Brian Joss –
Some growth in LCVs
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) said domestic new vehicle sales, with the exception of light commercial vehicle sales in May, had declined compared to May last year. New car sales in particular had declined on a year-on-year basis, however, further strong growth in new vehicles exports had continued during the month. But aggregate new vehicle sales at 47 868 units were down 3.2% from the 49 449 vehicles sold in May last year.
Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 47 868 vehicles, an estimated 40 575 units or 84.8% represented dealer sales, 6.9% constituted sales to government, 4.7% to industry corporate fleets and 3.5% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry. The new car market at 31 201 units reflected a decline of 1 773 units or a fall of 5.4% compared to the 32 974 new cars sold in May last year.
Despite incentive packages to promote demand, intense competition in a difficult trading environment continued to put pressure on the domestic new car market. Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses during May, 2015 at 14 182 units reflected an improvement of 309 units or a gain of 2.2% compared to the 13 873 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year. Sales of vehicles in the investment-driven medium and heavy truck segments of the industry had registered declines.
Medium commercial vehicle sales at 787 units and heavy commercial vehicle sales at 1 698 units, reflected a fall of 33 units or 4.0% in the case of medium commercials, and a decline of 84 vehicles or a fall of 4.7% in the case of heavy trucks and buses – compared to the corresponding month last year. Vehicle exports continued to gain momentum and were increasingly contributing positively to South Africa’s current account of the balance of payments. Industry new vehicle exports at 33 411 units during May, 2015 had registered exceptionally strong growth compared to the corresponding month last year rising by 17 816 vehicles or a massive 114.2% relative to the 15 595 export sales in May, 2014. Vehicle exports for 2015 remained on target to improve by around 25% in volume terms to an industry record export number of about 330 000 for the year. The outlook for the industry had not changed much in recent months, however, the lower than expected new car sales might necessitate a slight downward review of the annual new car market. At best, total aggregate industry domestic sales would match the industry’s 2014 performance. This would require some improvement in domestic sales during the second half of the calendar year. New vehicle industry production would continue to move upwards as a result of substantially higher export sales.
Toyota stays on top
Toyota South Africa Motors retained its market leadership position during May, with 8 043 units sold which translates to 16.8% market share; while the brand also retained its market share of the overall Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) segment at 25.2%.
“While competitors capitalised on Government and large fleet special deals, Toyota is satisfied with our performance during May and achieving a fifth consecutive month of market leadership,” says Calvyn Hamman, Toyota South Africa’s senior vice president for sales and marketing, adding that dealer channel sales for Toyota’s core products (including Hilux, Corolla and Fortuner) exceeds 75% of all sales. “This is particularly important for us as it shows a solid commitment from our dealer network in terms of sales and indicates a level of customer loyalty which we welcome,” he says.
For the second consecutive month the overall the market showed a slight decline of 3.2% if compared to the same period last year, with the passenger segment showing a decline of 5.4%. Says Hamman: “The decline in specifically the passenger segment shows a level of caution with the wider car-buying public – this can be attributed to uncertainty around fuel prices, utility prices, imminent interest rate increases and vehicle price increase,” says Hamman, adding that Toyota’s used vehicle brand, Automark, recorded 3 418 units sold during May; slightly up on the previous month. “This trend, coupled with a move to smaller, entry-level vehicles underlines consumers’ cautious behaviour in the light of economic uncertainty.”
Another worrying trend is the continuous decline in car rental sales which has deteriorated by 19.5% compared to the same period last year. “While this decline can partially be attributed to purchase cycles, one has to think about the impact of new travel legislation on tourism-led industries such as car rental companies,” says Hamman.
On the trucks front, Hino South Africa achieved a solid 316 units sold, placing the brand in third position with a market share of just under 13%. “The investment-led medium and heavy commercial segments are showing a constant month-on-month decline which can be mainly attributed to the reduction in purchase due to replacement cycles which usually works on a five-year basis, coupled with a general decline in business confidence,” says Hamman.
Top performers from the Toyota stable included the Hilux (2 608 units), Corolla/Auris/Quest combination (1 400 units) and RAV 4 which continues to lead the Small Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) sales race with 416 units finding a home during May.
“Exceptional sales” for Ford
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) concluded yet another month of exceptional sales and year-on-year growth in May 2015 – the fifth month in a row of record-breaking volumes.
Ford achieved total sales of 6 713 units for May, contributing to an impressive 36.7% growth compared to May 2014. For the first five months of 2015, FMCSA’s volumes are up 26% on last year and the Ford brand maintains second spot in industry sales for the second month running, while overall market share is 15.5%*.
“We are delighted with the continued strong demand for Ford products, as well as the record-breaking sales we have experienced every month so far this year,” says Rob Crouse, General Manager of Marketing and Sales at FMCSA.
“This has been driven by our exciting range of new models that provide Ford’s most extensive and competitive line-up ever, combined with the commitment of our dealers in terms of infrastructure and customer service.
“And we have a lot more in store for the remainder of the year, including the new Focus ST, all-new Everest and the new Ranger to look forward to,” Crouse says.
According to NAAMSA), May 2015 aggregate new vehicle sales at 47 868 units were down 3.2% from the 49 449 vehicles sold in May last year. Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 47 868 vehicles, an estimated 40 575 units or 84.8% represented dealer sales, 6.9% constituted sales to government, 4.7% to industry corporate fleets and 3.5% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry.
The Ranger continues to be Ford’s star performer, notching up 3 039 sales in May – thus reinforcing its status as the top-selling vehicle in South Africa in 2015. Notably, Ranger sales are up 21.5% year to date, and 50.6% year-over-year.
The expanded Ford Fiesta range turned in impressive results for the second month in a row, ending the month on 845 units.
Demand for the Ford EcoSport continues to outstrip supply with 980 sales in May in the compact SUV sector.