New car sales accelerate to eight-month high

New vehicles sales inSouth Africain May accelerated to more than 20% higher than the same month last year and about 11% higher than the average for the first five months of the year according to figures released today by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA).

Industry sales of new cars and commercial vehicles improved by 8604 units (not including the 579 vehicles sold by Great Wall Motors SA and excluding Mercedes-Benz) to 50 229 which is 20.7% up on the 41 625 units sold in May last year.

Of the total vehicles sold 90.3 % (43 089 units) represented dealer sales, 4.3% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 3.8% to industry corporate fleet sales and 1.6 % sales to Government.

According to NAAMSA sales to car rental companies are expected to further improve from June onwards as the car rental Industry starts to re-fleet. New model introductions and an improvement in stock availability could also boost sales.

New car sales in May rose to its best level in the past eight months with year to date new car sales 11.3% ahead of the corresponding five months of 2011. New car sales during May 2012 were the highest since June 2007.

Top seller in the passenger car market was Volkswagen again with 8260 units sold, followed byToyota(4907), GMSA (2470) and BMW (2411). Porsche sold 72 units in May and Maserati sold 1.

The export of 22 :620 South African produced motor vehicles also climbed by 2.5% compared to May last year although the global economy and the debt crisis in the eurozone continue to impact

However, domestic sales should benefit from the ongoing improvement in the financial position of consumers, historically low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, the highly competitive trading environment and new model introductions. Continued growth in consumer expenditure and public sector infrastructural investment would also support domestic new vehicle sales.

The recent sharp depreciation in the exchange rate was also likely to result in pre-emptive buying over the next few months as consumers sought to purchase vehicles to avoid the possible impact of the lower exchange rate on new vehicle prices, according to NAAMSA.

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