October vehicle sales down 16.9 percent

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pretoria - New vehicle sales for October 2009 fell by 16.9 percent, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

According to the data released on Tuesday, new vehicle sales at 31 622 units reflected a decline of 6 422 vehicles or 16.9 percent compared to the 38 044 units sold during October 2008.

"Factoring in aggregate vehicle sales reported by the AMH/AAD Group, the year on year decline amounted to 12.5 percent.

"Industry export sales had improved significantly recording the best monthly performance for 2009 to date," said Naamsa.

Naamsa said that domestic new car sales supported by seasonally strong sales to the car rental industry had shown an improvement. New sales had also shown a welcomed improvement compared to last month. Last month, vehicle sales fell by 22.4 percent in comparison to September 2008.

Naamsa said industry export sales had improved significantly recording the best monthly performance for 2009 to date.

Out of a total Naamsa reported industry sales (31 622 vehicles), 74 percent or 23 410 units represented dealer/retail sales, 16.2 percent sales related to the car rental industry, 4.9 percent sales to government and 4.9 percent sales into auto industry corporate fleets.

In October, sales at 20 836 units reflected a decline of 2 239 units or 9.7 percent compared to the 23 075 new cars sold during the corresponding month last year.

The selling rate of total new cars per day during October 2009 had remained relatively high for the third consecutive month, said Naamsa.

There was a decline in sales of light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses at 9204 during the course of October. This reflected a decline of 3 171 vehicles or 25.6 percent compared to the 12 375 units of October 2008.

When coming to medium and heavy truck segments, the industry also registered falls and the October sales of medium commercials at 627 units and sales of heavy commercials at 955 units had registered a decline of 184 units or 22.7 percent.

"The continued weakness in medium and heavy truck sales suggested ongoing lower investment spending in the economy," said Naamsa.

Aggregate industry new vehicles at 330 547 units reflected a decline of 28.8 percent compared to the 463 968 vehicles sold during the corresponding ten months of last year.

The association said that export sales in October 2009 had surprised on the upside, while aggregate industry export sales at 20 948 vehicles reflected a fall of 25.4 percent compared to the 28 097 vehicles exported during October 2008.

"The better performance suggested that a recovery in demand in a number of export markets was under way, probably on the back of demand stimulation packages and fiscal support measures," said the association.

Overall said Naamsa, the latest figures reinforce the view that the industry was at an early stage in emerging from the recession in the automotive market.

"Expected further improvement in the months ahead was likely to be slow and hesitant off an extremely low base. The lagged benefits of the 5 percent cumulative reduction in interest rates since the end of 2008 should support the recovery.

"The welcome month on month improvement in export sales over the past two months would also provide much needed support to auto parts and vehicle producers," said Naamsa.