April's top 10

The Beat the Price - New Car Demand Index for April 2019 shows that cash-strapped South Africans continue to focus on affordable, fuel-efficient choices when looking for a new car. It also illustrates that the brands with the most sales are not necessarily those most sought after by consumers.

The ten most requested models* in April 2019 were:

  1. Volkswagen Polo Vivo
  2. Volkswagen Polo
  3. Renault Kwid
  4. Kia Rio
  5. Hyundai Grand i10
  6. Hyundai i20
  7. Kia Picanto
  8. Renault Clio
  9. Toyota Avanza
  10. Volkswagen Golf

Beat the Price offers a unique insight into the preferences of South African car buyers because it captures their initial preferences, rather than the vehicle they eventually settle for. If we compare the list above to the NAAMSA figures, we see some marked differences.

French flair and Korean quality

Together Renault and Hyundai account for just 11% of new car sales in South Africa, but they each have two models in the Top 10. This suggests that the marketing and general appeal of these models (and their parent brands) is successfully driving up demand, particularly in the emerging sector of the market (in which Beat the Price is particularly visible).

Big brands, big surprises

While VW continues to dominate the list as a whole, there is only a single Toyota model on the list - the Avanza, a mid-range people carrier. For the second month in a row, we see South Africa’s most “popular” brand underperforming in the index.

This lends further evidence to the theory that demand for Toyotas is inflated by bulk purchases for use in corporate fleets and other commercial uses (such as car hire). Toyota has earned this spot thanks to its legendary reliability, but it’s clear that ordinary consumers are increasingly tempted away by other brands.

Preferences vs sales

Although the NAAMSA sales figures are an invaluable resource for tracking the market, they are less useful for forecasting and tracking consumer demand for brands and models. This is because:

  • The sales figures include sales to large organisations (such as rental agencies and government fleets), which significantly distort the trends and are largely unaffected by marketing
  • Sales do not always reflect initial preferences. Many consumers end up “settling” for a different model or even a different brand because of problems with availability or financing
  • Car sales tend to lag marketing efforts significantly because of the longer purchase cycle for consumer vehicles. Beat The Price’s stats reflect underlying preferences and future car buying intentions.

Why no Ferraris?

As a free online service, you might expect that Beat The Price is flooded with requests for high-end luxury vehicles. Fortunately, this is not the case. Our customers tend to be serious, practical and focussed on good value for money. In other words, ordinary working South Africans, many of them from the emerging middle class.

This list combines model variants by engine capacity. The data underlying this list represents a statistically significant sample of national car sales (at 95% confidence)

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