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2013-10-02 10:17

STRIKE OVER, SALES UP: The natiional strike in the automotive sector hurt the export market, but local new vehicle sales remained buoyant.

Johannesburg - September vehicle export sales were reduced because of a strike at major vehicle manufacturing plants but domestic sales were up on the same month in 2012.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA said on Tuesday: "The three-week strike... had a devastating effect on the industry, which accounts for about 30% of South Africa's manufacturing output. The strike... damaged South Africa's status as a reliable international supplier and could jeopardise future export contracts."

It said aggregated export sales declined by 75% and overall domestic sales had fallen by 1.5%.

R30/HR INCREASE DEMANDED

"The main effect on domestic sales... was relatively muted due to existing inventory and that about two-thirds of new cars sold in South Africa are imported. After four years of growth in the domestic market, aggregated sales continue to reflect modest growth on a year-to-date basis."

Forecourt attendants, workers at component manufacturers, retailers, panel-beaters, car and spare parts dealers, fitting workshops and dealerships downed tools over wages on September 9. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA was demanding a R30/hour across-the-board increase by 2016 on actual rates of pay in all sectors for workers earning more than R6000 a month.

The strike ended last week.

On domestic vehicle sales, Naamsa said there was an improvement of five percent compared to the first nine months of 2012; 39 792 new cars were sold

TRUCK SALES UP

Of the total September vehicle industry sales of 54 281, 78% were through dealers, 15.3% directly to the rental business. This was a marginal improvement over the 39 489 cars sold in September 2012. Domestic sales of new light commercials, bakkies and minibuses declined by 1269.

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments recorded an increase of 108.

Naamsa said: "The above-average performance in recent months in sales of light, medium and heavy trucks suggested higher levels of investment spending in the economy and was in part related to infrastructural development projects."

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