Cape Town - Sales of new vehicles in all segments in August registered encouraging gains on the corresponding month last year, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Friday.
Aggregate industry domestic sales improved by 5 144 units or 11.1% to reach 51 436 vehicles from 46 292 in August last year, it said in a statement.
Total year-to-date domestic sales remained 14.5% ahead of the corresponding eight months in 2010.
August 2011 export sales at 24 835 vehicles registered an improvement of 5 230 units or 26.7%, compared to the strike-affected total of 19 605 in August last year.
Overall, out of total reported sales of 51 436 vehicles 78.8% or 40 534 units represented dealer sales, 15.2% sales to the car rental industry, 3% sales to government, and 3% corporate fleet sales.
Total new car sales during August at 36 197 units reflected an improvement of 2 672 new cars, or an increase of 8% compared to the 33 525 new cars sold during August 2010.
The latest sales figures reflected a further decline in the growth momentum in the new car sales cycle, and the year-on-year increase represented the lowest monthly improvement in the past 19 months, Naamsa said.
The August new car market again received support from strong demand by car rental companies, with the car rental industry accounting for 20% of total car sales.
New car sales had also been helped by one additional sales day compared to the corresponding month last year.
Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies, and minibuses exceeded expectations, and the 12 933 units during August reflected an increase of 2 140 units, or a gain of 19.8% compared to the 10 793 units sold in the corresponding month last year.
For the first eight months of 2011, new light commercial vehicle sales were ahead by 7.5% compared to the corresponding period last year.
Exports of South African-produced motor vehicles during August 2011, at 24 835 units, reflected an increase of 5230 vehicles or 26.7% compared to the low base of 19 605 units exported during August last year, when industry production for exports was negatively affected by a strike.
Naamsa said the domestic macro environment was likely to become less supportive. Recent low numbers in the purchasing managers' index suggested a slower pace of expansion over the medium term.
Modest growth in private sector credit extension and in money supply, sharply higher administered price increases, including electricity and fuel costs, would pressurise consumer disposable income and demand for durable goods.
As a result, new vehicle sales over the balance of the year were expected to continue to show growth, but at a lower rate.
Expectations of slower global growth, particularly in developed economies, could affect industry export sales over the medium term.