Cape Town - The National Automobile Association of South Africa (Naamsa) reports that new vehicle sales in all segments registered declines during May 2017.
However, the organisation adds sales of new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles "held up better than expected".
Naamsa adds that while new vehicle exports also reflected a fairly substantial year-on-year decline, vehicle exports in May 2016 represented the "second highest export number on record".
Aggregate new vehicle sales for May 2017 are 41 783 units, a decrease of 1129 units or 2.6% compared to 42 912 units sold in May 2016. May 2017 export sales, at 29 596 vehicles, registered a fall of 4023 units or 12.0% compared to the 33 619 vehicles exported in May last year.
Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 41 783 vehicles, an estimated 37 686 units or 90.2% represented dealer sales, 5.1% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 3.2% to Industry corporate fleets and 1.5% to government.
The new car market, at 26 317 units sold, reflected a drop of 663 units or 2.5% compared to the 26 980 new cars sold in May last year. The car rental Industry accounted for an estimated 7.2% of new car sales in May 2017.
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses totalled 13 410 units during May 2017, a decline of 210 or 1.5% compared to the 13 620 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.
Vehicle sales for May 2017: Infographic by Wesbank
Naamsa said: “Following the modest improvement in new vehicle sales during the first three months of 2017, the outlook for the balance of the year was somewhat uncertain. The current polarised political environment in SA, together with prospects of subdued economic growth over the short to medium term, continued to weigh on business confidence and consumer sentiment.
“Domestic new vehicle sales were closely correlated with the overall performance of the South African economy and confidence levels. At this stage, domestic new vehicle sales for 2017 were likely to be flat at best. However, this was premised on a number of assumptions, including, that South Africa would avoid further credit ratings agencies’ downgrades, that interest rates would not increase over the short to medium term, that economic growth would show modest improvement and that the exchange rate, whilst remaining volatile, was unlikely to depreciate markedly. “