Which vehicle is South Africa's most popular? And how do owners of vehicles rate the models they've purchased? South Africa's motoring public has spoken...
German motor manufacturers dominated this year's Standard Bank People's Wheels Awards, filling the majority of top slots in the annual, nationwide poll.
Initiated by Johannesburg-based publishers The Future Group in association with Standard Bank Vehicle and Asset Finance and research house TNS South Africa, the poll — which uncovers by vote the country's most popular vehicles in 32 categories — was underpinned by an independent, objective vehicle ownership survey designed to gauge satisfaction ratings across automotive brands. For the second year running, German manufacturers headed the rankings.
In the People's Wheels vote, Volkswagen's derivatives took wins in five categories, while models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz each won four classes. They were followed by Toyota with three wins and Range Rover with two. Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Ferrari, GWM, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Lamborghini, Nissan and Porsche took one win each.
The car that scored the most votes overall in the poll — which was conducted through the internet in August and September — was Tata-owned British brand Range Rover's newly introduced Evoque, which scored 1.16 percent of the nearly 12 000 votes cast. In terms of overall popularity, it was followed to the podium by last year's winner, Kia's Picanto, and Aston Martin's Rapide.
"In theory, choosing a People's Wheels Awards winner could be a matter of examining sales trends, seeing which make and model outsold others, and then placing the crown on its bonnet," says Keith Watson, Head of Sales for Vehicle and Asset Finance at Standard Bank South Africa, the awards sponsor. "With these awards however, the process of judging was handed over to South African motorists, making the outcome more interesting and experiential, as well as popularity-based.
"The people's choice announced today reveals that South African motorists value contemporary vehicle styling and versatility above other criteria when it comes to their favourite vehicle.
"We congratulate Range Rover's Evoque on being named overall People's Wheels Award winner this year, as well as the other winners named in each of the categories," says Watson.
In the Ownership Survey — which aimed to uncover satisfaction rankings in overall terms and on 13 specific aspects — BMW and Mercedes-Benz tied for first place, coming up trumps ahead of Audi. Chevrolet, Opel and Volkswagen followed.
Taking the form of a survey which received 495 valid responses, the analysis rated satisfaction levels among owners with regard to their vehicles' looks and styling, interior comfort, noise and vibration levels, build quality, standard features, cargo capacity, driving experience, performance, economy, reliability, safety features, after sales service and ownership costs.
The study was restricted to vehicle brands which each elicited at least 20 responses, making the results indicative rather than definitive.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz tied at the top with an overall rating of 89 percent each. Audi followed with 88 percent. Then came Chevrolet and Opel with 85 percent, and Volkswagen with 84 percent
The People's Wheels Awards included other acknowledgements, too. Cars bought new in 2010 that best retained their value — based on data supplied by Transunion Auto, which determines its trade values on actual vehicle sales reported each month from the country's dealer market — were headed by Mercedes-Benz's E300 Estate Avant Garde. BMW's X5 xDrive 30d and Toyota's Land Cruiser 200 V8 TD VX followed.
The people's most popular fuel brand, too, was recognised, Engen obtaining the most votes according to responses received through the Ownership Survey, with BP and Shell in joint second place. Similarly, the most popular tyre replacement brand as voted for by the people was Continental, followed by Bridgestone and Goodyear.
CATEGORY 1: BUDGET BUYS
1. KIA Picanto - 33.71%
2. HYUNDAI i10 - 26.57%
3. CHEVROLET Spark Lite - 14.86%
CATEGORY 2: URBAN COMMUTERS
1. VOLKSWAGEN Polo Vivo - 32.29%
2. KIA Rio - 14.86%
3. CHEVROLET Spark - 13.14%
CATEGORY 3: COMPACT HATCHES/SEDANS
1. VOLKSWAGEN Polo - 24.15%
2. FORD Fiesta - 12.50%
3. OPEL Corsa - 9.66%
CATEGORY 4: CONTEMPORARY HATCHBACKS
1. AUDI A1 Sportback - 21.37%
2. HYUNDAI i30 - 17.95%
3. MERCEDES-BENZ B-Class - 15.95%
CATEGORY 5: BOOTS 'N ALL
1. CHEVROLET Cruze - 20.00%
2. VOLKSWAGEN Jetta - 19.43%
3. HYUNDAI Elantra - 16.00%
CATEGORY 6: MID-SIZE HATCHES/SEDANS
1. AUDI A3 - 20.86%
2. VOLKSWAGEN Golf - 18.00%
3. BMW 1-Series - 14.86%
CATEGORY 7: PREMIUM CLASS SEDANS
1. BMW 3-Series - 22.29%
2. AUDI A4 - 18.57%
3. MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class - 18.00%
CATEGORY 8: CARS FOR THE JUNIOR EXECUTIVE
1. BMW 5-Series - 22.41%
2. AUDI A5 Sportback - 16.67%
3. JAGUAR XF - 13.22%
CATEGORY 9: CARS FOR THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE
1. JAGUAR XJ - 16.00%
2. PORSCHE Panamera - 15.43%
3. BMW 6-Series Gran Coupé - 14.29%
CATEGORY 10: LUXURY AND POWER
1. ASTON MARTIN Rapide - 33.24%
2. MERCEDES-BENZ S63 AMG - 31.81%
3. BENTLEY Continental Flying Spur - 13.18%
On page two: Cabriolets, convertibles, coupes, hot hatches and more!