Used car shopping trends reaffirm SA’s bakkie-loving culture

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2020 Toyota Hilux
2020 Toyota Hilux

 • The Toyota Hilux is SA's most popular bakkie. 
 • The Hilux is also the most-viewed relatively new vehicle. 
 • The VW polo and Ford Ranger are the next most viewed vehicles according to AutoTrader data. 
 • For more motoring stories, go to Wheels24. 



Whether used for the daily school run or to farm the land, bakkies are a significant part of South African car culture – and the Toyota Hilux rules the bakkie roost!


This much has been revealed by analysing views of nearly new cars (those with a 2021 registration year) on AutoTrader in the first quarter of 2021. AutoTrader is the largest digital automotive marketplace in South Africa and operates a marketplace at scale. As such, it serves as a barometer to provide unparalleled insight into car-buying patterns in South Africa.

Making it to the top of the list of most-viewed relatively new cars is the Toyota Hilux, of which 3 941 new units were sold locally in March 2021, according to the Japanese automaker.

The Hilux was first introduced to the South African market in 1969. Over the years, it has developed a reputation for being South Africa's most loved bakkie. Toyota is now selling its eighth generation of the Hilux.

Toyota Hilux
2021 Toyota Hilux

The popular Volkswagen Polo enjoys the second-most views, with 50.71% fewer views than the Hilux. However, the Polo's lead over the third-most viewed nearly new car, the locally manufactured Ford Ranger, is marginal as the bakkie only received 0.25% fewer views. Once again, this cements South Africans' passion for bakkies.

The Ranger isn't just popular here in South Africa; it's also one of Ford's highest volume and most successful vehicles globally.

In February this year, Ford Motor Company announced an investment of US$1.05 billion (R15.8 billion) in its South African manufacturing operations – marking the most significant investment in Ford's 97-year history in South Africa. The company is spending the money on advanced technologies and systems, which will modernise and grow the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant to support expanded production of the all-new Ranger bakkie, starting in 2022.

ford ranger,fx4
2021 Ford Ranger FX4 in Transkei

Completing the top five most viewed nearly new cars are two luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs) from the same manufacturer – namely the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover. It is interesting to see how highly placed these two vehicles are – given that they're decidedly high end and therefore reasonably pricey.

The Range Rover Sport has just 22.41% fewer views than the Ford Ranger for the period under review. Although offering similar specifications to the Sport, the Range Rover has 58.89% fewer views.

Range Rover Sport SVR
2021 Range Rover Sport SVR

According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, the data is fascinating. 

Mienie says: "I say this because the popularity of the Hilux, Polo, and Ranger is well-documented. However, the Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover – while popular – don't enjoy massive sales because they're simply unaffordable to many. However, our data proves that a lack of buying power certainly doesn't necessarily translate into a lack of desire to own one of these impressive vehicles," he concludes.

new cars for sale data
The top most viewed nearly new cars on Autotrader in Q1 2021

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