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SA car sales reflect improved consumer sentiment – dealers post 6.5% year on year increase

SA car sales reflect improved consumer sentiment – dealers post 6.5% year on year increase

Asset financier, Wesbank, reported this week that South African total new vehicle sales were up by 2.6% year-on-year in July, with 47,881 units sold versus 46,671 in the corresponding month last year.

According to data released on Thursday by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the passenger vehicle segment, which contributed 67% of all new vehicle sales in July, was up 4.3% year-on-year with 32,108 units sold.

Light commercial vehicles, which made up 28% of the total market last month are down 2% year-to-date. The segment remained under pressure in July with 13,458 sales showing a decline of 2.3% year-on-year. The remainder of the commercial segment including buses, medium, heavy and extra-heavy vehicles were up by 9%, though this combination only contributed 5% to the total industry.

The dealer channel which accounted for 80% of July’s sales, is up 6.5% year-on-year and 3.2% year-to-date. The rental channel continues to show year-on-year improvement (10.1%), but it’s unlikely to reach the abnormally high volumes seen in 2017, as evidenced by year-to-date figures being down 9.1%.

“The consistent growth seen in the dealer channel this year is testament to the strength of the dealer model, as well as an increase in demand off the back of the positive consumer sentiment seen in the first half of 2018,” said Ghana Msibi, WesBank’s Executive Head for Sales and Marketing. “When consumers feel more positive about the future, they are more comfortable making longer term financial decisions such as buying new cars.”

“This is further supported by WesBank’s data showing a 13% increase in applications year-on-year and the Bureau for Economic Research indicating a consumer confidence of 22 index points in the second quarter of 2018 versus -9 in the second quarter last year,” Msibi concluded.

The VW Polo, followed by the VW Polo Vivo, were the top-selling passenger vehicles while the evergreen Hilux remained tops among the bakkies with the Ford Ranger second. Both bakkies, however, outsold the Polo.


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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.