Johannesburg - Sales of motor vehicles surprised on the positive last month by showing a 7.5%.
Figures compiled by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) were released by the department of trade and industry (DTI) on Monday.
Naamsa said in a statement: "Aggregate industry sales of 53 997 units for May reflected an increase of 7.5% or 3 750 vehicles from the 50 247 units sold in May last year.”
The figures indicated that 9% of sales were to corporate fleets‚ the rental industry and the government‚ suggesting that fleet managers were potentially moving to avoid price rises associated with inflation and the plunging value of the rand.
Naamsa described the outlook for the rest of the year as “less promising”.
“Domestically‚ expectations of lower GDP growth and above-inflation new vehicle price increases – as a result of the sharply weaker exchange rate and the April increase in carbon dioxide vehicle emission taxes on new cars and certain categories of new light commercials – will contribute to a more difficult trading environment‚” Naamsa said.
Standard Bank's head of asset finance Sydney Soundy said in a release that inflation would soon hit the industry.
“The exchange rate will impact the vehicle market through vehicle price inflation and indirectly through the fuel price fluctuations‚” he said.
“The rand’s weakness will also transfer onto both vehicle prices and energy costs (in particularly fuel prices).
"Fuel prices have risen by 7.8% in petrol (inland) and 11% in diesel (inland) since Jan 2012.
"The price of fuel in the country has gone up by 210.5% and 354% in petrol and diesel since 2001‚” Soundy said.
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