Figures down but dealers show resilience in tough new vehicle market

Brian Joss – While new vehicle sales in August showed a decline of 2.5% year-on-year, the performance of the industry has remained relatively flat from a year-to-date perspective at -0.6% over the first eight months of 2018.

Of the 47 964 total industry sales last month, 66% went to the passenger vehicle segment which is down 2.2% year-on-year and is flat year-to-date according to data released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa). Light commercials, which contributed 29% of total sales, are down 5.8% year-on-year and 2.5% year-to-date. The commercial segment comprising buses, medium, heavy and extra-heavy vehicles made up the final 5%, and is up 16% year-on-year and 2.1% year-to-date.

“Despite perpetual pressure on the economy this year with total industry sales remaining subdued, the dealer channel has been resilient showing 2.4% year-to-date growth.” said Ghana Msibi, WesBank’s Executive Head for Sales and Marketing.  “With four months remaining in 2018, WesBank’s forecast of 3% growth is still possible. However, if the deterioration of the rand to foreign currencies continues as we’ve seen in August, consumers could feel more of a pinch when buying new cars going forward.”

Rentals grew by 1.6% year-on-year in August, but remained 7.6% down when compared to the first eight months of last year which saw the highest rental sales ever recorded.

Caption: New vehicle sales in August.  Infographic: WesBank/Motorpress

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