'Decent gains' for virgin cars

2012-09-04 12:19

Johannesburg - New vehicle sales continued to grow steadily through August 2012.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA said on Tuesday: "New vehicle sales... maintained the steady growth trend of the first seven months of the year.”

Sales in the major segments registered "relatively decent gains" – which doesn’t tell us much! - compared to the corresponding month in 2011.


Aggregate industry domestic sales grew 9.4% to 56 253 from 51 409 and exports by a marginal 0.8% to 25 024 and Naamsa expected export sales to improve for the rest of 2012 and into 2013 as various export programmes ramp up.

"Exports of light commercials, in particular, are expected to increase substantially in 2013."

Total domestic sales for the first eight months of the year stand at 11.3% more than 2011.

Mercedes-Benz SA provides a single total sales number for cars, commercial vehicles and exports. Estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment were compiled using historical trends and forecasting techniques.

Excluding MBSA figures, 81% of industry vehicle sales went to dealers, 11.5% to car rental, 3.9% to corporate fleets and 3.5% to the state.

New car sales in August were close to five-year highs, Naamsa said.

"The August 2012 new car market, for the second month in succession, had been supported by strong demand from rental companies with the car rental industry accounting for 15.2% of total sales."


Naamsa expected that demand to remain high over the next few months as the rental industry continued to re-fleet.

Sales of new light commercials, bakkies and minibuses reflected reasonable growth in August, increasing by 731 to 13 637 over the previous August (including MBSA commercial sales).

Naamsa was positive about the auto industry: "Despite prospects of a lower economic growth environment, the automotive sector continued to perform remarkably well.”

Low finance rates will continue to support domestic sales, along with the highly competitive trading environment, attractive incentives and new model introductions.

Naamsa expected domestic sales to grow by about 10% during 2012 – though 2013 could be more difficult where “increasing inflationary pressures on the back of expected higher fuel and food prices and the impact of rand weakness on new vehicle pricing were likely to result in a more difficult trading environment and more subdued growth in vehicle sales”.

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s vice president for marketing, sales and service, Dean Stoneley, said: “August was always going to be a slower sales month for FMCSA due to logistical planning to allow second shift production in Silverton to commence. It was also impacted by supply constraints beyond our control.”

Ford Ranger sales settled to 1238 units, the automaker reported, as the Silverton plant was prepared for second-shift operation that will allow production capacity at the Pretoria plant to increase to meet demand from local and export markets. FMCSA exports have increased five-fold since August 2011.

The production effects also hampered Mazda BT-50 sales, the company said. The new Mazda bakkie is manufactured alongside the Ranger at FMCSA’s Silverton Assembly Plant.

Severe snowfalls and derailments restricted supply of Figo and imported products to the dealer network during the month. “This obviously impacted further on our overall sales numbers during the month,” Stoneley said.

Volkswagen Group South Africa reported a total sales of 9135 units, its highest monthly sales in 2012 and highest ever sales in August since 2007.

The record figure was aided by Polo Vivo (3714 units) which achieved its best ever monthly sales since its launch in March 2010. Polo Vivo was also the best selling model in the total new vehicle market in August, the automaker said.

Audi sold 1 500 units - its highest sales ever recorded in South Africa in August. The top seller was the A4 Sedan/Avant which sold 397 units.

Mike Glendinning, director for sales and marketing at Volkswagen SA said: “The new car market has been characterised by strong levels of demand for new passenger cars. With interest rates at the lowest level in thirty eight years, debt servicing costs for households are low and sufficient credit is available to service demand for new cars.

“New car prices are growing at less than 3% on an annual basis and in real terms, after adjustment for inflation, have been in negative territory for over two years.”

Top performing new passenger vehicles
1 Volkswagen Polo Vivo - 2654
2 Volkswagen Polo - 2158
3 Toyota Etios - 1563
4 Toyota Corolla - 1541
5 BMW 3 Series - 1200
6 Toyota Yaris - 1096
7 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Sedan - 1060
8 Toyota Fortuner - 961
9 Ford Figo - 877
10 Chevrolet Spark - 822

Top performing new light commercial vehicles
1 Toyota Hilux - 2942
2 Nissan NP200 - 1652
3 Chevrolet Utility - 1555
4 Toyota Quantum - 1355
5 Ford Ranger - 1238
6 Isuzu KB - 1192
7 Nissan NP300 Hardbody - 759  
8 Volkswagen Amarok - 515
9 Toyota Land Cruiser Pick Up - 270
10 Mazda BT-50 - 180