ToyotaToyota, Lexus and Hino dealers were humming in August as the South African company delivered 12 220 new vehicles to customers. This represents just over 21% of a strong August market of 56 253 units sold.

“The market remains strong and set for total sales of over 600 000 units,” says Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors.

“One has to keep in mind that we are at the cusp of the replacement cycle following the significant sales achieved in 2006 and 2007. Many of these customers held back on replacing their vehicles, but are now returning to the market thanks to low interest rates and the general affordability of vehicles in this market.”

Dr Van Zyl’s comments are mirrored by Toyota dealer sales statistics. Toyota’s dealer network sold 10 014 units or 4 out of every 5 Toyota vehicles sold, while the company also recorded significant purchases from vehicle rental companies in advance of the summer season.

“There is a significant amount of marketing activity amongst all vehicle brands in the market, but that is a characteristic of our South African market and not an anomaly. One has to consider the large number of brands and new vehicle introductions in this relatively small market and the subsequent high level of competition,” says Dr Van Zyl.

The passenger vehicle market was the largest growth driver, growing by over 11.5% in comparison with the same month of 2011. A total of 40 345 units were sold in August, which makes it the largest passenger vehicle market since October 2007.

Several Toyota products performed well in August, notably the Yaris (1 096 units), Corolla (1 541 units), Etios (1 563 units) and the Toyota 86, which retailed 211 units in August.

The light commercial vehicle market lagged the sales growth of the passenger vehicle market, but recorded a respectable increase in sales of 5.7% over August 2011. The Hilux remains South Africa’s top selling vehicle with 2 942 units sold in August.

“We expect the market to remain strong for the remainder of the year, with purchases from large government departments and vehicle rental companies set to supplement private market vehicle purchases,” says Dr van Zyl.