We look at some of the new cars that landed in South Africa in 2017 and see if they are selling as well as predicted.
It’s difficult to tell if a new car is going to be a hit with the public or not – unless it’s a Volkswagen or Toyota, in which case it probably will be. What we as members of the motoring media do after we've reviewed new products is to sign off with a final line about letting the sales charts do the talking... But how are the new cars of 2017 actually doing? Looking through the list of new vehicles for 2017, Audi went large brought 3 new models to market with an all-new Q5, A5 and the refreshed A3. Other large introductions this year included the Golf 7.5, BMW 5 Series and Kia Picanto.
As for the rest, we’ve picked a selection of interesting new vehicles across various segments to see which models are doing well and which are flopping. A few things to note, however, are that the overall market a mixed bag at the moment, with sales in the last few months on the up, but earlier in 2017, things did not look bright at all. Also, the supply of certain models may be limited – sales figures may suffer as a result of this. Also note, BMW and Mercedes-Benz do not release sales figures, but Kia and Hyundai now do.
The all-new Q5 has only been on sale since July this year. The Q5 takes major steps in ride refinement and comfort levels inside, at a cost. The entry-level model is expensive as are the options, but it is the best of the current German mid-size SUVs. Sales for the new model appear to be on the up as it has jumped from below 100 units to over 150 units per month during August 2017.
The Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The facelifted A3 arrived right at the tail end of 2016 featuring a plusher interior as well as the option of Audi's Virtual Cockpit dashboard. The ride has also improved and throughout the year we've seen the introduction of the RS models to both the hatch and sedan derivatives. The A3 has done well so far in 2017, pushing well over 200 units a month and on the odd occasion, 300 units. It makes it one of the top sellers in the C-segment hatch market.
The Audi 2.0T FSI Sportback S Line Auto is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The A5 is never going to shift huge numbers with its premium price tag and niche-segment placement. Even with the addition of the Sportback 5-door models, allowing for more practicality the A5 is a heart-over- head purchase. It seems to be doing reasonably well in its first 4 months of sales, as it turns between 70 and 90 units per month, which is not bad considering the starting price is R600k.
The Creta is a new product from Hyundai in the compact family car/crossover segment. Rivals are the likes of the Renault Captur, Suzuki Vitara, Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V and the Mazda CX-3 – to name but a few in this tightly fought segment. The Creta is very popular as it's spacious and very practical. Like a few of the Korean models, it skimps a bit on the active safety systems, but that hasn't hampered its sales at all. We only have sales figures for the Korean brands for July and August, but the Creta is romping away with the segment, notching up 514 and 438 units a month.
The Hyundai Creta 1.6 Exec Auto is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
We didn't include the Jag F-Pace in last year's article as it was too new. How's the fastest-selling Jaguar of all time doing in our market? Okay it seems. The F-Pace is quite expensive and certainly pins itself as a road-biased SUV with a sporty demeanour. The F-Pace is certainly outselling the XF and XE sedans and appears to be keeping the brand on the up and up. The F-Pace sells an average of 64 units a month.
The Jaguar F-Pace 35t AWD S is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The new Picanto has been on sale since early July and appears to be doing quite well. The improved build quality of Kia is certainly noticeable, but the meagre safety spec on certain models is a bit bewildering. The new car retains the previous model's engines, but appears well-suited as a city runabout. Its keen pricing and reputation appear to be helping it on the sales front as the first 2 months of sales have yielded 659 and 846 units. It outsells competition like the Toyota Aygo and VW up! by some margin.
The Kia Picanto 1.0 Style is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The Rio is another new entrant from the Korean brand; the compact hatchback arrived in early June. The previous generation was a top seller for Kia and it's really hoping the new model will continue the sales momentum. It may suffer next year against perennial favourites in the form of an all-new Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, but we'll have to wait and see how things shape up. Sales appear to be good for the Rio, with 635 and 504 units in the last 2 months. That's better than the Hyundai i20 and Mazda2, but not quite as much as the Fiesta or Polo.
The previous Mazda CX-5 continued to sell extraordinarily well right up until it was replaced with this all-new model. The CX-5 is often ranked as one of the best-selling SUVs in the country and the new model is more stylish with a more premium cabin, excellent sound insulation is excellent. We tip it to continue selling well. Currently, it's selling upward of 350 units a month, which is excellent for an importing brand.
The Mazda CX-5 2.5 Individual is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
Mitsubishi waited a long time to release the new Triton. It wanted the new 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine, so had to wait a little longer than the introduction of Fiat's Fullback, which makes do with the older 2.5-litre unit. Sales haven't exactly been good for the Triton as the double-cab market has moved further into leisure vehicle territory, while Mitsubishi still appeals to those who like the utilitarian nature of a 4-door bakkie. That said, it's still a very capable bakkie and a worthy contender in the segment. The Triton sells between 25 and 40 units a month, well below par for what it's capabilities suggest.
The Mitsubishi Triton 2.4DI-D 4x4 Auto is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
There has been a lot spoken about the new Navara's suspension setup and how it would revolutionise the segment. Unfortunately, the rest of the Navara hasn't managed to match the competition with its plasticy interior and lack of a real infotainment system. Pricing is keen, however and it will be locally built, which may bode well for the provision of more competitive offerings down the line. Sales do appear to be on the up as stock becomes more freely available. The first 3 full months of sales resulted in 110, 137 and 175 Navaras finding homes.
The Nissan Navara 2.3D 4x4 LE Auto is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The Suzuki Ignis is an all-new offering from the Japanese brand. It rivals vehicles like the Volkswagen Up!, Kia Picanto, Toyota Aygo and Renault Sandero. It continues Suzuki's local philosophy of cheerful and keenly priced A- and B-segment offerings. Suzuki has been on the up for almost the duration of 2017 after winning the Brand of the Year title at the 2016/17 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards. It's still early days for the Ignis but after 3 months of sales, it appears to be doing around 110 units a month, which is certainly competitive.
The Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The Volkswagen Golf 7.5 or facelift arrived this year with GTI and R models added to the range almost immediately. The Golf is the go-to vehicle in the C-segment, but this segment has seen a downfall in sales of late as buyers are moving towards SUVs/crossovers. Even with a much higher price, the GTI still turns excellent sales numbers. Currently, the Golf sells around 470 units a month, most of which are GTI and R derivatives.
The Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline R-Line is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The Volkswagen Tiguan was officially launched in South Africa late in 2016, but with a full year of sales under its belt, it's interesting to see how it has done. We expected it to rocket away with the segment, but hasn't been able to match the Hyundai Tucson or the Toyota RAV4 in terms of outright numbers. It sits alongside the Mazda CX-5 in the second tier of medium SUV sales averaging 340 sales per month.
The Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline R-Line DSG is a semi-finalist in its category of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards
The S90 is an excellent offering in the executive sedan market. It uses Volvo's new styling and technologies in a plush, premium and very different way to what we're used to from the Germans. This segment is sadly in decline, however, even though Volvo offers guaranteed future value financing deals and preferential insurance rates for buyers, the S90 still hasn't lit up the sales charts – it averages 7 units a month.