The top three countries South Africa imports its cars from
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The top three countries South Africa imports its cars from

According to naamsa | The Automotive Business Council, 59.3% of the country’s total light new-vehicle sales last year were imported cars. Out of the 498 880 units sold, 295 817 units were shipped to South Africa from 24 countries.


Passenger vehicle imports made up 76.9% of total car sales in 2023, while light-commercial vehicle (LCV) imports constituted 18.8%. The following countries sent over the majority of South Africa’s imported vehicles last year…

  1. India

According to recent figures from Naamsa, India topped the list in terms of volume. The country shipped over 157 326 units, which accounted for 53.2% of the total light vehicles imported.

This number marks a slight increase from the previous year’s 51.2%.

India’s dominance can be attributed to several global brands producing budget-friendly vehicles in the country.

This includes popular models like the Suzuki Swift, Toyota Starlet, Hyundai Grand i10, and Nissan Magnite. These were all among South Africa’s top-selling passenger vehicles last year.

  1. China

China secured the second position, contributing 39 308 units or 13.3% of all light-vehicle imports.

Models like the Chery Tiggo Pro and Haval Jolion were the highest-sold passenger vehicles. The GWM P-Series meanwhile was the biggest driver of volume in the LCV space.

  1. Japan

The top three imports have come from countries on the Asian continent, and in third place is Japan with 21 507 units sold in 2023.

Japanese automakers like Toyota, Suzuki, and Nissan typically hold a significant portion of the total car registrations and sales in South Africa.


Germany supplied 21 017 units last year, claiming the fourth spot, with South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, and France rounding out the top 10.

Notably, the United Kingdom climbed three spots from the previous year, showcasing a rise in its export numbers to South Africa.

While 59.3% of the country’s total light new-vehicle sales in 2023 were imported cars, it is down on the 64.8% share achieved in 2022.