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Toyota and Ford: SA’s most sold brand and model

In 2023, Toyota took top position as South Africa's most sold used car brand with 60,296 units sold, while the Ford Ranger reigned supreme as the country's most sold model with 20,156 units sold last year. That's according to the 2023 AutoTrader Car Industry Report, which has just been published. The inclusion of sales data in this year's annual report presents the industry with a tool to assess market dynamics and gain an in-depth understanding of shopper behaviour. 

2500FordRangerPlatinum(2)

Image: Supplied

According to AutoTrader CEO George Mienie, the report comes at a time when the automotive industry – here in South Africa and globally too – is accelerating into the future. “As it works towards decarbonisation and improved customer experiences, the industry will be propelled towards a more efficient, sustainable, and customer-centric future,” he notes. The dynamic shift of the new and used car industry is encapsulated in #DrivingForward, which is the theme of the 2023 AutoTrader Car Industry Report.

As the industry moves towards this future, it needs to be mindful of data – and the report contains many meaningful nuggets of information. For instance, it reveals that online car buying is a phenomenon that continues to gain traction in South Africa. Since 2019, visits to AutoTrader have increased by 97% while the number of in-market car shoppers has already grown by 11% in 2024. In a similar vein, the AutoTrader website generated over 127 million visits in total in 2023. Last year, over 467 million online car searches were conducted, 304 million consumer advert views took place (an average of 11 consumer advert views took place every second!) and over 830 million pages were opened on AutoTrader.

The report reveals that average sold prices decreased by 7.6% to R399,163 in 2023 (from R432,407 in 2022).  Average sold mileage recorded a slight upturn – from 75,939 to 77,783 km.

One of the trends going into 2024 is a growth in new-energy vehicles and this was propelled last year, with a 132% increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales.Advancements in battery technology, EV affordability and efficiency, along with new incentives for local EV production, stand to accelerate their adoption.

Toyota 3 Nov 1

Image: Supplied

Search data on AutoTrader is an indicator of the popularity of a brand and/or model – and Volkswagen and specifically the Volkswagen Golf, came up trumps in this regard. The former was the most searched-for brand, while the latter was the most searched-for model. Interestingly, the top three most searched-for models, comprising only 0.3% of all models listed on AutoTrader, collectively garnered 11.9% of all model searches, mirroring the identical proportion observed in 2022.

Advert view data shows the interest in one car or brand over another – and here, BMW was the most viewed brand. The Volkswagen Polo claimed the most viewed model, kicking last year's most viewed model, the Toyota Hilux, into fifth place. Finally, enquiry data points to the brand or car consumers will most likely buy. And here, South Africans spoke with one voice: the most enquired brand was Toyota. On the other hand, South Africa’s favourite bakkie, the Toyota Hilux, was replaced by the Volkswagen Polo as the most enquired model.