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The local automotive market is barely out of the woods, due to the Coronavirus-induced economic slump, yet the Toyota Hilux sales are already matching pre-COVID-19 levels. Out of the 9 435 vehicles sold by Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) in September, a staggering 4 252 units donned the Hilux badge.
Although the aggregate TSAM sales of September are 2 456 units down from the corresponding month last year, Hilux figures from last month are 842 units up compared to the same month in 2019. The Hiace Taxi, averaging a 97% market share in its segment, amassed a total of 1 018 units while the legendary Land Cruiser 79 Pick-up had a steady run with 261 models. Consequently, TSAM has continued its strong run in the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) segment, recording 5 653 units sold in September compared to a total of 5 360 vehicles recorded in the same month last year.
Toyota’s passenger vehicles totaled 3 429 units, and it was again SUV segment leader Fortuner that topped the stable’s chart with 911 units. Not to be left out, the outgoing Etios garnered a commendable 809 while the Corolla family of cars retailed 539 units. The Starlet announced its arrival on the leaderboard with 178 units while the Land Cruiser Prado and GR Supra at the upper end of the scale, posted 85 and 24 units apiece.
It was also a good month for Toyota’s luxury arm, Lexus – courtesy of the ES (14) and SUVs UX (13), NX (17) and RX (10). On the truck front, Hino sold a total of 194 units last month. The Hino 300 Series recorded 105 sales (16% MCV market share) and the Hino 500 Series came in at 69 new trucks (14% HCV market share).
Also worth mentioning is that a total of 119 395 Toyota, Hino and Lexus models were serviced last month while no less 1,261 million part pieces were supplied to domestic dealers, with a further 288 290 shipped outside of the country.
In the words of Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TSAM: “September was a tremendous month for Toyota considering the current state of the market. New vehicle sales had dropped into uncharted territory during the months of hard lockdown, causing considerable damage to consumer sentiment. We are so pleased by the resolve demonstrated by our dealers across the country, who have themselves come through a challenging time almost unscathed. Their hard work has delivered this result and we pay tribute to their resilience.”
Toyota Motor Corporation also commented that its global sales are recovering at a faster pace than expected – confirming that they were already 90% of year-on-year levels in August. Locally, the market has also been supported by the South African Reserve Bank’s decision, a couple of months ago, to slash the prime commercial lending rate to a 40-year low of 7%. This was part of its response to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), aggregate domestic sales, at 37 403, units continued to improve in line with lower lockdown levels over recent months, but still reflected a decline of 11 737 units or 23.9% from the 49 140 vehicles sold in September last year. The association further stated that the easing of lockdown restrictions to Level 1 during the month, contributed to the uptick in business activity as well as demand for new vehicles – also improving business conditions in the South African manufacturing sector.
“In the last quarter of 2020 we look forward to pushing even harder, galvanising as much resource as possible – including the entire Toyota workforce across the board – to finish the year on a high,” concludes Theron.