How well are Chinese cars selling in SA? Haval and Chery sales vs rivals

Published Feb 14, 2023


Johannesburg - There’s no denying that Chinese cars are emerging as a significant threat to the established carmakers on South Africa’s sales charts.

But how much of a dent are they really making? To get a clearer picture we compared the sales figures of the most popular Haval and Chery models from July to December 2022 (we would have done the full year but Chery didn’t release figures in the first half of the year).

While this time last year South Africa’s best-selling Chinese car was the Haval Jolion, it has since been overtaken. The Chery Tiggo 4 Pro took top honours in the second half of 2022, with a monthly average of 771 sales. It was closely followed by the aforementioned Jolion, which averaged 697 sales per month, while Haval’s H6 was in third with 491 units a month.

These figures are certainly impressive, but how do they compare to their mainstream SUV rivals?

If we’re looking at Toyota’s figures then the Chinese contenders still have a lot of catching up to do, with the Toyota Urban Cruiser having managed a monthly average of 1 634 units in the second half of 2022, followed by the Corolla Cross at 1 439.

However, the Chery Tiggo 4, with its monthly average of 771 units, is certainly nipping at the heels of Mzansi’s third best-selling SUV, the Volkswagen T-Cross, which averaged 866 monthly sales during that period.

It also beat the Renault Kiger, which tied with the Jolion at 679 units a month, and both Chinese contenders beat the Suzuki Vitara Brezza (636), Renault Magnite (598), Hyundai Venue (559) and Ford EcoSport (427).

On the SUV front, at least, the Chinese contenders are certainly emerging as a big threat to the mainstream carmakers. Let’s just hope that at some point they put their money where their mouths are and start building vehicles in this country. Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan contribute hugely to the local economy while providing thousands of jobs.

Of course another one to watch is BAIC with its striking new X55 that was launched late last year, and it’s also looking set for local production at the new Koega facility in the Eastern Cape. BAIC has not yet released sales figures to Naamsa, so we could not include them in the above comparison.

But how do the Chinese bakkie sales compare?

It would appear that when it comes to our beloved bakkies, South Africans prefer to stick with the tried and trusted.

The country’s best-selling Chinese pick-up in H2 2022 was the GWM Steed, with a monthly average of 361 units putting it ahead of its more modern P-Series rival (which managed 268), and underlining the country’s need for more affordable bakkie options.

However, these sales figures still pale in comparison to South Africa’s locally-manufactured bakkies.

Toyota, for instance, sold an average of 2 702 Hilux bakkies in the second half of 2022, followed by the Ford Ranger (1 752), Isuzu D-Max (1 654), Mahindra Scorpio (698) and Nissan Navara (516).

But China does reportedly have a potential ace up its sleeve. It is believed the Chery is planning to launch a range of Tiggo-badged unibody bakkies in South Africa (read more here), and if they come in at the right price they could certainly spark a lot of interest.

IOL Motoring