Global Update

South African Enthusiasts Serious About Off-Roading—Here's How To Reach Them

SEMA has a new list of distributors/importers available for members online at The list was compiled from a number of sources, including a recent survey conducted for SEMA by the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. Here are some facts and figures on the South African market:

  • Among the most popular cars to accessorize: BMW 3 Series, Honda Civic, Nissan 350Z and VW Golf. For light trucks, the list includes the Land Rover Defender, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan 1400 Pickup and Navara and Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser (Prado, 70 and 200 Series).
  • Cars per 1,000 people = 148 (compared to 765 in the United States)
  • South Africans seek functional off-road accessories rather than those merely for show, given the serious off-roading excursions undertaken by many enthusiasts. Among the top-selling products for SUVs are protective and stylized aftermarket products, such as bull bars; recovery products, such as winches; performance products, such as engine enhancements; and traction products, such as specialty off-road tires and suspension.
  • German and Japanese models have a larger share of the markets than American brands. Information on monthly car sales are available at
  • In a recent press release, Toyota announced that for the first 11 months of 2008, the Hilux was the overall top-selling vehicle in South Africa with cumulative sales of 25 206 units, 485 sales ahead of the top-selling passenger vehicle. In the 1-ton segment, the Hilux accounts for 37% of sales.
  • Among the top enthusiast magazines in South Africa: SA4x4; Top Car South Africa; Speed & Sound; Torque; Leisure Wheels. A list of South African media is available online at
  • Growing Middle Class: The middle class in South Africa, especially the black middle class, has been a driving force in the growth of the specialty-equipment market. 
  • New trade show: Automechanika South Africa will be held for the first time this March in Johannesburg. More information is available at