SA car sales | Covid-19, national lockdown send new vehicle sales into downward frenzy in March


As expected, new vehicle sales took a crushing blow in March 2020. The reasoning for the poor sales was two-fold: the coronavirus that took flight across South Africa, and the national lockdown that followed it.

According to National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the global automotive industry is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the global lockdowns implemented across all major auto manufacturing countries and cities to flatten the Covid-19 curve.

Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 33 545 vehicles, an estimated 28 042 units or 83.6% represented dealer sales, an estimated 6.2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 5.8% to government, and 4.4% to industry corporate fleets. 

Overall decline

The March 2020 new passenger car market had registered a sizeable decline of 8139 cars or a fall of 26.8% to 22 200 units compared to the 30 339 new cars sold in March last year. The car rental industry’s contribution accounted for 8.4% of new car sales in March 2020.

The light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment was the biggest loser across the market, declining 37.1% to 9425 units. The dealer channel shrank 39.3% in the segment and rental sales - although small in volume (just 173 sales) - were 62.5% down.

Sales for medium and heavy truck segments of the industry also performed weaker and at 631 units and 1289 units, respectively, reflected a decline of 146 vehicles or a fall of 18.8% in the case of medium commercial vehicles. In the case of heavy trucks and buses a decline of 295 vehicles or a fall of 18.6% compared to the corresponding month last year.

Lebogang Gaoaketse, head of marketing and communication at WesBank, said: "The market was looking to establish some form of stability judging from February’s performance, only to be undone by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Looking at international markets already under lockdown, we can expect April to look even worse as consumers stay home and only essential services are delivered from dealer workshops."

new vehicle sales

Compiled by: Charlen Raymond

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