South Africa’s top-selling SUVs

South Africa’s car market in 2020 was severely hampered by economic recession, and a year that saw the Covid-19 pandemic thwart the envisaged momentum from a 300-basis point interest rate cut during the year.

Sales data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) showed a substantial decline in new vehicle sales of 156,163 units, or -29.1%, from 536,612 units in 2019 to 380,449 units in 2020.

“Vehicle sales are linked to the strength of the economy, and the pandemic not only deepened an existing economic recession, but its severe impact resulted in that the domestic new vehicle market in 2020 dropping back to the levels of two decades ago,” Naamsa said.

South Africa entered a recession before the outbreak of Covid-19, which means middle-class disposable income was already under pressure prior to the national lockdown, it said.

Toyota accumulated a 23.7% market share by year end, with the Hilux retaining its spot as the country’s best-selling vehicle. The Japaense brand sold 90,129 vehicles in 2020, down from 130,072 sales in 2019.

Volkswagen SA, with a 21.6% market share, saw sales in 2020 decline 28.9% year on year. With 19,750 units sold in 2020, the locally manufactured Polo Vivo is SA’s best-selling passenger car.

Ford’s overall sales volume was down from 50,827 to 35,272 units in 2019, with the EcoSport and Ford Ranger boosting its standing.

These were the best-selling SUVs in the country in 2020, broken down by size segments:


Compact SUVs

  1. Ford EcoSport — 7,255
  2. VW T-Cross — 5,693
  3. Hyundai Venue — 4,482
  4. Haval H2 — 4,465
  5. Kia Seltos — 3,164
  6. Mazda CX-3 — 2,432
  7. Hyundai Creta — 2,353
  8. Haval H1 — 2,202
  9. Renault Duster — 2,154
  10. Suzuki Jimny — 1,627


Medium SUVs

  1. VW Tiguan — 4,280
  2. Toyota Rav4 — 3,432
  3. Mazda CX-5 — 3,154
  4. Hyundai Tucson — 2,819
  5. BMW X3 — 1,624
  6. Kia Sportage — 1,597
  7. Nissan X-Trail — 1,563
  8. Nissan Qashqai — 1,189
  9. Audi Q3 — 1,131
  10. BMW X1 — 838


Large SUVs

  1. Toyota Fortuner — 9,635
  2. Ford Everest — 1,588
  3. Mercedes GLE — 977
  4. Toyota Prado — 844
  5. Toyota Land Cruiser 200 — 819
  6. BMW X5 — 767
  7. Land Rover Defender — 744
  8. Range Rover Sport — 619
  9. Porsche Cayenne – 489
  10. Land Rover Discovery — 266


Read: What to expect from car sales in South Africa in 2021

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South Africa’s top-selling SUVs