SA car sales | Dealers could be in for a rough ride over the upcoming holiday season

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• NADA believes that the South African new vehicle market is holding up well.

• The local economy has been hit hard by by increased fuel prices and higher interest rates.

• December and January could prove more challenging for new vehicle sales.

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After analysing the figures distributed by Naamsa, South Africa's Automotive Business Council, new vehicle sales figures for November 2021 show that the market is holding up surprisingly well, despite several factors that we thought would have resulted in a slowdown of new vehicle business.

The figures indicate the positive direction the market has been taking this year. Conclusion: there were improvements in all market segments in sales at a dealer level compared with the statistics in November 2020.

Better than expected

For NADA (National Automobile Dealer Association), this is far better than expected, particularly with the arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and Southern Africa being placed on a travel Red List by many countries. Despite the challenges, the going rate for new vehicle sales kicked up at the end of the month.

What is particularly encouraging as we move towards the end of 2021 is that year-to-date total vehicle sales are 24.8% ahead of the figure for the same 11-month period last year, with all market segments, except buses, showing significant improvements.

However, we could see December and January sales demonstrate the negative effect of the arrival of the new Covid-19 variant and the huge increases in fuel prices, and the impact of the weaker rand on vehicle pricing. Dealers will need to be focused and resourceful during the testing sales period. Still, consumers can expect some special offers as manufacturers and distributors seek to meet annual sales targets.

Mark Dommisse is the chairperson of the National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA).

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