Suzuki holds on to second place in SA vehicle sales race

Published Mar 5, 2024


With access to a comprehensive range of affordable vehicles from its Maruti division in India, Suzuki has been setting the sales charts alight in South Africa.

January saw the Japanese brand break through the 5,000 unit barrier for the first time with a record volume of 5,235 units, while also beating the Volkswagen brand for the second time in history.

In February the brand posted an equally impressive total of 5,221 sales while widening the gap even further from its third-placed rival, which managed a volume of 4,915, down from 5,115 in January.

Volkswagen as a group still managed second place overall with a volume of 5,333 units, including Audi sales, but it was still far behind Toyota’s total volume of 11,524 units in February.

Volkswagen’s Polo Vivo consistently reigns as the country’s top selling passenger car model, dominating for the whole of 2023 with 23,904 sales, but February saw it fall behind the Toyota Corolla Cross.

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Suzuki’s top seller last month was the Swift, at 1,627 units. It was followed by the Ertiga (658), Baleno (585), Jimny (357), Fronx (347) and S-Presso (331).

Suzuki Auto SA’s access to affordable models from India is a recipe for success in an economically depressed South Africa, but its ascension to second place is our not necessarily something for all South Africans to celebrate.

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Volkswagen builds cars in South Africa, providing employment to almost 4,000 people and benefiting around 20,000 through the value chain. Although it currently depends quite heavily on Polo exports, currently amounting to over 10,000 units a month, it will need to grow its footprint on the African continent once the Polo is discontinued internationally later this decade.

Thankfully the local division plans to fight back with a new affordable SUV product, that will be locally produced, and there are also hints that a half-tonne bakkie might be spun off from the project.

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But will the German carmaker’s renewed focus on the African continent see it successfully stave off the increasingly popular imports from India and China? Only time will tell.

IOL Motoring