VEHICLE SALES UP AT LAST: September's vehicle sales registered "year-on-year growth" - the first month in 2014 that has reflected positive news. Image: Shutterstock
JOHANNESBURG - New vehicle sales in South Africa increased by 11.5% in September 2014 compared to September 2013, reports the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa).
Naamsa said: "Domestic new vehicle sales, despite subdued economic growth and pressure on consumers' disposable income, for the month of September 2014 reflected a substantial improvement of 6283 vehicles."
It reported 60 854 vehicles sold in September 2014 compared to the 54 571 vehicles sold in the same period in 2013.
Export sales in September 2014 were 30 778 units, a huge "improvement" of 22 180 vehicles (a 258% increase) compared to the 8598 vehicles exported in September 2013.
Naamsa said: "It was for the first time in 2014 that new car sales had registered year-on-year growth.
"The improvement could be attributed to a combination of factors including attractive incentive packages general pre-emptive buying in anticipation of further new vehicle price increases on the back of a weakening rand relatively strong corporate purchases replacement demand and the strong contribution by the car rental sector."
From the total reported industry sales of 60 854 vehicles, 74.5% represented dealer sales, 17.3% vehicle rental industry, 4.1% corporate fleets and 4.1% sales to government.
The car rental industry made up 23.5% of all new cars sold. Naamsa said the improvement followed a "resilience" in new vehicle sales over the past few months and reflected a "remarkable strong performance" with an above average increase in all sectors.
Naamsa said: "Export sales had also continued to reflect underlying strength. The latest monthly new car market had performed above expectations and at 42 918 units reflected a welcome improvement of 2997 vehicles or a gain of 7.5% compared to the 39 921 new cars sold in September 2013."
In September, domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles bakkies and minibuses were 15 179 units, an improvement of 3009 units or 24.7% compared to the 12 170 units in 2013.
Naamsa said: "Pre-emptive purchasing to avoid further expected price increases together with relatively strong corporate demand had contributed to the improvement"
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments were 904 units and 1853 units respectively which reflected a modest improvement in medium commercial vehicle sales of nine units while heavy trucks and buses had continued to perform well - showing an improvement of 268 units.
Naamsa said while the improvement in underlying domestic new vehicle sales and export sales was encouraging it was advisable to retain a "cautious position" regarding the outlook for the automotive sector for the rest of 2014.
Naamsa said: "Lower economic growth recent increases in interest rates the possibility of a further interest rate hike before year end and above inflation new vehicle price rises - would combine to ensure that the new vehicle sales trading environment would remain difficult.
"The domestic market was expected to register a decline in volume terms of between four and 5% compared to 2013."
Click here to download the full Naamsa September 2014 report