JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Year-on-year South African new vehicle sales declined by 9.2% in May 2014, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Monday (June 2 2014).Naamsa said: "The South African economy is losing momentum and risking moving into recession. The decline in first-quarter GDP to negative levels, the dramatic decline in the purchasing managers' index... the sharp rise in producer inflation and the worsening trade deficit all confirm the advent of a more difficult economic environment."As a result, the domestic automotive market was likely to continue facing headwinds in the short to medium term.NEW C-CLASSAggregate new-vehicle sales through May 2014 were 49 465 against 54 490 in May 2013. Naamsa said all segments and categories recorded year-on-year declines but, worse for the country, May's export sales declined by 40% from 26 252 to 15 613.However, the good news is that that was mostly because of Mercedes SA's changeover to the new C-Class, just launched here and to be exported to 80 countries around the world.Overall, of the total disaggregated reported industry sales of 49 465, 87% were dealer sales, 5.6% rental company sales, only 4.9% went to corporate fleets and 2.7% to the state.Domestic sales of new light commercials, bakkies and minibuses declined by 5.15 compared May 2013. Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments reflected a mixed performance: medium commercial vehicle sales showed a decline of 140 or 14.4%, heavy trucks and buses improved by 74 units - 4.3%.The outlook for the automotive sector for the balance of the year, Naamsa says, looks increasingly less promising: "At this stage, we anticipate that the domestic market in 2014 is likely to register a decline, in aggregate terms, of 3.5 to five percent compared to 2013."