Light Commercial Vehicle sales enjoy double-digit year-on-year growth in January

New vehicle sales in 2022 close in on pre–Covid levels; 5% growth expected in 2023.

New vehicle sales are continuing on an upward trajectory, cementing the outlook for 2023 which indicates a growing market, despite pressures throughout the macroeconomic environment.

According to naamsa, in January 2023, new vehicle sales (44 082 units) were 6.2% up on January 2022 and 5.7% ahead of December 2022 sales. Passenger vehicle sales grew by 4.8% year-on-year in January to 31 651 units, while Light Commercial Vehicles sales jumped by 10.4%, reaching 10 623 units, when compared with December 2022.

New vehicle sales

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Overall sales for the full year of 2022 were 14.0% higher than 2021, and 39.3% above sales in 2020.

Commenting on the data, Jaco van Staden, Head of Sales at Lightstone Auto, says, “Probably more significantly, new vehicle sales in 2022 were only 1.3% behind the full year’s volume in 2019, suggesting the market has almost recovered to pre-Covid levels. naamsa reported a total of 529 562 units sold between January and December, around 84.3% of which represented dealer sales.”

Passenger vehicle sales were up 19.5% year-on-year for the 12 months, while sales of LCVs grew 2.0% compared to 2021. The car rental industry accounted for an estimated 14.2% of new Passenger car sales in 2022, ahead of the 13.7% share in 2021, as well as the 9.4% share in 2020, when rental companies were looking to de-fleet as a result of limited tourism opportunities during the pandemic.

January to December – Passenger and Light Commercial new vehicle sales

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“The outlook for 2023 indicates a growing market, despite pressures throughout the macroeconomic environment, with GDP projected to produce lower levels of growth in 2023 than 2022 and the Rand expected to weaken against major global currencies.”

Headline consumer inflation is projected to drop back within the Reserve Bank’s 3% – 6% target range and the Reserve Bank is likely to slow down the current cycle of interest rate hikes. There are also, however, signs that the global semi–conductor shortage is easing and manufacturers will be able to resume normal production.

“Anticipated new vehicle sales for 2023 currently sit at around 554 000 units, of which 523 000 are Light Vehicles (Passenger and Light Commercial). Overall, growth in new vehicle sales is expected to end 2023 in the region of 5%.” says van Staden.

New vehicle sales – 2018 to 2023

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Market observations for 2022

The Crossover segment (which includes the Haval Jolion, Toyota Corolla Cross and Volkswagen T-Cross) was the largest Light Vehicle (Passenger & LCV markets) segment in South Africa in 2022, with 121 025 new units sold – of which 88.6% were dealer sales, and 8.2% reported through the rental channel.

This was the first year that the Crossover segment was the biggest selling LV segment in South Africa.

Sales for the Crossover segment for the full year increased by 49% in 2022, which in turn was 69% ahead of the segment total for 2021. This also makes the Crossover segment the best performing Light Vehicle segment in terms of sales growth. Over the full 12 months of 2022, the Crossover segment made up 24% of all Light Vehicle sales, up from the 19% market share in 2021.

The second-best performing segment in terms of volume was the Entry segment (including Renault Kwid, Toyota Starlet and VW Polo Vivo) with 90 027 units sold during 2022, up 7% on 2021.

The Medium segment (which includes Audi A4, BMW 3 Series & Lexus ES) was the second most improved segment, as year-on-year sales jumped by 38% from 2021.

Light Vehicle Segments – share of Light Vehicle market (January – December)

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