These are the most sold cars under R50k


Life in South Africa as we used to know it has changed dramatically under lockdown. So too have car buying patterns. For instance, searches for second-hand cars under R50 000 increased by almost 300% versus normal pre-lockdown levels during lockdown level 5. And the specific vehicle bought reveal some very interesting trends.

The statistics are based on an analysis of vehicles sold on AutoTrader from 1 May to 7 June 2020. 

The number one choice of car in the sub-R50 000 category is the iconic Volkswagen Citi Golf. A uniquely South African success story, the Citi made its first appearance on South African roads in 1984, six years after Golf 1 was introduced in this country. Volkswagen of South Africa launched the Citi as its affordable car to compete in the entry-level segment following the introduction of a bigger and more expensive Golf 2 – the “Jumbo” Golf, as it became affectionately known. “South Africans fell in love with the affordable and cheerful Citi; over the next 25 years, Volkswagen sold over 370 000 of these cars. It is interesting to see that the love affair of South Africans with the Citi endures to this day,” comments George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO.

“The popularity of the Citi Golf is also testament to the power of the Volkswagen brand. It’s a brand that motorists buy with confidence, because they trust it,” he notes.

Back in November 2009, the price of the very last Citi model – the limited-edition Citi Mk1 – was R113 500. Lockdown shoppers have been paying a fraction of that: R37 691 on average (for vehicles with an average registration year of 2004 and an average mileage of 192 180 km).

Mienie notes that it’s also interesting to see that there are some great deals available on luxury German cars. “Buyers obviously need to be willing to accept average mileages of around 250 000 km – but, at an average price of R37 229 for a BMW 3 Series and R36 615 for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class – there are clearly some good deals to be had,” he comments.

While the consumer emphasis has very much been on the sub-R50 000 sector, Mienie reveals that searches in this price category are petering off. “We are seeing a return to pre-lockdown activity, where searches for cars R100k and less, or R200k and less, are becoming more popular again. Sub-R50 000 searches decreased by 40% while R100k searches increased by 22% and R200K searches increased by a whopping 51%,” he reports.

According to Mienie, the return to R100k and R200k searches is likely due to industries opening up, people going back to work under Lockdown level 3, but also, is more than likely, an acceleration in the swing from new cars to used cars by consumers still under financial pressure. 

Most sold cars under R50,000* 

Rank    Make Model    AVG Selling Price    AVG Mileage    AVG Registration Year

1    Volkswagen Citi    37,691    192,180    2004

2    BMW 3 Series    37,229    245,706    2003

3    Opel Corsa    35,327    179,607    2002

4    Opel Corsa Lite    35,380    146,280    2006

5    Volkswagen Polo    43,357    240,857    2004

6    Ford Fiesta    33,831    215,154    2004

7    Mercedes-Benz C-Class  36,615    260,550    2000

8    Atos Prime    38,750    148,917    2006

9   Chery QQ3    38,150      66,091    2013

10   Renault Scenic    35,245    173,336    2005

*Source: AutoTrader, 1 May to 7 June 2020

As the country’s largest motoring marketplace, car searches and sales via AutoTrader have long been regarded as an accurate barometer of consumer buying patterns. is an award-winning Digital Media, Marketing, and Advertising Company est. 2015, is a Member of the Independent Media Association of South Africa (IMASA), and Brand South Africa's Play Your Part Ambassadors, with a global reach of over 10 million

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