India biggest exporter of cars to SA

INDIA has become the biggest exporter of new vehicles to South Africa.

Last year, India exported 97359 vehicles to the country, exceeding South Korea, which delivered 59946, Germany on 54922 and Japan, 31709.

The total number of vehicles imported was 264307 from all countries.

Paul de Vantier chief executive of Lightstone Consumer, based in Port Elizabeth, revealed these figures at a Ford media event.

The breakdown of the top 15 imported models in order of volume from India was: Toyota Etios 24367, Hyundai i20 15350, Ford Figo 15254, Hyundai i10 10998, Volkswagen VW Polo Sedan 4453, Nissan Micra 4434, Honda Brio 3608, Tata B-Line 2935, Ford EcoSport 2585, Nissan Almera 1949, Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 1321, Ford Ikon 1 298, Suzuki Alto 1262, and in 15th place the Renault Duster 1261.

Volkswagen's general manager group communications Matt Gennrich said: "We manufacture both the hatch and the sedan Polo Vivo derivatives in Uitenhage as well as the Polo hatch. However, we import the Polo Sedan from India which are reflected in the numbers supplied by De Vantier. The biggest passenger market segment in SA is the A00 and A0 segment where we sell Polo Vivo and Polo. Our competitors in this large segment import the likes of the Etios, Figo and Brio hence the high number of imports from India.

De Vanier said the motor industry had shown a strong comeback after the automotive strike last year, but that the general slowdown of the economy would result in tough trading conditions ahead.

He forecast marginal GDP growth of 2.1% for the year. - Bobby Cheetham