VEHICLE SALES: Commenting on the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of August, 2017 – released for public consumption on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry – the Association said that, for the second month in succession, aggregate domestic new vehicle sales had recorded further encouraging gains led by new car, new light commercial vehicle and extra heavy truck sales. Medium commercial vehicle sales had remained under pressure and new vehicle exports had registered a surprising fall.
In the event, August 2017 aggregate new vehicle sales at 49 222 units had increased by 3 091 units or 6.7% from the 46 131 vehicles sold in August last year. August, 2017 export sales at 29 927 vehicles had registered a decline of 4 431 units or a fall of 12.9% compared to the 34 358 vehicles exported in August last year.
Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 49 222 vehicles, an estimated 40 320 units or 81.9% represented dealer sales, an estimated 11.9% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 3.6% to Industry corporate fleets and 2.6% to government. The contribution by the car rental sector to sales is becoming increasingly difficult to measure since now four companies do not report sales by channel.
The August, 2017 new car market reflected further upward momentum and at 32 161 units had recorded a gain of 1 654 cars or an improvement of 5.4% compared to the 30 507 new cars sold in August last year. The car rental Industry had accounted for an estimated 16.6% of new car sales in August, 2017.
Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 14 834 units during August, 2017 reflected substantial gain of 1 448 vehicles or an improvement of 10.8% compared to the 13 386 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year. This was on top of the improvement in light commercial vehicle sales in recent months.
The medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry reflected a mixed performance and at 633 units and 1 594 units, respectively, had recorded a decline of 102 vehicles or a fall of 13.9%, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, versus an increase, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, of 91 vehicles or a gain of 6.1 % - compared to the corresponding month last year.
Following the strong gain recorded in new vehicle exports during the previous month (July, 2017 with a year on year gain on 22.2%) new vehicle exports had contracted during August, 2017 and reflected a decline of 4 431 units or a fall of 12.9% compared to the 34 358 vehicles exported in August last year.
The domestic automotive industry continued to hold up relatively well in the current difficult economic environment. Reduced new vehicle pricing pressures and overall lower inflationary trends together with the July, 2017 25 basis points reduction in interest rates provided some relief for consumers.
Furthermore, attractive sales incentives on offer also supported demand. NAAMSA continued to anticipate that the overall market for 2017 would be at levels similar to those recorded in 2016 with the possibility, based on domestic sales over the last two months, of an overall improvement of between 1.0% and 1.5%. Global economic growth prospects remained quite positive and this should continue to support vehicle exports over the medium term.
Issued by the NAAMSA offices: Pretoria