Johannesburg - New vehicle sales rose 14.1% in January to 55 007 units from 48 202 units in the same period a year ago‚ according to the latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) data.
The new passenger car market improved by 12.3% to 39 738 units‚ supported by strong demand from the car rental industry‚ which accounted for 22.5% of the total sales.
Recent rand weakness would have contributed to pre-emptive buying by consumers to avoid higher expected new vehicle prices‚ the association said.
Including estimates for Mercedes-Benz (MBSA) commercial vehicle sales by segment - sales of new light commercial vehicles‚ bakkies and mini buses leapt 20% to 13 346 from 11 120 a year ago.
Sales of medium commercial vehicles rose 10.6% to 700 units‚ while heavy trucks and buses were up 15.5% to 1 223 units compared with the same time last year.
Exports of South African-produced motor vehicles lifted 49.9% to 17 399 compared with 11 605 vehicles in January last year. Naamsa said the momentum of vehicle exports was expected to improve further over the balance of the year and particularly exports of light commercial vehicles.
“Despite indications of slower growth in the economy‚ the performance of the South African automotive sector continued to surprise on the upside. The overall near term outlook for the automotive sector remained reasonably positive‚” it said.
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