Toyota is the most popular car brand in South Africa, and by some margin, with the manufacturer selling 62,234 more vehicles in 2022 than the next best-selling brand, Volkswagen.
According to data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), Toyota sold 132,035 cars in 2022 — 90% more than Volkswagen’s 69,801 sales. Third place belongs to Suzuki, with 47,078 car sales.
If averaged out, Toyota’s car sales over the year work out to approximately 11,000 a month.
However, there were certain months when demand for its cars was significantly higher or lower than usual.
Toyota’s best month in 2022 was March, when it sold just over 15,000 cars. On the other hand, its worst month was May, when the manufacturer sold only 6,664 vehicles in the country.
Toyota’s sales dip between April and July 2022 was likely the result of global supply chain disruptions combined with the impact of the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal in April.
Volkswagen’s car sales peaked at 6,750 in September 2022. Similarly, the third-best-selling brand in South Africa — Suzuki —  had its best month in July, when it sold 4,734 vehicles.
Global supply chain disruptions have resulted in manufacturers paying more to secure components, leading to elevated pricing in both the new and second-hand vehicle markets.
Despite this, Naamsa’s figures show that vehicle sales in South Africa rose by almost 14% in 2022, reaching 528,963 units sold in 2022. This is compared to 464,493 in 2021 and 380,206 in 2020.
While vehicle sales in South Africa have somewhat recovered from the dip in 2020 caused by Covid-19, they have not quite returned to pre-pandemic levels.
For reference, 552,227 and 536,612 cars were sold in South Africa in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
However, South Africa’s almost 14% car sales increase in 2022 is impressive, considering the challenges motorists faced during the year.
Higher inflation, an upward trend in interest rates, record fuel prices, and record highs in the frequency and intensity of load-shedding were some of the headwinds consumers faced in 2022.
While load-shedding may seem somewhat unrelated, its increased intensity and frequency weighed heavily on both business and consumer confidence.
South Africa’s fuel price reached as high as R26.74 per litre for unleaded 95 — R7.13 per litre more than at the start of the year — as a result of several factors, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022, resulting in severe oil supply interruptions and sanctions against Russia.
According to data from, oil was selling for $76.08 a barrel at the start of the year — R1,208 at the time.
It peaked at $123.70 (R2,098) in March 2022 and has since returned to $76.12 (R1,291).
While the oil price recovered, South Africa’s weakened rand contributed to delays in the fall of fuel prices in South Africa. Residents in the country kicked off 2023 with a significant price decrease.
Higher fuel prices led to many South Africans limiting their travel.
However, many people also looked to replace their cars with smaller, more fuel-efficient models, which may have worked out in favour of some manufacturers.
The top five brands sold in South Africa in 2022 are Toyota, Volkswagen, Suzuki, Hyundai, and Nissan — all of which sell relatively fuel-efficient cars with small engine capacities.
Therefore, some of the brands on the list may have benefited from higher fuel prices and South Africans looking to spend less on petrol or diesel.
The ten best-selling car brands in South Africa in 2022 are listed below.

Best-selling cars Ford Haval Headline Hyundai Isuzu Kia National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) Nissan Renault Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen
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