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The most wanted cars in October

According to the Beat The Price New Car Demand Index for October 2019, Volkswagen had its strongest month of 2019 so far, fuelled by the launch of an appealing new subcompact SUV.

The twenty most requested models* in October 2019 were:

  1. Volkswagen Polo Vivo
  2. Volkswagen Polo
  3. Hyundai i20
  4. Kia Picanto
  5. Hyundai Grand i10
  6. Kia Rio
  7. Renault Kwid
  8. Ford Fiesta
  9. Ford Figo
  10. Volkswagen T-Cross
  11. Toyota Etios
  12. Ford EcoSport
  13. Renault Clio
  14. Toyota Yaris
  15. Volkswagen Golf
  16. Datsun Go
  17. Toyota Corolla Quest
  18. Toyota Hilux
  19. Ford Ranger
  20. Haval H1

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.

VW arrives fashionably late to the compact SUV party

Although the two variants of Volkswagen’s wildly popular Polo have yet to be dislodged from the top spots in the Beat The Price index, the German automaker has rarely managed to get any other vehicles into the Top 20, besides an occasional appearance from the evergreen Golf.

This changed dramatically in October, with the newly launched Volkswagen T-Cross racing straight into 10th position, effortlessly overtaking other strong contenders from Haval and Kia, and hot on the heels of the Renault Kwid - a popular “crossover” that competes in the same segment.

This is clearly the result of a highly successful marketing campaign by VW’s local arm. While it’s true that the T-Cross is an attractive vehicle, and that it capitalises on the current craze for this class of car, only a sustained and effective marketing effort can produce this kind of dramatic spike in interest. The marketing also appears to have had a halo effect on the brand as a whole, with the Golf making its highest appearance of 2019.

Interestingly, the T-Cross is a very late entry to a segment already crowded with more than a dozen other options (many of which have appeared in our Top 20). VW has dabbled in the segment before (the short lived Polo Cross, for example), but this is their first purpose-built subcompact SUV.

The launch of the T-Cross may signal a broadening of VW’s market appeal beyond the entry-level Polo, but it may also be a brief spike in interest that will quickly subside as it did with the recently launched Mazda CX3. The next few months will be critical for VW if they wish to turn their shiny new arrival into a firm favourite.

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 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)
  • 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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