Volkswagen and Hilux: SA’s most popular brand and model

South Africa’s most popular car brand is Volkswagen while the country’s most popular model is the Toyota Hilux. That’s according to the 2022 AutoTrader Car Industry Report, which has just been published. The report contains many other interesting findings too – such as the fact that the average price of used cars increased by 16% in 2022.

According to AutoTrader CEO George Mienie, the report comes at a particularly significant time for the South African automotive industry. “The theme of this report is #Accelerated because, as an industry, we need to bounce back accelerated, using lessons learnt over the last five years to forge a sustainable industry,” he notes.

Of course, the industry also needs to be mindful of data – and the report contained many meaningful nuggets of information. For instance, it reveals that consumer appetite and online shopping continued to increase in 2022. The number of in-market car shoppers grew by 10% year-on-year in 2022 – ending with over 35 million users. In a similar vein, visits to the AutoTrader website also increased by 10% in 2022 – generating over 120 million visits in total. Last year, over 653 million online vehicle searches were conducted, a record high and a 94% increase over 2019.

The average price and mileage of used cars also increased last year. The report reveals that average prices rose by 16% in 2022 to R432,407 while average mileages recorded a slight upturn – from 75,413 to 75,939 km.

One of the trends going into 2023 is a growth in new-energy vehicles and this was propelled last year, with a 159% increase in electric vehicle advert views. Sales of battery electric vehicles breached the 500 units-per-year mark in South Africa for the first time ever in 2022 – more than doubling over 2021.

Search data on AutoTrader is an indicator of the popularity of a brand and/or model – and Volkswagen and the Toyota Hilux came up trumps in this regard. The former was the most searched brand while the latter was the most searched model.

Advert view data shows the interest in one car or brand over another – and here BMW was the most viewed brand. The indomitable Toyota Hilux was the most viewed model. Finally, enquiry data points to the brand or car that consumers are most likely to buy. And here South Africans spoke with one voice: the most enquired on brand was Toyota with South Africa’s favourite bakkie, the Toyota Hilux also generating the most enquiries