Despite its robust vehicle-manufacturing (and export) industry, South Africa imports more than half of the new cars sold here each year. So, which were the 10 top countries of origin in 2019?

Well, thanks to fresh figures from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), we now know. Of course, 2020 may well turn out to be a completely different picture thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, some background. In 2019, some 290 624 new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were imported into South Africa, from 25 countries. Imports of light vehicles declined by 1 573 units or 0,5 percent compared with 2018, but increased to 57,1 percent of the total light vehicle sales in 2019.

In pure volume terms, the top country of origin for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles imported into South Africa in 2019 was India, with a whopping 106 199 vehicles. India thus accounted for 36,5 percent of the total light vehicles brought into the country during the year. The majority of these vehicles were small, budget vehicles (vehicles such as the Renault Kwid, Hyundai Grand i10, Datsun Go, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Etios, Ford Figo and Honda Amaze, to name but a few).

Germany (36 759), Japan (34 351) and South Korea (26 828) were next, followed by Spain, China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Romania. In import rand value terms, meanwhile, Germany was the main country of origin in 2019, with various premium models in the Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen ranges coming from that country.

Check out the table below (which also includes figures from the four previous years for the sake of comparison), courtesy of Naamsa.