Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) is proud to have won three categories in the 2021 South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) Car of the Year competition. In the Budget classification, Starlet came out tops, with the legendary Land Cruiser Prado scoring the number-one spot in the Adventure SUV category while SA’s favourite bakkie – Hilux – won Double Cab of the year. The latter also claimed second place overall, beating 21 other finalists across the nine categories.

The competition was open to vehicles that were launched in South Africa between November 2019 and April 2021. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, it was also the first time that the scoring was done completely electronically (there were no official test days in which all the finalists could be evaluated at the same facility by the jurors). The scoring was based on the jurors’ experiences testing the vehicles throughout the year.

“The 2021 SA Car of the Year had its unique challenges. For the first time in the competition’s history, we did not host our scheduled two-day juror evaluation event,” says the SAGMJ.

“Thankfully, we had the foresight to create an ongoing online scoring system available to all SAGMJ members in 2019 based on criteria that closely mirrored COTY’s voting criteria. The scoring system was initially created to build up a database of vehicles tested, their strengths, weaknesses and to be able to compare them to category contenders,” says the SAGMJ.

Toyota’s category winners – Prado, Starlet and Hilux – have all been performing remarkably well on the local sales charts. The Prado has been averaging around 90 units a month while the Starlet and Hilux have cumulatively sold more than 6 000 and 25 000 units respectively since the beginning of the year.

According to Leon Theron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at TSAM: “We are truly grateful for the recognition received from the local media. The fact that we have won three categories with vastly different models is testament to our diverse offering – providing our customers with as many options as possible.”