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2018-01-09 19:13

Image: iStock

Johannesburg - South African vehicle sales ended 2017 on a weak note with aggregate industry new vehicle sales for December 2017 at 40 636 units, a decline of 1008 vehicles (-2.4%) compared to December 2016 (41 644), reports Naamsa.

Despite December 2017’s decline, the year-to-date new car sales in 2017 grew 1.8%. In total, 557 586 new vehicles were sold in South Africa during 2017.

Export sales recorded a decline in December 2017 with 17 374 units - a decrease of 1333 units (-7.1%) compared to the 18 707 vehicles exported during December 2016. Naamsa said: This was largely attributable to the effect of model run out and new model introduction of the new VW Polo range in 2018."

The year in review

For the first time in four years, new vehicle sales during 2017 recorded a year-on-year improvement, albeit at a modest 1.8%. 

Annual industry sales by sector: 2016 - 2017

Segment201620172017/2016 % change
Cars361 264368 068+1.9%
LCV159 283163 346+2.6%
Medium Commercials83157785-6.4%
Heavy Trucks, Buses18 68518 387-16%
Total Vehicles547 547557 586+1.8%

Naamsa said: "The improvement, due to modest gains in new car and LCV sales was encouraging given subdued economic growth, pressure on consumers’ disposable income and low levels of consumer and business confidence. The marginal decline in interest rates in July, 2017 had a positive effect." 

Aggregate sales during 2017 rose by 10 039 units or 1.8% to 557 586 compared to the annual sales total of 547 547 in 2016. Major contributory factors to the improved new car and LCV sales were the continued, said Naamsa, ''strong contribution by the car rental sector which accounted for an estimated 16.0% of new car sales during the year as well as unprecedented sales incentives by manufacturers and importers particularly during the second half of 2017."

Naamsa said: "Whilst the modest improvement was welcome, the figures should be seen in the context of industry sales 11 years ago when the domestic market recorded an all-time high sales number of 714 314 units of which the new car market had represented 481 558 vehicles.

"2017 Vehicle exports represented the third highest annual Industry export figure on record and total vehicle exports at 329 053 units were down on the 344 820 vehicles exported in 2016 – a decline of 15 767 units or a fall of 4.6%. 


"Assuming continued improvement in the global economy – industry export sales during 2018 were projected to improve by about 37 000 vehicles or about 11.0% to reach a total projected number of 366 000 export units."

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