 xDrive20d 8-sp Steptronic — 1,126

Source: Naamsa


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