Vehicle sales continue to thrive

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pretoria - Vehicle sales continued their growth momentum in February 2011, improving by 25 percent compared to February 2010, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA).

New car as well as medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales had registered exceptional gains compared to the corresponding month last year. Aggregate industry sales had improved by 9 880 units (or 25.2 percent) to 49 164 vehicles from 39 284 units in February last year.

According to the NAAMSA, strength in the market reflected the current momentum. The association said it was encouraging that total industry sales for the first two months of 2011 were 21.9 percent ahead of the corresponding two months in 2010. 

"Attractive special incentive packages offered by a number of manufacturers/importers during the month of February 2011 also contributed to the rise in sales volumes," said NAAMSA.

Of the total NAAMSA-reported industry sales of 49 164 vehicles, 80.3 percent represented dealer sales, 10.2 percent represented sales to the car rental industry, six percent to government and 3.5 percent to industry corporate fleet sales.

Aggregate industry new car sales during February 2011, at 34 056 units, reflected a substantial improvement of 8 077 units (or 31 percent) compared to the 25 979 new cars sold during February 2010. 

The sale of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses, at 12 854 units, during February 2011 showed an improvement of 1 307 units, compared to the 11 547 units of February 2010.

"Sales also reflected an improvement of 21.8 percent compared to January 2011 which could be attributed to some pre-emptive buying to avoid the new CO2 tax on double-cab light commercial vehicles to be implemented from 1 March 2011," the association pointed out. 

Medium and heavy truck sales, with the exception of the bus segment in February, continued to show strong upward momentum, with sales at 861 units and 1 393 units, respectively. Medium commercials had recorded a gain of 271 units (or 45.9 percent) and heavy trucks and buses 225 units (or 19.3 percent).

On the exports front, South African produced vehicles in February 2011, at 25 129 vehicles, had registered a significant improvement of 10 997 units (or 77.8 percent) compared to the 14 132 vehicles exported during February last year.

"In light of a revival in demand for South African produced motor vehicles in foreign markets, industry export sales were expected to reach 300 000 units in 2011," said NAAMSA, adding that the outlook for 2011 in terms of total industry sales remained positive.

"Domestically, new vehicle sales over the medium term would remain a function of the performance of the South African economy and in the case of export sales, the sustainability of the recovery in the global economy. 

"For 2011, domestic new car sales, at this stage, were projected to improve by 10 to 15 percent in volume terms. New commercial vehicle sales, on the back of anticipated higher economic activity levels, could improve by up to 15 percent. The industry's performance in 2010 and the momentum carried over into 2011 represents a solid platform for the industry to build on this year," said NAAMSA.

The Nedbank economic unit said the strong rise in passenger vehicles in the first two months of the year has pushed the number of cars sold in February to its highest since January 2008.
"The recovery in household spending on durable goods, helped by historically low interest rates, improving incomes and discounting by retailers has continued to boost car sales. However, growth in vehicle sales is likely to slow in 2011, mainly due to the higher base established during 2010," said Nedbank. - BuaNews