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Vehicle sales record first yearly growth since January 2015

Vehicle sales record first yearly growth since January 2015

New vehicle sales are trailing January 2021 five-year average, having recorded total sales of 694 units, statistics by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers South Africa indicate.

January’s new vehicle sales reflect an upward turn of 3.3% and is the first year-on-year growth recorded in January since the 14.5% in January 2015. On a monthly basis, vehicle sales declined marginally by 0.9% compared to 0.1% in December 2020.

Passenger vehicles accelerated both on an annual and monthly basis, recording 21.6% and 7.6% respectively, with the annual growth boosted by car rental agencies. The rental agencies acquired 65 units in January 2021 while no acquisitions were made in January 2020.If rental agencies are factored out, the passenger declined 0.7% yearly.

Sammeline Felix from Simonis Storm Securities said in early 2020 rental agencies diversified their customer base by offering monthly rental packages to individuals which was a cheaper option of getting around while keeping ownership risk minimal.

“This, in our opinion, might have motivated the new acquisitions,” Felix added.

Total commercial vehicles continue to languish in a contractionary sprawl, having contracted annually since May 2019. The January 2021 numbers show a further contraction of 10.1% compared to a 7.7% annual contraction recorded in the preceding month. The monthly trend is conforming to the long-term contractionary sprawl, with a contraction of 5.3% in total commercial vehicle sales.

Light and Medium commercial subcategories remained largely underwhelming and posted contractions both on a monthly and annual basis. The Light commercial subcategory contracted 4.4% and 10.1% monthly and yearly respectively, while the Medium commercial vehicles declined by 30.8% monthly and 35.7% yearly, suggesting that business confidence, especially in the vehicle sector, remains sluggish.

However, Felix sated, with the total sales having increased at an average of 16.5% for the month of February since 2015, expectations are slightly optimistic for February 2021, against all odds. January has historically recorded low vehicle sales over the years.

“Against this backdrop, 2021 will perhaps help stabilise the downward spiral experienced over the last five years,” Felix said.


About The Author

Donald Matthys

Donald Matthys has been part of the media fraternity since 2015. He has been working at the Namibia Economist for the past three years mainly covering business, tourism and agriculture. Donald occasionally refers to himself as a theatre maker and has staged two theatre plays so far. Follow him on twitter at @zuleitmatthys

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