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South Africa’s Top 12 Best Selling Vehicles for 2014: Your next set of wheels should be one of these

South Africa’s Top 12 Best Selling Vehicles for 2014: Your next set of wheels should be one of these

In 2013, a total of 650 620 new vehicles were sold in South Africa, a 3.2% increase versus the 623 914 of 2012. Although unconfirmed at the time of going to print, it is estimated that total sales for 2014 would be in the area of 620 000 units, a decline of 5%.

Despite this prediction and a less than perfect start to 2014, vehicle sales bounced back with a combined 16.4% increase during September and October, compared with the same periods the previous year.

As for individual makes and models, South Africa is known to have one of the most competitive markets in the world, and one which is notoriously brand driven where buyers would remain with a certain make instead of changing, regardless of what the others might have to offer.

For Business Link Magazine’s first edition of 2015, we take a look back at the top 12 bestselling vehicles as recorded by NAAMSA, from January to October 2014, what each dealer had to say about them, and which model would likely be one we would spend our money on.


Toyota Hilux (Main Image) 

Units sold: 31 319

Prices:R205 400 - R533 900

South Africa’s best-selling new vehicle for 2014 comes as little surprise. Since its introduction 45-years ago, the Toyota Hilux has raked up sales of 13-million units worldwide and has been the top seller annually, since 1998.

Its combination of rugged go-anywhere capability, legendary reliability and the fact that even Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson famously failed to destroy it, are just some of the factors that has helped to make the Durban build Hilux the most loved new vehicle in South Africa.

Despite the current generation stemming from 2004, notwithstanding three facelifts during its lifecycle, it has continued to rake in sales of more than 2 500 units each month with close to 4 000 being sold in September. With an all-new model reportedly going sale in early-2016, the Hilux’s reign is set to continue. 

Dealer Verdict: William Whitefield

“The Hilux has proven itself over the last 45 years. Its combination of quality, reliability, running costs, resale value and ruggedness truly speaks for itself” – William Whitefield, Dealer Principal Algoa Toyota Newton Park

Our choice: 3.0 D4-D Raider Double Cab 4x2 

Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Units sold:28 650

Prices:R142 700 - R180 900

Introduced as a replacement for the iconic CitiGolf in 2010 – defiantly not an easy task to fulfil, the Uitenhage built Polo Vivo has stayed true to the philosophy of its predecessor; take an existing model, in this case the previous generation Polo, leave in only the basic features with the rest being optional, and drop the price.

The end result is a B-segment hatch or sedan at the price of an A-segment (city car), and one which has already established itself as one of the country’s top sellers. Despite being labelled by some as nothing more than a slightly re-dressed old Polo, the Vivo’s proven dynamics and simple basic nature has earned itself the bestselling new passenger car of 2014.

Dealer Verdict: Andrew Angles

“The Vivo is a proudly and uniquely South African product, offering German engineering and legendary Volkswagen quality. The vehicle enjoys unbelievably high resale values and is extremely affordable to run and maintain; thus providing our customers with a budget beating cost of ownership proposition” – Andrew Angles, New Vehicles Sales Manager Tavcor Volkswagen

Our choice: 1.4 Blueline Hatch

Volkswagen Polo

Units sold:25 367

Prices:R194 500 - R245 100

What started out as a rebadged Seat Ibiza sporting the Playa and Classic nomenclature during the early 1990s, has quickly established itself as the default option in the most competitive segments of the local market, the so-called supermini or B-segment.

Having benefitted from a mid-2014 facelift, which has seen the adoption of a new 1.2-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine across the board, and offering the same levels of fit-and-finish and quality as its bigger Golf brother, a major coup is therefore needed to unseat the locally built Polo from being the bestselling car in its class and the third best of 2014.

Dealer Verdict: Andrew Angles

“We call the Polo, the ‘the democratisation of luxury’. Class leading in many aspects this is the vehicle that people who are on their way to the top choose to own. It literally feels and drives like a much, much more expensive vehicle” - Andrew Angles, New Vehicles Sales Manager Tavcor Volkswagen

Our choice: 1.2 TSI Comfortline


Ford Ranger

Units sold:20 094

Prices:R193 900 - R535 900

Reportedly styled by the same man who penned the twelfth generation F150, the Ranger caused an absolute sensation when arrived on local shores during 2012. It looked unlike any bakkie ever produced and was described by many as the only vehicle that could dethrone the Toyota Hilux.

Despite being three-years old - a facelift model was shown in early-December last year - demand continues to rise with Rangers leaving dealership floors quicker than the Silverton plant in Pretoria can build them. Combined with its massive stance, car-like levels of comfort and luxury, and Port Elizabeth build Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, there is no denying that the pressure is firmly on the Toyota.

Dealer Verdict: Dale Cuthbert 

“We have seen a constant growth month after month. The vehicle is class leading in all the areas – quality, reliability and unquestioned value for money – and just cannot be excluded from a serious buyer’s list in this segment” – Dale Cuthbert, Dealer Principal East Cape Motors North End

Our choice: 3.2 TDCi XLT Double Cab 4x4


Toyota Corolla / Auris / Quest

Units sold:17 632

Prices: R179 900 - R197 900 (Quest)
           R221 300 - R292 400 (Corolla)

           R215 700 - R353 000 (Auris)

Criticised by some for its conservative styling and so-so dynamic aspirations, little has deterred the Corolla from becoming the bestselling nameplate in the world since 1997, with a reported 40-million units having left dealership floors by mid-2013. Now into its eleventh generation, and build in the same Durban factory as the Hilux, the Corolla and its platform siblings, the Auris hatchback and rebadged entry level tenth generation Quest, continue to offer solid value for money motoring regardless of what the sceptics might say

Dealer Verdict: Nelius Cloete

“The key to the Corolla’s success, as envisioned by its creator, Tatsuo Hasegawa, is that it should “bring happiness and wellbeing to the world.” With a new sleeker design, enhanced levels of comfort and safety, legendary reliability and low running costs, the Corolla continues to break boundaries unlike any other make” – Nelius Cloete, General Manager Buffalo Toyota East London

Our choice: 1.4 D4-D Prestige


Toyota Etios

Units sold:16 274

Prices:R127 800 - R159 800

Introduced as a spiritual successor to the popular Tazz in May 2012, the Indian-built Etios has proved to be a surprise success with over 30 000 units having already been sold in just under three-years. Keenly priced and powered by perky 1.5-litre petrol engine, build specifically for the Etios and not used by any other Toyota, the recent introduction of a faux mini crossover model, the Etios Cross, has further cemented its position as South Africa’s second bestselling budget car.

Dealer Verdict: Nelius Cloete

“There is no beating the Etios’ all-round ability. The combination of classy modern looks, levels of standard equipment, a powerful 1.5-litre engine and exceptional value for money, has truly elevated it above the competition” - Nelius Cloete, General Manager Buffalo Toyota East London

Our choice: 1.5 Xs Hatch


Nissan NP200

Units sold:14 823

Prices:R136 950 - R218 000

A worthy successor to the much loved but terminally aged 1400, the Dacia / Renault Logan-based NP200’s arrival provided much needed competition to the erstwhile Opel Corsa Utility, later badged as a Chevrolet. Much more modern in design than the 1400 and sporting a payload of 800 kg, the NP200 has proven to be perfect small business and recreation tool for 2014,

Dealer Verdict: Johan Londt

It’s clever choice of engines and 800 kg payload has allowed the NP200 to not only compete and lead in the half ton segment, but has given the vehicle the ability to successfully draw buyers from the traditional one ton light commercial vehicle segment, by offering a share in class leading cost of ownership and good value for money. Its 6 year/150 000km warranty has also set a new benchmark in vehicle warranties for the light commercial segment” - Johan Londt, Dealer Principal Nissan Eastern Cape Port Elizabeth.

Our choice: 1.5 dCi S


Chevrolet Utility

Units sold:13 722

Prices:R136 100 - R211 000

Restyled to resemble the contemporary Chevrolet’s in its originating homemarket of Brazil, and now without the Corsa prefix, the Utility has continued where its predecessor took off, but has faced stern competition from the above mentioned NP200. Despite not regaining its crown as the country’s best selling half-tonner, the locally assembled Ute nonetheless makes for an enticing alternative to its Pretoria build Romanian / Japanese rival.  

Dealer Verdict: Wilhelm Muller

“Half ton bakkies offers almost the same functionality as one ton bakkies but at about 40% less running costs. Built right here in Port Elizabeth, the Ute is engineered for local conditions and has proven itself by offering a payload of 738 kg and powerful selection of petrol and turbodiesel engines that are both fuel efficient and offer low running costs” – Wilhelm Muller, New Vehicles Sales Manager Williams Hunt William Moffat 

Our choice: 1.4 Sport


Isuzu KB

Units sold: 13 331

Prices:R208 300 - R501 400

Repeatedly lauded for offering the most car-like ride in the bakkie segment, the Port Elizabeth built KB with its trademark diesel engine clatter, has continued to amass a similar following to that of the Hilux despite slipping from its usual second place, to third ever since the Ranger arrived. With rumours alleging the facelifted KB to feature the same engines as the Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV, which it underpins, trouble could well be on the cards again for the Hilux and Ranger.

Dealer Verdict: Frikkie Venter

“For 30 years Isuzu have been building bakkies that are tough, durable and reliable with legendary comfort all packed with bold styling and high levels of comfort and safety and they are thoroughly enjoyed by their buyers” – Frikkie Venter, Dealer Principal Williams Hunt Uitenhage

Our choice: 250 D-TEQ Double Cab LE


Toyota Quantum

Units sold:11 869

Prices:R308 700 - R430 600

Whether you like it or not, the Quantum probably performs the biggest task in the country by ferrying commuters from one destination to another in an attempt to keep the economy going, and providing transport for many schools, just like its iconic HiAce predecessor did. Regardless of how many bent body panels or duct taped windows some examples might feature, it’s tough as nails Hilux derived underpinnings and bullet proof engines, has made the Quantum the true conqueror of urban South Africa. 

Dealer Verdict: William Whitefield

“From the Ses’fikile taxi to the tourism orientated GL bus, the Quantum has proven itself to be the ideal people carrier. Its choice of 2.5-litre D4-D diesel of 2.7-litre petrol engines are not only powerful, but also reliable and capable of fulfilling the task at hand” - William Whitefield, Dealer Principal Algoa Toyota Newton Park

Our choice:2.7 GL 14-seat


Ford Figo

Units sold:11 567

Prices:R138 400 - R147 900

Initially, there was huge scepticism when Ford opted to replace its entry level European sourced Ka with the Indian built Figo, which, like with the Polo Vivo and Corolla Quest, was a re-fettled low cost version of a previous generation model, in this case, the mark six Fiesta. It soon silenced the naysayers when launched in 2010, by offering an extensive list of standard equipment and a four year warranty for under R110 000.

Dealer Verdict: Dale Cuthbert 

“The Figo has positioned itself in the small car segment and continues to be named as the best value for money purchase in its category by virtue of it being a small car, with big car features not lacking in interior space, build quality, performance, consumption and reliability” - Dale Cuthbert, Dealer Principal East Cape Motors North End

Our choice: 1.4 Ambiente


Mercedes-Benz C-class

Units sold:11 087

Prices:R416 618 - R558 400

Nothing says you have arrived quite like a Mercedes-Benz does. Locally built at Benz’s world class factory in East London for left-and right-hand drive markets, and with the latest W205 generation now offering the same kind of refinement levels and technology as the luxury S-class, there can be no doubt that the C-class has stayed to true Mercedes’ slogan of offering its customers “The best or nothing”.

Dealer Verdict: Ryan Oliver

“The Mercedes-Benz C-Class epitomises the style, quality and luxury that discerning buyers come to expect from a premium brand. Mercedes-Benz is synonymous for exceeding customer expectations and all of these factors have made the brand extremely successful in our market” - Ryan Oliver, Sales Manager at Ronnies Motors East London.

Our choice: C200 auto