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Vehicle sales speed ahead

New vehicle sales statistics for the month of January, 2012 released on Thursday by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) shows that new car and commercial vehicle sales started the year on a subdued but positive note.
Aggregate Industry sales, including the total numbers by Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), had improved by 3 144 units or 7.0% to 48 251 vehicles from 45 107 units in January last year.
Overall, out of the total detailed reported industry sales of 45 944 (excluding MBSA) vehicles, 79.1 % or 36 354 units represented dealer sales, 12.8% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.7 % sales to government and 3.4 % to industry corporate fleet sales.
Aggregate industry new car sales during January 2012 at 35 428 units (including MBSA) reflected an improvement of 2 465 units or 7.5 % compared to the 32 963 new cars sold during January 2011. The January, 2012 new car market represented the highest January month in the past five years and had received support from strong demand by car rental companies with the car rental Industry accounting for about 17.0 % of total new car sales.
NAAMSA said the absence of MBSA commercial vehicle sales data by segment makes year on year comparisons difficult.
“The focus therefore, for the time being, will be on total commercial vehicle sales,” NAAMSA said in a statement.
Industry total commercial vehicle sales during January, 2012 at 12 394 units showed an improvement of 250 units or 2.1 % compared to the 12 144 units of the corresponding month last year.
Exports of South African produced motor vehicles, excluding MBSA export sales data, during January, 2012 at 10 445 vehicles had registered an improvement of 260 units or 2.6 % compared to the 10 185 vehicles (including MBSA export data) during January last year.
The latest monthly export figure reflected the fact that automotive factories only resumed operations from the middle of January, 2012. Export sales were expected to improve from February onwards.
The Industry’s export sales performance would however depend on the direction of the global economy and the contribution of new export programmes by manufacturers. South Africa currently exports vehicles to 77 countries worldwide.
Export sales to Europe were likely to soften as a result of the recession and debt crisis in the Eurozone, however, projected higher exports to African countries and factoring in the contribution of the Ford global compact vehicle export programme – should enable the Industry to record growth and exceed the total number of vehicle exports of 271 763 units in 2011.
Going forward, NAAMSA said the outlook for 2012 in terms of total industry sales remained one of modest growth.
“Factors that would lend support to the domestic market included the ongoing improvement in the financial position of consumers on the back of relatively low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, the highly competitive trading environment and new model introductions.
As a result, domestic sales were expected to continue to reflect growth, but at a relatively subdued rate.
“The direction of the global economy remained uncertain and international markets were characterised by volatility and turbulence. This could impact on future export sales.”

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