Toyota stays number one despite slump
Despite the current strike at motor vehicle component manufacturers, Toyota still managed to notch up best sales amongst all manufacturers for September.
According to the sales figures aggregated by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa Toyota sold 9761 vehicles in a total market of 54281 units.
The vehicle market declined by 1.5% compared to September 2012, and by 3.2% compared to August 2013. This is a pronounced decline considering that vehicle sales normally accelerate towards the end of a quarter, as dealers and manufacturers work hard to reach quarterly sales targets.
“The market is showing the first symptoms of the shortage in the supply of locally produced vehicles, such as the Corolla, Hilux and Fortuner. If one considers that there is on average 6 weeks of stock in the various stages of the vehicle value chain (including storage, delivery and dealer stock) and if the strike in the component industry continues for this week, vehicle sales in October will drop further below expectation,” said Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors.
The decline in sales, explained Hamman, will weigh heavily on overall vehicle sales growth for 2013.
The initial impact of the various automotive industry strikes are evident in the year-to-date sales growth, which has dropped to 5% compared to the same period last year. This is well below many initial industry growth estimates of 10% or more. The loss of production and delay in vehicle supply will continue to influence the sales of locally produced volume sellers for the rest of 2013.
The general decline in sales was counter-acted by significant sales to the vehicle rental market. Vehicle rental companies, gearing up for the busy Christmas season, purchased more than 15% of all vehicles. Many of these sales were deliveries on tender sales concluded prior to the strike.
Vehicle sales through the dealer channel did show signs of decline, but sales were propped up by the sale of imported cars, which were not affected by the strike.
“The drop in vehicle sales and on-going strikes will also reflect in general business sentiment,” said Hamman. “Most of the recent industry barometers put sentiment in negative territory, which will in turn influence future vehicle purchases.”
“Fuel prices remain a favourite topic of discussion. We have noted increased interest in our leading hybrid technology, especially since we introduced our Yaris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid models,” said Hamman.
Another positive change in vehicle sales is the general good performance in the medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicle market. Commercial vehicles are generally assembled from imported component-sets and as such these operations have been able to restart despite the component manufacturing strike.