Vehicle sales registered relatively strong gains in April, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) said on Thursday.
“Aggregate Industry sales had improved by 4 034 units or 10.5% to 42 617 vehicles from 38 583 units in April last year, well above the growth rate in industry total sales of 6.9% for the four months of the year,” said the association.
The figures were strong despite the high number of public holidays over the course of the month.
Exports of South African produced motor vehicles, including MBSA export sales data, during April 2012 at 17 656 vehicles had registered a decline of 2 172 units or 11.0 % compared to the 19 828 vehicles exported during April last year.
“Industry export sales were expected to improve modestly over the balance of the year as the Ford global compact vehicle export programme and the BMW new 3 series export volumes were ramped up. However, the industry’s overall export performance during 2012 would remain a function of the direction of the global economy,” explained Naamsa.
Overall, out of the total detailed (disaggregated) reported industry sales of 40 417 vehicles excluding Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), 90.7 % or 36 671 units represented dealer sales, 4.1% to industry corporate fleet sales, 2.8% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry and 2.4 % sales to government.
“From a seasonal perspective, sales to car rental companies were expected to improve from June, 2012 onwards as the car rental Industry started to re-fleet,” noted Naamsa.
MBSA received a global directive by parent company Daimler AG, Germany instructing it not to report disaggregated sales data for the time being. It will, however, provide a single total sales number for passenger cars and commercial vehicles and export sales.
In April, aggregate industry new car sales performed reasonably well and at 29 517 units (including MBSA) reflecting an improvement of 3 190 units or 12.1 % compared to the 26 327 new cars sold during April 2011.
Naamsa said the year-on-year growth momentum in April new car sales remained 9.1% ahead of the corresponding four months of 2011.
Including estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment – sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 11 028 units during April 2012 showed an increase of 741 units or 7.2% compared to the 10 287 light commercial vehicle sales in April 2011.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry at an estimated 668 and 1 404 units, respectively, had recorded an increase of 74 units or 12.5%, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and a rise of 29 units or 2.1%, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, compared to April 2011.
For the first quarter of 2012, commercial vehicle sales had underperformed the growth in the new car market.”
Vehicle exports into Europe remained under pressure due to the debt crisis in the Eurozone and as a result vehicle export projections had been revised downwards. They now expected to reach about 270 000 vehicles down from 300 000 units originally projected for 2012.
“The outlook for 2012 in terms of total industry sales remained one of modest growth. Factors that would continue to lend support to the domestic market included the on-going improvement in the financial position of consumers, relatively low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, the highly competitive trading environment and new model introductions.”
The continued growth in consumer expenditure and the public sector infrastructural investment would also support domestic new vehicle sales. Domestic sales, said Naamsa, are expected to improve by between 8% and 10%. – BuaNews