PRETORIA: Wednesday, September 01, 2021 | In releasing the August 2021 new vehicle sales statistics, naamsa | The Automotive Business Council said that the new vehicle market recovered from the economic disruptions caused by the unrest in July 2021 but that the knock-on effects of the disruptions as well as the cyberattack on Transnet operations were still visible on vehicle exports during August. For the month under review, aggregate domestic new vehicle sales were 41,425 units, reflecting an increase of 8,166 units, or 24,6%, from the 33,259 vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year. Export sales recorded a decline of 3,583 units, or 15,6%, to 19,446 units this year compared to the 23,029 vehicles exported at the same time last year.
Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 41,425 vehicles, an estimated 34,620 units, or 83,6%, represented dealer sales, an estimated 12,0% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 2,5% to industry corporate fleets, and 1,9% sales to government. The August 2021 new passenger car market at 27,157 units had registered an increase of 7,822 cars, or a gain of 40,5%, compared to the 19,335 new cars sold last year. The car rental industry supported the new passenger car market during the month and accounted for a sound 14,2% of car sales in August 2021.
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 11,749 units during August 2021 had recorded an increase of 407 units, or a gain of 3,6%, from the 11,342 light commercial vehicles sold during August 2020. Sales for medium and heavy truck segments of the industry reflected a weak performance and at 719 units and 1,800 units, respectively, showed a decline of 56 units, or 7,2% in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses a decline of 7 vehicles, or a fall of 0,4%, compared to the corresponding month last year. The August 2021 exports sales number at 19,446 units reflected a fall of 3,583 vehicles, or 15,6%, compared to the 23,029 vehicles exported in August 2020. However, for the year-to-date, vehicle exports were still 37,7% ahead of the same period last year.
The return of the adjusted Level 3 lockdown regulations and the improvement to civil stability supported the new vehicle market’s gradual recovery during the month. Positive factors that will stimulate the inevitable new vehicle demand include the positive macro-economic outlook, rejuvenation of rental fleets, subdued consumer price inflation, and interest rates to remain at historically low levels for the foreseeable future.
However, business and consumer confidence will continue to challenge the industry’s recovery over the short to medium term. Household finances, impacting consumers’ disposable income, remains under pressure while the global semi-conductor shortages continue to negatively affect vehicle production and consequently the availability of premium models, in particular, nationally and internationally.
Although the knock-on effects of the economic disruptions caused by the civil unrest in July 2021 and the cyberattack on Transnet operations negatively impacted on the industry’s export performance during the month, the domestic automotive industry will continue to benefit from the strong rebound in global economic activity in 2021 and the favourable conditions abroad.