The Ford Figo, Toyota Etios and VW Polo models are new additions in the South African market, and they have been immensely useful to duck the European financial crisis for South African manufacturers, who have close trade relations with the Old Continent.
These three models have been consistently featuring in the top 5 positions this year.
The favorite part of this success story for Indian Autos Blog is two of the three cars are fully manufactured in India, while the Vento is also exported to South Africa from India as the Polo sedan. The Etios and Figo, with high levels of Indian content, are made by Indians and shipped from the Chennai port.
Exports of the Toyota Etios began to South Africa in April this year and Toyota SA officials speaking to Indian Autos Blog at the export commencement ceremony said they would order 20,000 cars a year from India. For the South African market, the Liva tag is dropped while cars get new tires, suspension setup and ECU revisions.
The Etios is the cheapest Toyota in South Africa, but is the brand's third hatchback in the country. It is aimed at the first time car buyer who is seeking out a spacious car and the elderly, treating themselves to a retirement gift.
The Ford Figo's overseas assignments began in mid-2010 with South Africa, and since then South Africa has turned into one of the most important export destinations. During a recent interaction with IAB, Ford India's Michael Boneham said South Africa and Mexico are its top export markets (in sales volume).
Let's not forget that these export markets are also an important reason for Ford to continue producing petrol engines as demand has skewed in favor of diesels in India.
Ford has an ambition of selling the India-made Figo in 50 global markets and presently has over 35 of them covered.