Growth in vehicle sales slows

2012-12-05 00:00

GROWTH in sales of new vehicles will remain positive in the medium term, despite headwinds such as lower economic growth and higher vehicle prices in 2013.

This is the view of analysts and economists following the release of the latest new vehicle sales figures by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

Naamsa said yesterday that aggregate industry domestic sales grew by 3 636 units, or 7,3%, to 53 134 last month, compared with 49 498 units in November 2011.

Year to date, new vehicle sales growth came in at 9,8% year on year as at November 2012. This is in contrast to growth in sales of more than 15% attained in 2011.

Despite the uncertain outlook for the global economy, the industry recorded export sales of 28 541 vehicles last month — a year-on-year increase of 39,5%.

However, Naamsa warned that the industry should expect sales growth of between six and eight percent in 2013.

Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego said that replacement demand — delayed by the recession of 2009 — was now losing steam.

Matshego and Chris de Kock, executive head of sales at WesBank, said attractive deals and low interest rates had kept sales buoyant in 2012.

De Kock said vehicle prices would continue to increase in the wake of the recent weakening of the rand. “The low vehicle inflation environment over the last three years is coming to an end and prices have already started to increase….”

Standard Bank economist Shireen Darmalingam said the industry’s contribution toward the economy should not be underestimated. “The automotive sector contributes about 7,5% to GDP and employs around 36 000 people.”

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