WHAT happened to Triton?
The popular Mitsubishi ute came from nowhere to claim third spot on the national sales charts in February and March, but failed to figure in the top 10 in April.
Irrespective, the auto industry’s decline continued last month, with an 8.9 per cent decrease on April 2018.
Passenger vehicles totalled 23,816 sales, SUV sales amounted to 33,190 and light commercial vehicles to 15,601.
Toyota was again the most successful brand overall, followed by Mazda, Hyundai, Ford and Mitsubishi.
Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ Tony Weber blamed the fourth successive decline on the downturn in the housing market, the tightening of lending practices, factors such as drought and flood and the upcoming general election.
The top 10 sellers of April were Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, LandCruiser, Hyundai i30, Mazda CX-5, Toyota Prado and Hyundai Tucson.
Triton dropped to fifth among the pickups.
It was a dismal month for most brands, but there were some notable exceptions.
The big RAM found 156 buyers to record a massive 817 per cent leap over its 17 sales in April 2018, Skoda sales were up 38 per cent, Lotus sold 9 cars for a 200 per cent jump and MG, Aston Martin, Great Wall, Haval, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche and Volvo — all had good gains.
Kia Picanto remained king of the micro class, with four times the combined sales of Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage and the light sector was led by Hyundai Accent from Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2.
Toyota Corolla topped the small category, Mercedes A-Class the premium small and Camry stayed well in front in the medium sector.
Large was led by Holden’s German Commodore from Kia Stinger and Skoda Superb and Kia Carnival was by far the most popular people mover.
Among the small SUVs, Mazda CX-3 and Hyundai Kona finally got past Mitsubishi’s ASX, and Mazda CX-5 was the top medium SUV seller.
Toyota’s Prado and Kluger dominated the large class.
However, the tide seems to have turned slightly in South Africa — which is also heading for a May general election — where the overall new vehicle market recorded 0.7 per cent improvement over the same month last year.
Topping the charts there were Toyota Hilux, VW Polo Vivo, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Toyota Quantum.
However, the real champion was export sales, which improved by 53.8 percent year-on year, to total 33,090.
That’s virtually line-ball with domestic sales.
The nation has a flourishing car building industry which exports many models, primarily Mercedes C-Class, Ford Ranger, BMW X3, VW Polo and HiLux to its main markets: UK, US, France, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Australia, Poland, Italy and Ghana.
Australia, with its vehicle manufacturing reduced to zero, is sadly missing out.
CHECKOUT: Car sales continue their downhill run
CHECKOUT: No mention of EVs as sales head south