Vehicle sales up despite holidays, strike action - Naamsa

Cape Town - Latest vehicle sales and export numbers are in line with general industry expectations, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa) said on Wednesday.

Domestic new vehicle sales in April were 36 346 units - an improvement of 1 260 vehicles (3.6%) compared to April last year.

In April 2018 aggregate export sales were 24 422 vehicles - an improvement of 193 units (0.8%) compared to April last year.  
Naamsa foresees a probable increase of about 350 units in the domestic sales total once the delayed sales report by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles South Africa has been received by around mid-May.

It added that the configuration of public holidays at the end of April 2018, preceded by national industrial strike action, will have impacted domestic sales.

Naamsa expects new vehicle sales to show steady improvement over the medium term, due to further recovery in domestic demand supported by continued moderation in new vehicle price inflation.

Other factors are rising real disposable consumer income; recent improvement in the country’s political and policy environment; lower interest rates; and the maintenance of an investment grade rating with a stable outlook by a major credit ratings agency.  

"As a result of these developments - reinforced by improved business and consumer confidence as well as increases in the SA Reserve Bank leading indicator – economic growth for 2018 could recover to around 2%, and this in turn would benefit domestic new vehicle sales over the balance of the year and an annual improvement of domestic sales volumes of 3% plus compared to 2017 was expected," Naamsa said in a statement.

In its view, robust global growth should benefit new vehicle exports going forward. It expects exports to show substantial upward momentum in the months ahead.

Sales breakdown

Out of the total reported industry sales in April, an estimated 31 476 units (86.6%) represented dealer sales; an estimated 7% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry; 5.1% was to industry corporate fleets and 1.3% to government.  

The April 2018 new car market at 23 928 units registered an improvement of 1 438 cars (6.4%) compared to April last year.

Naamsa said seasonal factors affected the car rental industry contribution, but it still accounted for about 8.6% of new car sales in April 2018.

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses were marginally weaker and at 10 580 units during April 2018, registered a drop of 127 vehicles (1.2%) compared to April 2017.

"Sales in the low volume medium and heavy truck segments of the industry reflected a mixed picture, but had again remained under pressure at 493 units and 1 345 units, respectively," said Naamsa.

It recorded a fall of 68 vehicles or a decline of  12.1% in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, a modest improvement of 17 vehicles (1.3%) compared to April last year.

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