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New car sales pick up speed

Jul 03 2012 11:19 Reuters

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Johannesburg - June vehicle sales showed solid growth once again, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

"June new vehicle sales reflected another relatively solid performance."

Sales in all major segments registered double-digit growth compared to the corresponding month last year.

Domestic sales improved by 7 015 units or 15.6% to reach 51 891 vehicles last month, compared to 44 876 units in June last year.

Total domestic sales for the first half of the calendar year remained 10.5% higher than the corresponding period a year ago.

Export sales registered modest growth, rising by 1 767 units or 7% to 27 061 vehicles.

"The momentum of industry export sales should improve over the balance of the year as various vehicle export programmes are ramped up," said Naamsa.

"Overall, the industry's export performance will remain a function of the direction of the global economy."

Vehicle exports into Europe were likely to continue to be under pressure as a result of the recession.

However, this drop could be offset by higher exports to African countries and Australia.

Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) provides a single total sales number for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and export sales.

Estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment were compiled using historical trends and forecasting techniques.

Total sales excluding MBSA reached 49 108 vehicles. Of these, 42 340 units, or 86.2%, represented dealer sales.

A further 5.9% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.1% to government, and 3.8% to corporate fleets.

"From a seasonal perspective, sales to car rental companies during the next three months should improve as the car rental industry starts to re-fleet," Naamsa said.

Aggregate industry new car sales during the month remained relatively strong, assisted by new model introductions, at 35 918 units including MBSA.

This was an improvement of 4 480 units or 14.3% compared to the 31 438 units sold in the corresponding month last year.

Year-to-date new car sales were 11.8% ahead of the corresponding six months of 2011.

"The daily selling rate during June, 2012 remains at five-year high levels," Naamsa said.

Sales of light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses saw strong growth reaching 13 421 units, with MBSA sales estimates included.

This was a 22.1% increase, or 2 425 units, on the 10 996 light vehicle sales recorded during June last year.

Medium and heavy truck sales also recorded an increase, to 819 units and 1 733 units respectively.

This was an 11.7% or 86 unit increase for medium trucks and a 1.4% or 24 unit rise for heavy trucks, compared to June last year.

"Despite indications of further slowing in the domestic economy, new vehicle sales continue to perform remarkably well," said Naamsa.

Historically low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability and improving demand for credit by both households and businesses should continue to support the domestic market.

In addition, consumers were engaging in pre-emptive buying in response to the weaker exchange rate in recent months.

The highly competitive trading environment and ongoing new model introductions would also support demand.

The industry remained on track for single-digit growth for 2012 in terms of domestic sales, but uncertainty over export sales remained.

naamsa  |  vehicle sales


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