Move over Toyota, Suzuki is now South Africa’s best-selling car brand

Move over Toyota, Suzuki is now South Africa's best-selling car brand

• Despite rising fuel prices and challenging times for South Africans, new car sales in May remained positive.
• Toyota is the market leader in passenger cars, overtaken by Japanese automaker Suzuki last month.
• Suzuki sold a total of 4,250 new cars in May.

For centuries, Toyota has been the people’s favorite and the best-selling automaker in South Africa, with Volkswagen close behind in second place. Now Suzuki has crept into the country’s most popular brand, surpassing both Toyota and Volkswagen in the passenger car segment.

According to monthly sales figures from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), Suzuki sold a staggering 4,250 new vehicles in May. While Volkswagen South Africa sold 4,468 cars last month, this total also includes Audi vehicles. Audi also had a good month, selling a total of 529 passenger cars, so this would mean that Volkswagen SA sold a total of 3939 cars. Toyota sold 3,998 vehicles. In doing so, Suzuki has surpassed both market leaders.

READ | Suzuki’s feisty Swift Sport hot hatch keeps Porsche Cayman S fair on Simola Hill

Toyota’s Prospecton plant in Durban shut down operations nearly two months ago due to recent flooding, which has hampered local production of the Toyota Corolla Cross and Quest models. Suzuki takes the well-deserved title of the best in the country for May. As they say in racing, a win is a win no matter what.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross

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But what are South Africans buying that has boosted Suzuki South Africa sales, you may be wondering. Last month the carmaker sold 1,764 Swift models, a few hundred more than VW’s firm favorite Polo (1124 units) and Polo Vivo (1179).

Other models that did well for Suzuki included the compact city car S-Presso (783), Vitara Brezza (530), Jimny (428), Ertiga (305) and the 178-unit Celerio, closely following the Dzire with 149. Most of their bestsellers were hampered by stock shortages. The automaker relied on other sources, including imported models such as the Urban Cruiser, which sold 1,213 models, and the seven-seat Rumion (834).

2020 Suzuki S-Presso

2021 Suzuki S-Presso

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Other Toyota bestsellers that appealed to locals were the Land Cruiser badged models, including Land Cruiser pickup (294), Prado (157) and Land Cruiser 300 (162). It’s also important to note that Toyota’s numbers also include their luxury arm, Lexus, albeit in smaller numbers.