Industry insight: Here are the top 10 cars dealers get the most calls for in SA

By Pritesh Ruthun Time of article published Jul 27, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - If you hold even a passing interest in cars, you probably enjoy a touch of online window-shopping or browsing all manner of used vehicles you’re perhaps not entirely serious about buying. But which models do consumers actually show genuine intent to purchase?

Thanks to the 2021 AutoTrader Mid-Year Industry Report, we know the answer to that very question. According to the study, which looks at industry data collected in the first six months of the year, the used model that generates the most enquiries with dealerships is the Toyota Hilux.

Of course, this should come as no surprise, considering the venerable Japanese bakkie has long been South Africa’s best-selling new vehicle, meaning there are plenty of examples on the used market (it was also the most searched for model in the reporting period). Over the first half of 2021, AutoTrader’s figures show dealers received more than 93 000 enquiries on the Hilux.

The Ford Ranger is in second place, though the enquiry number is quite a bit lower at around 68 000. Interestingly, the Blue Oval brand’s bakkie has a slightly lower average list price (R373 948 versus the Hilux’s R412 688) and higher average mileage (94 919 km compared to the Toyota’s 91 680 km). Another strong seller on the new market, the Volkswagen Polo, places third, though its average mileage is lower still at 62 184 km.

The presence of the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class in fourth and fifth respectively is particularly interesting, considering these two German rivals aren’t nearly as popular on the new market as they were a handful of years ago (illustrated by an average year stretching back to 2015 for both). Clearly, there’s still strong demand for these premium sedans on the used market.

It’s a similar case with the sixth-placed Volkswagen Golf, which has the least attractive average year on the table yet an average list price of more than R300 000. This can be explained by the sustained demand of the more expensive GTI-badged hot hatch version, which was fascinatingly the most searched for model variant in the reporting period.

The Toyota Fortuner (the only SUV here) grabs seventh in terms of dealer enquiries received, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo Vivo in eighth (despite the latter routinely taking the title of the country’s best-selling new passenger car). The BMW 1 Series and Isuzu KB (the latter having since been rebadged as the D-Max) complete the table, with the Japanese bakkie featuring the highest average mileage of the lot.

AutoTrader’s CEO George Mienie points out that while the list predictably contains many cars that are popular on the new-car market, there are also a few that are no longer considered strong-sellers from the factory floor.

“Larger hatchbacks and sedans on our list of most enquired upon models – such as the Golf, 1 Series, 3 Series and C-Class – have average years of 2014 or 2015 and aren’t quite as popular on the new-car market as they once were. But there’s still considerable appetite for such models on the used market, even with the rise of crossovers and SUVs,” said Mienie.


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