2019 saw its fair share of challenges, especially with regards to the economy and new vehicle sales.
But while these challenges had a damning effect on consumers, Toyota South Africa believes that the economic strain will continue in 2020.
According to Andrew Kirby, president and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), the downward trajectory in new vehicle sales began in 2013, and it will continue to drop until something is done to improve the economy.
Underlining this is the fact that the accumulative sales figure for 2019 is 13% smaller than the figure registered in 2013, and 25% smaller than in 2006. Over 2018, 2019 sales figures dropped by 2.5%.
In 2019, industry sales for new vehicles stood on 536 626 units, but TSAM predicts that in 2020 it will be around the 515 000-mark. A further year-on-year decline of 4%.
Ettienne le Roux, chief economist at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), says: “Over the past two or three years, consumer confidence has been low and spending has quite been conservative. This will, of course, affect local vehicle sales, because buying a car is considered to be discretionary spending. Finances are really tight and the pressure consumers are feeling is quite significant.”
Andrew Kirby addressing the room at #SOMI2020. Image: MotorPress
Though the 2020 predictions for overall sales are lower than in 2019, TSAM will be looking to improve on their sales figure of 130 072 units sold last year. Aiding this challenge will be the introduction of the new Corolla Quest, launched following the State of the Motor Industry address.
The Quest is built on the 11th-generation Corolla’s platform, but comes in at a very competitive price. The expanded Quest range, TSAM hopes, will give buyers more buying freedom. Also, the pricing bracket for the new car is aggressive, in an attempt to counter the economic challenges faced by consumers.
In light of this, Toyota SA is looking to sell 14 000 Corolla Quests in 2020.
Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing, says: “Understanding that there is still a need for an affordable sedan in our market was one of the driving factors in developing the new Corolla Quest. We conducted numerous product clinics to gain a better understanding of what our customers wanted and where we could adapt our product offering to better suit the market needs."
In addition to being the top-selling automaker in SA in 2019, the Toyota Hilux was the best-vehicle, overall. It sold off an impressive 40 934 units locally to secure its position at the top. The previous-generation Quest sold 14 536 units 2019.