The South African new vehicle market continues to suffer, with volumes down 5.1% year-on-year.
Despite the local industry struggling, there are a few brands which achieving above average sales with specific models. The most notable overachiever in sales last month was from Nissan.
Renowned as a bakkie brand in South Africa, Nissan fields no less than four bakkie model lines (Navara, Patrol, NP300 and NP200) and it is the smallest of these, which has made the most significant impact.
Nissan realised a distinguished goal by finishing August as the second most popular bakkie in South Africa, behind perennial sales champion, Toyota’s Hilux. The brand’s compact bakkie, its NP200, bested Ford’s Ranger into third place.
Although the margin of victory was tiny (six units), NP200 still managed to sell 2301 units, versus 2295 Rangers. How did Nissan manage to achieve a surge of 33% in sales, from July into August?
South African bakkie buyers who are feeling budgetary pressure, but require a loadbox vehicle, are recognising that they don’t always need a full 1t load capacity.
Nissan has not made any alteration or added new derivatives to the NP200 range, in an attempt to generate additional demand. The growth in sales during August would appear to be purely organic, with the Japanese brand benefiting from its position as the only manufacturer which markets a compact bakkie in South Africa.
As economic pressure increases and forces fleet managers and business owners to buy-down, the only alternative is to forego that 1t bakkie ambition and purchase the NP200.
Beyond Nissan's success with NP200, there were two other outstanding sales performances in August.
Great month for Lambo
During August, Lamborghini distributed nine new vehicles to South African garages, although the automaker's sales figures are subjected to the arrival of shipment.
Another interest sales performance worth noting, was from the Japanese giant which dominates our local industry.
The most potent Toyota passenger car ever offered by the brand to local customers, had its first full month of sales in August. Although it remains very lightly traded (by Toyota standards), dealers dispersed 21 new Supras to local customers.
Supra opens a new channel of competition between Toyota and Ford. The two brands already compete fiercely in the bakkie and SUV segments, and now they rival each other in sports cars too.
Image: BMW SA / Rob Till
With new Mustang having launched a few days after Supra, the August statistics reveal an unusual scenario where Ford is dominant over its Japanese rival. Mustang sales for August totalled 64 units, which is more than three times what Toyota achieved with Supra. Ironically, Supra’s platform twin, the BMW Z4, only sold 11 units – which places the advantage in that rivalry with Toyota