BMW 3 Series
BMW 3 Series
  • Government bought 80 imported BMW 3 Series cars in July. 
  • In total, the state must have spent almost R52 million, given that the minimum retail price is just below R650,000. 
  • The price is pushing the upper limit of how much municipalities are allowed to spend per vehicle.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA

Of the 204 passenger vehicles Government bought in July, almost a third of them were BMW 3 Series vehicles, a purchase that would cost almost R52 million if you bought them at their minimum retail price of just under R650,000. 

This is according to sales numbers published by The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the official body representing new vehicle manufacturers.

For the first time, the sale numbers reflected individual car models, breaking down which car types the government is purchasing. July 2019 saw 1,014 new vehicles being sold to the South African government, a total of about R230 million if you use the base entry price of the vehicles. Of them 248 were passenger vehicles, 600 bakkies and 97 vans.

Read: More than R230-million was spent on government cars

Alongside the R52 million spent on BMW 3 Series, government bought a much more modest 92 Polo sedans, estimated to cost almost R20 million, and 22 Ford Figos, valued at R4.1 million.

Both the 3 Series and the Polo sedan are no longer built in South Africa, and are imported.

Read: No 'R1-million SUVs' but 80 luxury BMWs in one month: These are the cars the SA government is buying

The R649,000 price tag falls just short of government's new Municipal Cost Containment Regulations 2019, which came into effect on July 1 and is regulated by National Treasury. According to the new austerity measures,  municipal car purchases will be limited to R700,000.  Vehicles must do at least 120,000km before being replaced.

Read More: No more credit cards or free lunches: new rules for municipalities limit cars, consultants, and fancy chairs

Unless they can get a car cheaper, municipalities must buy one via a national government deal for cars, and then only after making sure it wouldn't be cheaper to rent a car – and only after the council has been informed of the extent of service-delivery backlogs.

National Treasury declined Business Insiders'  request for comment regarding which departments made the purchase, or if the vehicles were bought on bulk deal discounts for a cheaper price, or who would be driving them. 

The R52 million purchase makes it the second highest purchase of all vehicles bought for the month. The price tag of the 3 Series comes at almost twice the basic cost of other passenger based vehicles bought by the government. Spattering’s of other vehicles were purchased like 6 Audi A3s and one electric vehicle - a BMW i3.


Governments’ biggest July spend for vehicles:

  • R65,1 million on 312 NISSAN NP300 HARDBODY basic price R210,600 (built in SA)
  • R52 million on 80 BMW 3 Series basic price R649,000 (not built in SA)
  • R35,8 million on 140 Isuzu D-MAX basic price R256,100 (built in SA)
  • R22.3 million on 77 Ford Rangers basic R290,000 (built in SA)
  • R20 million 92 Volkswagen Polo Sedans basic price R216,300 (not built in SA)

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