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SA vehicle sales rise in January despite component shortages

Denis Droppa Group motoring editor
The Toyota Starlet was SA’s best selling passenger car in January on 1,472 units.
The Toyota Starlet was SA’s best selling passenger car in January on 1,472 units.
Image: Supplied

Despite an interest rate increase and a continued shortage of some models, SA’s new-vehicle sales had a healthy start to the year. According to figures released by the Naamsa automotive business council, sales in January of 41,382 units were 19.5% higher than in the corresponding month a year ago.

“January new vehicle sales kicked off the year at similar levels to the momentum created during the second half of 2021,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communications at WesBank, referring to four months of sales in the period exceeding 41,000 units.

Both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) started the year positively, increasing 26.6% and 3.8% respectively over January 2021. Heavy trucks gained 9.6%, while medium trucks was the only segment to decline, at 4.3% down.

“Franchised dealers were responsible for 84.2% of these sales, which gave them a flying start to a year that promises to build on the upward trend experienced in 2021,” said Mark Dommisse, chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada).

These heartening figures were delivered despite shortages of some models due to ongoing component shortages, particularly semiconductors, which are likely to be with us for most of this year, he said.

“This shortage of product also means that few manufacturers or distributors are offering incentives to buyers making January’s performance even more impressive.”

Dommisse said rising interest rates and fuel prices will have some impact on the market in 2022, but generally the outlook is brighter than at the same stage last year when lockdown regulations were more stringent.

“We are particularly glad to see the substantial month-on-month growth of 26.5% in January passenger car sales, as this signals improving consumer and business confidence, which are critical for growth in our industry,” said Alex Boavida, vice-chairperson of Nada.

“Some sectors in the luxury segment of the car market showed improvements, such as Mercedes-Benz doubling its monthly sales compared to the averages seen in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. Another good example is Porsche which reported 204 units sold — a 114% increase on the figure in December 2021,” she said.

Year-on-year comparisons remain difficult to interpret because of differing pandemic circumstances, WesBank remained positive for a continued slow recovery of the market during 2022.

“The 2021 annual market was up 22.1% to 464,122 units over the severely impacted 2020 sales (380,206), providing additional context of January’s performance,” says Gaoaketse. “Though consumers have faced their second interest rate increase since November and fuel prices continue their record high performances, confidence levels should continue to increase during the year as inhibiting pandemic regulations subside and economic improvement perseveres.”

Toyota retained its market leadership in January with 12,480 sales, ahead of VW (5,393), Suzuki Auto (3,232), Hyundai (2,668), Haval Motors (2,442), Renault (2,247), Nissan (2,172), Ford (1,639), Kia (1,507) and Isuzu Motors (1,433).



  1. Toyota Hilux — 2,803
  2. Toyota Starlet — 1,472
  3. VW Polo — 1,455
  4. Toyota Urban Cruiser — 1,454
  5. VW Polo Vivo — 1,373
  6. Toyota Corolla Cross — 1,356
  7. Isuzu D-Max — 1,141
  8. Toyota Hi-Ace — 1,076
  9. Suzuki Swift — 1,069
  10. Haval Jolion — 1,038
  11. Toyota Agya — 888
  12. Renault Kwid — 812
  13. Hyundai Atos — 795
  14. VW T-Cross — 781
  15. Toyota Corolla Quest — 741
  16. Toyota Fortuner — 707
  17. Ford EcoSport — 691
  18. Renault Triber — 648
  19. Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up — 618
  20. Ford Ranger — 608

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