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New car sales skid

Mar 01 2017 22:22

Cape Town - The positive trend in new vehicle sales was maintained during February, characterised by noteworthy gains in light commercial vehicle as well as medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa).

However, the consumer-driven new car market registered a decline.

New vehicle sales statistics for February 2017 were released by the Department of Trade and Industry on Wednesday. The February 2017 new car market - 31 400 units - reflected a decline of 1 454 cars or a fall of 4.4% compared to the 32 854 new cars sold in February last year.

The car rental industry again made a strong contribution and accounted for 19.1% of new car sales in February 2017. Naamsa pointed out that the rental industry’s share was understated, since it excluded BMW SA and Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) car rental sales.

Based on the improvement in key economic indicators, Naamsa continues to anticipate that 2017 aggregate annual domestic sales volumes will improve modestly by about 3.5% in volume terms. Export sales are expected to benefit from the projected improvement in global economic conditions. Naamsa, therefore, continues to anticipate that the momentum in vehicle exports will increase over the medium term.    

The February 2017 aggregate new vehicle sales of 48 113 units is virtually unchanged from the 48 144 vehicles sold in February last year. Similarly, February 2017 export sales were also virtually unchanged from last year and reflect an increase of 65 vehicles - or a gain of 0.2% - compared to the 29 323 vehicles exported in February last year, according to Naamsa.

READ: SA auto industry in for another bumpy year - Naamsa

Of the total reported industry sales of 48 113 vehicles, an estimated 79.3% represented dealer sales, 13.3% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.2% to government and 3.2% to industry corporate fleets.

Light commercial vehicles

Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses - 14 416 units - during February 2017 reflected a significant improvement of 1 277 units or a gain of 9.7% compared to the 13 139 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year, Naamsa pointed out.  

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry also recorded gains and at 705 units and 1 592 units, respectively, reflected an increase of 55 units or 8.5% in the case of medium commercial vehicles and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, an improvement of 91 vehicles or a gain of 6.1% compared to the corresponding month last year.

Naamsa commented that domestically, key indicators such as the latest purchasing managers’ index as well as the SA Reserve Bank’s leading indicator, which has recorded an improvement for five consecutive months, create the possibility of an improvement in SA’s medium-term economic outlook.

In addition, the easing of drought conditions and projected global economic growth of around 3.4%, as well as continuing rand strength - which should benefit new vehicle pricing – represented factors Naamsa believes should contribute positively to new motor vehicle sales over the medium term.

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