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SA vehicle sales bounce back in September

After a disappointing month for new vehicle sales in the Southern African Customs Union in August, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) announced this week that sales rebounded sharply in September. Sales in the other SACU member countries excluding South Africa, contribute about 7% to the total. Naamsa said, “The latest industry sales figures reflected a remarkably strong performance with sales in all sectors showing above average increases compared to the corresponding month last year. “Domestic new vehicle sales despite subdued economic growth and pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes for September 2014 of 60,854 units reflect a substantial improvement of 6283 vehicles or a gain of 11.5% compared to the 54,571 vehicles sold in September last year.” “Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 15,179 units reflect an improvement of 3009 units or 24.7% compared to the 12,170 units sold in September last year. “Compared to the corresponding month last year, sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments at 904 units and 1853 units respectively, reflect a modest improvement of 1%. The strength in heavy truck sales was encouraging and suggested improved investment sentiment.” Meanwhile, the improvement in overall new vehicle sales and export sales was encouraging, but NAAMSA said it was advisable to retain a cautious position regarding the outlook for the automotive sector for the balance of 2014

. “Lower economic growth, recent increases in interest rates, the possibility of a further interest rate hike before year-end and above inflation new vehicle price rises would combine to ensure that the new vehicle sales trading environment would remain difficult,” said NAAMSA. Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 60,854 vehicles, 74.5% represented dealer sales, 17.3% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.1% to industry corporate fleets and 4.1% to government. Assisted by a near record contribution by the car rental industry, which accounted for 23.5% of all new cars sold during September, the latest monthly new car market had performed above expectations and at 42,918 units reflected a welcome improvement of 2997 vehicles or a gain of 7.5% compared to the 39,921 new cars sold in September last year. “It was for the first time in 2014 that new car sales had registered year on year growth and the improvement could be attributed to a combination of factors, including attractive incentive packages, general pre-emptive buying in anticipation of further new vehicle price increases on the back of a weakening Rand, relatively strong corporate purchases, replacement demand and the strong contribution by the car rental sector,” NAAMSA said.

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