Money Advice

The Best Cars Made in South Africa

Published by
Lethabo Ntsoane

Motor vehicle culture began in 1896 when a Benz Velo was first imported into South Africa and was later presented to the then president Paul Kruger. South Africa never looked back as motor vehicles began to flood the country.

The first vehicle plants were seen in the 1920s, with Henry Ford opening a plant in Port Elizabeth. Many car manufacturers began flocking to South Africa to manufacture motor vehicles at that time.

Global automakers now have a presence in South Africa. The following car manufacturers have a presence in South Africa, and their market share is also detailed in the table:

NumberCar MakerMarket Share
1Toyota SA motors23.7%
2Volkswagen Group SA16.7%
3Ford Motor Company 9.3%
4Hyundai Automotive7.3%
7Suzuki Auto SA 4.4%
8Isuzu Auto SA4.1%
9Mercedes Benz SA3.9%
10KIA South Africa3.2%

Toyota dominates the South African vehicle manufacturing market. Volkswagen is South Africa’s second-largest automobile manufacturer, with the second-largest market share.

Export of South African manufactured Vehicles

Some of the cars manufactured locally are exported to the rest of the world. South Africa’s most exported motor vehicles are Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, and Isuzu. The South African vehicle export market is worth well over R130 billion annually and contributes significantly to the country’s GDP.

In 2021, 63.1% of all locally produced vehicles were exported. South African motor vehicles were exported in ten different variants.

Here are the countries South Africa export motor vehicles to:

NumberCountryNumber of Units Exported
1United Kingdom 60,260
8Australia 9,678
9Hungary 7,793

South Africans love locally manufactured vehicles because there is a high demand for South African-made vehicles. South Africans buy 36% of all vehicles manufactured in the country.

The best South African cars are listed below.

List of best cars made in South Africa

1. Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux is South Africa’s best-selling vehicle, with over 3,000 units sold each month. Toyota Hilux is the best-selling vehicle in the Toyota lineup and has been for many years, accounting for 23% of the company’s monthly sales in South Africa.

Toyota Hilux has been produced in South Africa since 1970, with the vehicle being produced at the Toyota plant in KwaZulu-Natal. The brand offers a wide range of bakkies starting at R314,000.00.

Toyota Hilux is known for its high-quality brand, so much so that even the car’s 1980s models are still being driven by a number of people. The vehicle is very popular among both young and old people, making it the best car to buy in South Africa. 

2. Ford Ranger

Since its initial appearance in South Africa in 1968, the Ford Ranger has been a huge success. The Ford Ranger has undergone numerous redesigns in recent years, with the introduction of new model variants.

The Ford Ranger 2023 has a lot of fans and is expected to break a lot of sales records. Currently, Ford sells over 1,800 Ford Ranger units per month, making it one of the best-selling vehicles in South Africa.

The Ford Ranger single cab base bakkie starts at R268,900.00. To accommodate different buyers, Ford offers single, super, and double cab variants. 

3. Polo Vivo

The Polo Vivo is one of South Africa’s most popular passenger vehicles. As of 2022, VW has produced over 100,000 Polo Vivo units since its introduction in 2010. Even today, the Polo Vivo sells well over 1,500 units per month.

The Polo Vivo is manufactured exclusively for the South African market in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape province. Since its introduction, the Polo Vivo has received some upgrades and has managed to pique the interest of car buyers of various generations.

The Polo Vivo starts at R243,600.00 without any upgrades. The GT version of the car can cost up to R327,900.00.

4. Toyota Corolla Cross

The Toyota Corolla Cross is built for the South African market at the KZN prospection plant. The vehicle is expected to be one of the best-selling vehicles in South Africa in 2022. It currently sells over 2,000 units per month on average.

The vehicle has been long anticipated in South Africa and only arrived in 2021. Toyota Cross is regarded as an affordable car by the majority of South Africans due to its price range.

Toyota Corolla Cross prices start at R360,400.00, with the most expensive model costing R461,700.00. Toyota Corolla Cross comes in five different models.

5. Isuzu D – Max

The Isuzu D-Max is built in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The bakkie is produced in South Africa, Thailand, and India for distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa. D – Max has found success in South Africa, where it competes directly with the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.

The Isuzu D-Max single cab bakkie costs R411,800.00, while the double cab costs R511,400.00 to R835,100.00. Supercab bakkies are also available in the Isuzu D-Max range, with prices ranging from R444,500.00 to R687,100.00.

The Isuzu D-Max is one of South Africa’s best-selling vehicles. The D-Max expects to sell over 1,700 vehicles per month on average.


South Africa has a rich car manufacturing culture that dates back nearly 100 years. South African manufacturers have been able to provide motor vehicles that are in demand in South Africa and abroad, despite the fact that trends change from time to time. South African car manufacturers’ ability to export cars made in the country, has significantly contributed to GDP.

Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted at

Published by
Lethabo Ntsoane

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