SA car sales | The 'perfect storm' caught a recovering automotive sector off guard - NADA

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• July 2021 was a difficult sales month for South Africa's automotive sector.

• While sales were 1.7% up on July 2020, civil unrests did the industry no favours.

• Year-to-date, more than 260 000 new vehicles have been sold in South Africa.

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After studying the latest vehicle retail sales figures distributed by Naamsa, July saw the South African economy being hit by the 'perfect storm', and the impact on the motor industry was huge.

The effect is not limited to July and will, in all likelihood, have an ongoing adverse impact for several months to come. Dealers face stock shortages, while local manufacturers battle to keep production going due to disruptions in the component supply chain caused by global semi-conductor shortages and the cyber-attack on the port operating systems. The disruptions in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng and the reimposition of Level 4 Lockdown further compounded any sales momentum 2021 had built up.

However, the sales figures are certainly not as bad as we had feared, with the total aggregate sales in July of 32 949 units being slightly better - 1.7% up - than the situation a year ago. Dealers also did well again, being responsible for an estimated 86% of sales, with rental companies taking an encouraging 9.2%, while 2.7% of sales went to corporate industry fleets and 2.1% to the government. On a year-to-date basis, our total sales after seven months of 2021 stand at 260 466 units, which is 33.7% higher than at the same time last year, which is heartening.

Another blow for the industry at the end of the month was the passing of Dr Johan van Zyl, Executive Chairman of Toyota SA Motors. Fortunately, he had the satisfaction of knowing the high esteem in which his colleagues and the broader industry held him during his life. His inspiring leadership has created a company with an enviable reputation both in South Africa and abroad. As we reflect on the high standards he advocated, we are reminded of the many benefits dealers, and the broader automotive ecosystem, enjoyed. He was a true inspiration to many who had the privilege to know and work with him.

Mark Dommisse is the Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers' Association (NADA).

Mark Dommisse
Mark Dommisse

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