The new vehicle sales statistics for April 2017 indicate that new vehicle sales in all segments with the exception of medium commercial vehicles have deteriorated sharply during the month registering double digit declines.
For the month of April, the aggregate new vehicle sales at 34 956 units has decreased by 5 392 units or 13.4% from the 40 348 vehicles sold in April last year. April export sales at 24 449 have registered a sharp fall of 8 383 vehicles or a decline of 25.5% compared to the 32 832 vehicles exported in April last year.
Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 34 956 vehicles, an estimated 3.1% represented sales to industry corporate fleets.
“Political and social polarisation in South Africa, together with prospects of lower domestic growth over the short to medium term continue to weigh on business confidence and consumer sentiment,” said the statistics report.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry have also recorded falls, and at 562 units and 1 350 units, respectively, reflect a decline of 22 units or 3.8% in the case of medium commercial vehicles. In the case of heavy trucks and buses, a decline of 185 vehicles or a fall of 12.1% compared to the corresponding month last year has been witnessed.
The industry’s new vehicle exports have been lower than expectations and at 24 449 units exported during April, 2017, haev reflected a reduction of 8 383 units or a decline of 25.5% compared to the 32 832 vehicles exported in April last year.
“The lower sales could also be attributed to the increase of public holidays in the month of March and April, as well as the multiplicity of public holidays. The holidays have a major impact on new vehicle exports, which also reflected a sharp year on year decline,” the report noted.
New vehicle sales were closely correlated with the overall performance of South Africa’s economy and confidence levels. The key performance factors driving new vehicle demand included Gross Domestic Product growth, the direction of interest rates and the exchange rate. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a number of South African banks have revised downwards 2017 prospects for South Africa’s growth.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (NAAMSA) anticipates that export sales will register upward momentum over the balance of 2017 thereby continuing to contribute positively to South Africa’s trade balance.