Johannesburg - Toyota South Africa has adjusted its expectations for this year's total new cars sales down from 385 000 to 370 000 units.
Car market recovery by 2013
This is about half as many as in 2006, a record year for sales, when more than 714 000 vehicles were sold.
At the time the forecast was that vehicle sales in South Africa would top a million a year before the end of the decade. Johan van Zyl, Toyota president and a member of the group's global management team, expects to see growth between 2010 and 2012, but says the next good year for the motor industry will be only in 2013.
"Yes, there is a degree of science behind that [the forecast], but I would not call it an exact science."
With regard to exports, Van Zyl reckons it would take a brave person to venture a public forecast.
Export figures are already 40% lower than those of last year, he notes.
Andrew Kirby, senior deputy president for sales and marketing, says the European market was the first to reduce orders in response to the downturn, and this market will probably be the last to recover. There has also been a definite shift to buying entry-level models.
Kirby points out that this is a worry for Toyota, which produces only the Corolla and the Hilux locally.