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SA car sales: Year midway and vehicles sales remain grim

2016-07-01 19:51

ANOTHER DROP IN SALES: New vehicle sales declined in June 2016, reports Naamsa. Image: iStock

Johannesburg – New vehicle sales continued to decline in June, with all segments, except heavy commercial vehicles, registering declines compared to the corresponding month in 2015, reports National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

At the half way mark in 2016 the new car market reflected a fall of 10.4% compared to the corresponding six months of 2015, light commercials were down 8.9%, medium commercials were down by 19% whilst heavy trucks and buses were down 4.4%.  

Click here for June 2016 vehicle sales 

Naamsa reports a total of 44 939 new vehicle sales, a decline of5 311 vehicles or a fall of 10.6% compared to the 50 250 vehicles sold in June 2015. Aggregate industry export sales at 30 965 for June, 2016 reflected a marginal decline of 454 vehicles or a fall of 1.4% compared to the 31 419 vehicles exported in June last year.  

New car sales

Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 44 939 vehicles, an estimated 37 575 units or 83.6% represented dealer sales, 11.9% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.2% represented industry corporate fleet sales and 1.3% sales to government.    

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The new car market continued to experience pressure during June and at 29 070 units, reflected a decline of 3850 cars or a fall of 11.7% compared to the 32 920 new cars sold in June 2015.  This was despite a strong contribution by the car rental industry which had accounted for 16.8% of new cars sold during the month.  

Commercial sales
Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 13 398 units during June 2016, reflected a decline of 1 433 units or a fall of 9.7% compared to the 14 831 light commercial vehicles sold in June 2015.    

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry at 779 units and 1 692 units, respectively, reflected a mixed picture and showed a decline, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, of 71 units or 8.4% and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, a modest improvement of 43 vehicles or an increase of 2.6% compared to the corresponding month in 2015.    

Industry new vehicle exports during June, 2016 had registered a modest decline of 454 vehicles or a fall of 1.4% from the 31 419 vehicles exported in June 2015 to 30 965 vehicle exports.  The momentum of new vehicle exports should improve during the second half of 2016 as a result of an expected increase in light commercial vehicle exports to Europe.

'Under tremendous stress'

Simphiwe Nghona, CEO of WesBank Motor Retail, said: “This sales performance is in line with our forecast for the year, and it’s been informed by a number of macroeconomic factors. The Rand has struggled, interest rates have been hiked and inflation has taken its toll on household budgets. New model introductions have been positive for the LCV segment, as these vehicles are clearly popular with consumers. However, the passenger car market is under tremendous stress due to consumer affordability.”

WesBank’s data shows a corresponding decline in vehicle loan applications. During June application volumes for new vehicle loans fell 19.2%, year-on-year. In contrast, demand for pre-owned vehicles weakened slightly by 0.2%.

Consumers who are buying vehicles are also spending more, in line with new car price inflation as well as increasing demand in the used market. The average deal value for a new vehicle grew to R291 000 this past month – an increase of 11%, year-on-year. Average deal for used cars rose 10%, to R188 000.

Naamsa responds

Naamsa said: “The underlying trend in new car sales, as well as commercial vehicle sales, continued to reflect progressive and steady weakness and domestic sales were expected to remain under pressure over the short to medium term.  

“Subdued levels of economic activity, above inflation new vehicle price increases, low levels of consumer confidence and lower finance approvals would continue to weigh on domestic new vehicle sales during the second half of the year.  

Any positives for the auto market?

Naamsa said: “However, a number of recent key economic indicators appeared to be moving in the right direction including the substantial improvement in South Africa’s trade balance and lower than anticipated producer price inflation.  This augured well for interest rate stability over the medium term. 

“A further positive feature was the welcome rise in the Purchasing Managers’ Index, a leading economic indicator, which had now remained above the 50 point mark for the last four months.  This heralded a possible improvement in business activity and the economy in coming months. 

What about vehicle exports?

Naamsa said: “In contrast to the continuing difficult domestic trading environment, new vehicle export sales should support the industry’s vehicle production levels and South Africa’s balance of payments.  In this regard, indications from exporters anticipated an improvement in vehicle export sales during the second half of 2016.”   


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