In amplification of the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of October, 2015 – released today for public consumption on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry – the Association commented that both domestic new vehicle sales and vehicle exports had registered declines compared to the corresponding month last year. However, industry export numbers had been affected by special circumstances.
In the event - October, 2015 aggregate new vehicle sales at 54 244 had declined by 5 091 units or 8.6% from the 59 335 vehicles sold in October last year. Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 54 244 vehicles, an estimated 43 863 units or 80.9% represented dealer sales, 12.2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.5% to industry corporate fleets and 3.4% constituted sales to government. The industry’s export numbers had been affected by special circumstances with the new Ford Ranger in the early stage of its launch phase. The model run out, model run in of the Ford Ranger had accounted for the relatively low industry export numbers. Significant Ford export numbers were expected to materialise over the next few months. Vehicle exports reported by various other manufacturers had also registered declines which suggested the advent of a possible slow down in global markets.
Sales of new cars in the consumer sentiment dependent new car market at 36 175 units reflected a decline of 4 433 units or a fall of 10.9% compared to the 40 608 new cars sold in October last year. Consumers’ disposable income remained under pressure which in turn negatively affected durable goods purchases despite the extremely attractive incentive packages on offer in the industry. Intense competition in the market continued to put pressure on margins throughout the automotive value chain. This trend was likely to continue in the medium term.
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses during October, 2015 at 15 171 vehicles reflected a decline 646 units or a fall of 4.1% compared to the 15 817 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year. Overall, sales of light commercial vehicles continued to hold up well with year to date sales almost at the same level as the sales recorded during the first ten months of 2014.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry reflected a mixed picture. Medium commercial vehicle sales at 1 064 units had recorded a noteworthy improvement of 107 vehicles or a gain of 11.2% compared to the corresponding month last year. On the other hand, heavy commercial vehicle sales at 1 834 vehicles had registered a decline of 119 units or a fall of 6.1% compared to the corresponding month last year.
Industry new vehicle exports at 27 732 units during October, 2015 had registered a decline of 4 467 vehicles or a fall of 13.9% compared to the 32 199 export sales in October, 2014. Vehicle exports for 2015, however, remained on target to reach a record export number of about 335 000. (2014: 276 873 export units).
NAAMSA anticipated that domestic new car and aggregate commercial vehicle sales would remain under pressure into 2016. In contrast, automotive industry vehicle production remained on a strong footing with higher new vehicle export sales continuing to support the industry’s output, thereby contributing positively to South Africa’s balance of payments.