New vehicle sales show modest growth

2012-10-02 12:20

Johannesburg - Total new vehicle sales grew at a modest pace last month compared with the same period a year ago‚ according to the latest National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) data.

New car sales rose 1.4% in September to 55 097‚ from 54 357 a year earlier.

The association attributed the slower growth in domestic sales to‚ in part‚ the higher base effect established last year when more units were sold in September.

The tragic events at Marikana together with the current high level of industrial action in an increasing number of sectors in the economy had dented business confidence in SA‚ Naamsa said‚ adding that consumers similarly would have been affected and concerns about the macro socio- economic environment in the country was likely to have resulted in a deferral of purchasing decisions.

Total domestic sales in the nine months to date remained 10% ahead of the corresponding period last year‚ the data showed.

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

New passenger car sales lifted 4.4% to 39 496 units‚ from 37 829 units a year ago‚ supported by strong demand on the part of car rental companies with the industry accounting for 18.6% of total sales. The year-to-date new car sales remained 11.5% ahead of the corresponding nine months of 2011.

Including estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment - sales of new light commercial vehicles‚ bakkies and mini buses declined 5.2% to 13 279 from 14 004 a year ago due to a fall in general business confidence.

Sales of medium commercial vehicles dropped 8.6% to 779 units‚ while heavy trucks and buses dropped 7.7% to 1 543 units compared with the same time last year.

Exports of South African-produced motor vehicles - including MBSA export sales data - lifted 2.7% to 26 638 compared with 25 935 vehicles in September last year.

Naamsa said despite prospects of a lower domestic economic growth environment‚ there were a number of factors that would continue to support domestic sales. These included historically low interest rates‚ ongoing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms and higher demand for credit by households and businesses. The recent 0.5% reduction in interest rates would also support sales of consumer durable products‚ particularly new motor vehicles.

*Follow Fin24 on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and Pinterest.