New car sales expected to rise after hitting six-year lows

2010-01-08 15:23

New vehicle sales in 2009 were at their lowest in six years, Toyota

SA said today.

It was commenting on the release earlier of new vehicle sales data

by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa).

The association said that total vehicle sales dropped sharply from

533?387 units in 2008 to 395?230 units in 2009 – a decrease of 25,9%.

“The last time the South African motor industry experienced this

level of trade was in 2003 when 381?456 vehicles were sold,” said Johan van Zyl,

the president and chief executive officer of Toyota SA.

“Going into the fourth quarter of 2009, we suggested that the

industry could break through the 400?000 mark for the year. That forecast came

within a slim margin of being realised and we believe that 400?000 was the real

potential of the market for the year and was impeded only by distortions in

reporting typically seen in December and January,” Van Zyl said.

Looking ahead, he saw potential for slow growth in the industry

through 2010 off a relatively low base.

“We will be looking for an improvement in sales of at least 5% if

we fully realise the bonanza offered by the excitement generated by the Soccer

World Cup.”

His volume forecast going into the new year was 415?000.

“While South Africa certainly felt the impact of the global

recession, prudent fiscal management in previous years provided a degree of

insulation that saw us somewhat better off than a number of more developed

countries,” Van Zyl said.

“While this may have lessened the impact on domestic sales, it

could not protect the motor industry from the sharp drop-off in export sales as

global demand for vehicles collapsed.”

Van Zyl said there had been aggressive economic support packages

provided by some countries, including the various “cash for clunker”

programmes.

“This, together with the first signs of emergence from recession in

developed countries, provided welcome relief for our export market during the

fourth quarter.”

He said there was a significant increase in export sales in October

when the monthly average of export deliveries rose by 50%.

“This improved further in November, but the drop-off in demand

experienced through to September saw export sales for the year lag by 38% with

174?952 vehicles exported for the year.”

Van Zyl said that during December the sector saw sales of medium,

heavy and extra heavy vehicles sustain the momentum first evidenced in

September.

“This is encouraging as it reflects a higher level of activity in

the commercial and construction industries that will impact positively on

confidence levels going into 2010.”

The best performer in Toyota’s product line in 2009 had been the

Hilux, Van Zyl said.


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