Made-in-India Swift, Baleno etc Help Suzuki Overtake VW in South Africa

In surprising news, Suzuki overtakes VW in terms of monthly sales in South Africa for the first time ever. In the last few years, many made-in-India models have been exported to SA. These include the likes of Swift, Baleno, S-Presso, Jimny, XL6, Ertiga, Dzire, Fronx, Celerio, etc. Indians expect vehicles to be value-for-money prepositions. Hence, Maruti Suzuki has been the largest carmaker in the country in India since its inception. With a similar mentality, South African car buyers are now leaning toward going for affordable Suzuki cars rather than expensive-becoming VW vehicles. The sales numbers evidently highlight the new trend.

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Suzuki Overtakes VW in South Africa

In the month of February 2024, VW sold 4,898 units in SA. Note that this number excludes the premium cars from Audi. In comparison, Suzuki sold 5,221 units. Similarly, in January 2024, VW managed to sell 5,115 units (again, excluding Audi sales), while Suzuki sold a marginally higher 5,235. Hence, the Japanese automaker has consistently beaten the German carmaker for two months in a row. VW was at the second spot for the highest sales on a monthly basis for years. But the trend seems to be shifting and Suzuki is the one benefitting from it.

Monthly Sales VW (excluding Audi) Suzuki
January 2024 5,115 5,235
February 2024 4,898 5,221
Sales of VW and Suzuki in SA

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Suzuki Models on Sale

As mentioned previously, Suzuki sells Swift, Baleno, S-Presso, Jimny, XL6, Ertiga, Dzire, Fronx, Celerio, and Eeco in the South African market. Most of these belong to under R250,000. That is what sets it apart from VW. The most affordable VW car is the Polo Vivo which has a retail sticker of R262,000 in its base trim. Similarly, its most affordable SUV is the T-Cross which sells for R401,000. Clearly, these entry-level cars can hardly be classified as affordable. As a result, the South African public is moving away from the prestige associated with a brand like Volkswagen.

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Most cars have a similar engine option as on the models sold in India. For instance, the Swift and Dzire possess a 1.2-litre engine which makes 61 kW (82 hp) and 113 Nm of peak power and torque. The Baleno, Ciaz, Ertiga, Jimny, XL6 and Fronx get a 1.5-litre engine which generates 77 kW (103 hp) and 138 Nm. The smaller Celerio has a 1.0-litre mill which churns out 49 kW (66 hp) and 89 Nm. Therefore, all these powertrains are familiar. With so much engine sharing, Suzuki is able to keep its prices competitive.

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Suzuki Front for South Africa
Suzuki Front for South Africa

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Author’s Note

It is fascinating to see modern car buyers looking for value-for-money cars rather than getting affected by the brand image alone. This makes it clear that legacy carmakers need to come up with a new strategy in order to stop losing market share. We shall keep an eye out to see how VW reacts to this in the immediate future.

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