Electric vehicles and BMW are gaining popularity in South Africa, auto industry report reveals


Ssearch for electric vehicles (VE) jumped 110% to reach half a million in 2021. BMW received eight million additional consumer ad views last year. And more than 637 million online vehicle searches were made last year. These are just some of the trends emerging in recent years. AutoTrader Automotive Industry Report.

The study – which covers the period from January to December 2021 – is titled #SwitchedOn.

“After a difficult 2020, which saw the car market come to a virtual standstill, 2021 was a year that forced us to evolve and find products and services that responded to the changes car buyers were experiencing. So 2022 is a year to “activate” new ways of thinking and operating in the local automotive landscape”, explains the CEO of AutoTrader. George Mienie.

It was a year that not only saw new ways of thinking; it has also seen increased activity in the market.

“In 2021, over 637 million total searches were performed on AutoTrader, a record, representing a 28% year-over-year growth. This translates to over 20 consumer searches per second Miénie reveals: In 2021, an average of 76 million pages were opened each month.

Although the report reveals that consumers are searching for more brands than ever before, they continue to be brand loyal. The five most searched brands – BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Ben, Toyota and Audi – remained the same in 2021, only changing rank. BMW was once again the brand with the most consumer ad views.

However, the brand’s popularity skyrocketed last year. It received an incredible 43.9 million views – just under 8 million more than the same time a year ago.

Electric vehicles
Brands that received the highest search volumes in calendar year 2021

Another significant change from 2020 can be seen when looking at the most searched variants (AutoTrader was first to market with the introduction of accurate variant searches in May 2009). The Volkswagen Golf GTI has always been the most viewed variant and remains the most searched variant in 2021 with over 3.2 million searches. But, at the beginning of 2021, for a short time, that changed to the Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6 (the GTI ranked second). The most searched model last year (4.3% of all searches) was also the Toyota Hilux (it accounted for 22.8 million searches).

Variants that received the highest search volumes in calendar year 2021

Another significant change from 2020 was the increase in searches for electric vehicles. In total, more than 540,000 searches for electric vehicles were made in 2021, indicating a year-over-year increase of more than 110%. As more and more electric vehicles are introduced to the market, AutoTrader saw an increase of more than 900% in searches for the Porsche Taycan last year, while I-Pace searches increased by 62%.

Electric cars that received the highest search volumes in calendar year 2021

Searches specific to body types increased dramatically last year – by 27% to more than 102 million. This indicates that consumers are more likely to search for a preferred body type and this is also influenced by the fact that more brands have released different shapes of the “same” model. For example, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3 are both available in hatchback or sedan versions, while the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux are available in regular, extended and double cabs.

Body type models that received the highest search volumes in calendar year 2021

Finally, consumer ad views also increased significantly last year – by 30% compared to 2020. In total, more than 298 million consumer ad views were opened. “Consumer ad views remain one of the top KPIs for car dealerships, as they are definitive precursors to an actual (lead) survey of the car. But the process needs to be fast; studies international reviews of the automotive digital retail market have found that car sellers have approximately 15 seconds to capture a car shopper’s attention on a Consumer Advert View,” said Mienie.

“Understanding and capitalizing on this is key to the all-important shift of dealerships to digital businesses. With all the learnings and innovations that have sprung up in response to consumers’ changing car buying behavior and barriers macroeconomics in 2020 and 2021, I firmly believe that 2022 will be the year we fire up all the engines, get back to a state of normality and see a real resurgence in the South African automotive industry,” he concludes. .