South Africa's Automotive Sector Shows Resilience with Improving Sales Figures
Brandon Cohen, National Chairperson of NADA

Brandon Cohen, Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), has commented on the recent uptick in new vehicle sales in South Africa, marking a notable improvement compared to the same period last year.

Despite challenges faced, the industry has demonstrated resilience, as highlighted in the latest sales data issued by naamsa I The Automotive Business Council.

In April, total industry retail sales reached 38,172 units, reflecting a 2.2% increase over the previous year's figure of 37,358 units. Almost 90% of these sales were facilitated through dealer retail channels. Notably, the passenger car market experienced a commendable 6% growth, accompanied by improvements in the sales of medium and heavy trucks. However, there was a 9% decline in the volume of light commercial vehicles.

"This upturn is particularly significant given the eight consecutive months of sales decline that preceded it, marking a promising development for the industry," commented Cohen.

He emphasised the resilience of this performance, especially considering the challenging timing of April preceding a national and regional general election, during which many potential buyers were apprehensive.

Cohen pointed out that further analysis reveals a more nuanced perspective on the recent increase in new vehicle sales. When comparing April 2024 to March 2024, a clearer picture emerges, shedding light on the underlying dynamics of the market. Despite the industry typically focusing on year-on-year comparisons from April 2023 to April 2024, it's crucial to consider this juxtaposition.

March 2024 faced its own set of challenges, including public and school holidays, as well as issues like load shedding and higher fuel pricing. Despite these obstacles, March 2024 managed to outperform April 2024, so all eyes will be on sales going forward.

This comparison underscores the ongoing resilience of the automotive industry in navigating adverse conditions and sustaining sales momentum. It highlights the need for a comprehensive understanding of market fluctuations, acknowledging both year-on-year trends and month-to-month variations, while taking into account the realities of a difficult current consumer market anticipating the upcoming elections on the 29th of May.

"The industry's ability to weather challenges and exhibit year-on-year comparative growth amidst adversity is commendable. Our focus remains on leveraging data insights to inform strategic decisions and drive continued progress," stated Cohen.

“As the industry navigates evolving landscapes and adapts to changing consumer behaviours, we continue to see new vehicle sales around the 40,000 plus mark.”

Cohen concluded by expressing optimism for the future, anticipating continued resilience and adaptation within South Africa's automotive sector.

NADA is a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).