Cape Town - The number of people employed in the new vehicle manufacturing industry has declined in the past three months, The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.
Its latest quarterly business review showed a 1.3% decrease in staff between March and June this year, from 30 299 people to 29 903.
Naamsa report stated that employment levels were expected to stabilise.
They could rise in the medium-term, as manufacturers increased production for export markets.
The average industry employment figure for 2012 was 29 180 people.
Industry capital expenditure was projected to exceed R5bn by the end of the year, compared to around R4.6bn in 2012 and R3.9bn in 2011.
According to the review, the increased capital expenditure in recent years could be attributed in part to investment projects in terms of the automotive production and development programme.
Industry production, particularly of light commercial vehicles, was expected to rise significantly in the next few years on the back of the programme.
All vehicle sectors showed solid gains in sales during the second quarter of 2013 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2012.
Naamsa said the medium-term outlook for the automotive sector would continue to be affected by the overall performance of the economy, and by new car pricing pressures.
Consumers would also feel the pressure of rising inflation.
"However, various factors should lend support to the industry and these include the continuing low interest rate environment, low debt servicing costs, strong replacement demand, the highly competitive trading environment with attractive incentives, and high-tech new model introductions," it said.
Growth in domestic sales was expected to moderate over the balance of the year.
Export sales to Europe were holding up despite a recession in the Eurozone.
Naamsa said exports into Africa continued to show solid growth, while exports into Asia and North America also registered strong gains.