Still way ahead in sales despite seasonal retail dip

There were some signs of green shoots’ recovery as the automotive market reversed its downward spiral for the first time in over eight months. Domestic new vehicle sales of 38,172 units, reflected an increase of 814 units, or a gain of 2,2%, from the 37,358 vehicles sold in April 2023.

However, according to Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota South Africa, April is traditionally a slow period for the company: “Seasonal fluctuations heavily impact retail sales and nowhere is this more evident than in April which is characterised by disruptive public and school holidays. We anticipated the temporary retail blip as this is the time our customer base – which is family oriented – usually takes a break, but it’s still hard to come off a high like we experienced in March when we mustered up a market share of over 25%. Another contributing factor was rental – our numbers were half of what they were in 2023 (609 vs 1,360) but in this case, it’s purely cyclical. That said, Toyota is still convincingly leading sales and I’m pleased with the 8,541 sales we racked up to garner a 22,4% share. As usual, my thanks goes to our amazing dealer network, sales, marketing and aftersales staff as well as the ladies and gents of the Toyota Africa Parts Centre, the largest automotive facility of its kind in SA, for keeping the wheels turning. Of course, a special thanks goes to our ever-faithful customers.”

Breaking down the numbers, Toyota took top spot in both Passenger and LCV, with Hilux - on 2,094 units - once again taking the title of SA’s most popular vehicle. On the Hilux front, the much-vaunted Hilux GR-S III with hardcore offroad componentry and uprated mechanicals is still to be launched and its introduction will focus attention on the Double Cab end of the business.

Other valuable LCV contributions for the brand came from Hiace on 552 sales (a little off the pace due to a backlog in registrations) and Land Cruiser 79 pickup, notching up a retail figure of 385 units. There is currently very high demand for the Land Cruiser 79 and this is directly attributable to how well the transplanted 2.8 GD-6 engine with auto box has been received by the 4x4 community.

Corolla Cross and Starlet take the third and fourth position in the passenger car rankings with 1,573 and 1,148 units retailed respectively. Falling just shy of the top 10 are Fortuner (616), Vitz (529), Urban Cruiser (349) and Rumion (328).

Although still in short supply, RAV4 numbers are easing a little, as evidenced by the 106 registrations for the month. Also of interest in the SUV space is the ongoing good showing by the Land Cruiser 300 which gained another 119 new owners. The introduction of the all-new Prado is just around the corner, but the current model continues to tick along with 89 sold in April. In the niche luxury segment, Lexus shifted 23 NX and 18 super-luxury LX models respectively.

In the MCV space Toyota took second place on the podium with 128 total registrations courtesy of 99 Hino 300 sales, together with 25 Coasters and four Quantums.

On the parts front, just over 1,4 million pieces distributed locally, with over 269 846 pieces exported to foreign markets.