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May's top 20

The Beat The Price New Car Demand Index for May 2019 shows a slight uptick in consumer confidence, with car buyers considering higher-end models such as the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Tiguan. However, the majority of interest is still focussed on entry-level vehicles that excel at fuel economy and lower maintenance costs.

The twenty most requested models* in May 2019 were:

  1. Volkswagen Polo Vivo
  2. Volkswagen Polo
  3. Kia Picanto
  4. Hyundai i20
  5. Hyundai Grand i10
  6. Renault Clio
  7. Toyota Hilux
  8. Renault Kwid
  9. Toyota Etios
  10. Ford Fiesta
  11. Datsun Go
  12. Toyota Yaris
  13. Volkswagen Tiguan
  14. Kia Rio
  15. Toyota Corolla
  16. Toyota Corolla Quest
  17. Ford Figo
  18. Haval H2
  19. Hyundai Creta
  20. Kia Sportage

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:

Crazy for cross-overs

The Compact Utility Vehicle (CUV) class is relatively new to the local market, but these smaller SUVs are quickly growing in popularity. Four of the most requested models in May were CUVs - the Renault Kwid, the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Sportage.

Despite the enduring popularity of the classic “bakkie”, only one made it into this month’s list - the iconic Toyota Hilux. It’s clear that consumers are increasingly looking to smaller models with modern designs, even when considering SUV-style cars.

Kia keeps climbing

While Kia has long played second-fiddle to its larger Korean sibling, Hyundai, demand for its cars is rising steadily in South Africa. Three of our 20 most requested models for May are made by Kia, and the brand accounted for more than 8% of all requests. This is significantly higher than Kia’s market share by national sales (4%), and suggests strong latent demand for the brand, particularly with emerging consumers.

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 corporate 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.

If you’d like more details on this list, or Beat The Price in general, you can contact Marius, our COO, on (083) 701-1614‬

* NOTES:
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)
The standard NAAMSA stats include trucks and other heavier vehicles. Be sure to click the “Passenger” tab when looking at their monthly Flash reports to get a more accurate view of the consumer car market.

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