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The most sought-after car models by South African car buyers

The newly launched Beat The Price Car Demand Index shows that ordinary South Africans are increasingly focused on affordability and fuel-efficiency, with a strong (and growing) preference for smaller, more efficient engines and cheaper maintenance costs.

The ten most requested models* in March 2019 were:

1. Volkswagen Polo 1.0TSI
2. Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4
3. Hyundai Grand i10 1.0
4. Renault Kwid 1.0
5. Kia Picanto 1.0
6. Toyota Etios 1.5
7. Hyundai i20 1.2
8. Datsun Go 1.2
9. Haval H2 1.5T
10. Ford Fiesta 1.0T

Beat the Price offers a unique insight into what South African car buyers want 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.

Small brands, growing demand

Haval, for example, sells less than 15% as many vehicles as VW or Toyota and yet the Haval H2 was the 9th most requested model in March. For a relatively new and unknown brand, this is an extraordinary performance.

Datsun is another example of relative out-performance by a smaller brand. The Datsun Go is 8th on our list, yet Datsun as a whole sold only 85 more vehicles than Haval in March.

Big brands, big surprises

Unsurprisingly, the VW Polo dominates the top of the list. This perennial favourite has been the most popular car in South Africa for years now. What is interesting is that the Polo 1.0TSI variant is by far the most requested vehicle, rather than the bestselling Vivo.

Toyota is another surprise. Although the brand as a whole accounted for 13% of requests in March, only one model made it into the top 10, with the iconic Corolla barely making it into the top 20.

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. 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 focused 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).

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