Johannesburg - The number of new vehicles sold declined by 3.14 percent in February, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Monday.
Passenger vehicles were the main contributor to the drop, contracting by 7.62 percent to 36,666.
A total of 53,220 vehicles were sold in February, compared to 54,948 in January.
However, compared to February 2012, sales rose by 1.59 percent.
Light commercial vehicle sales increased by 6.49 percent to 14,190 while those of medium commercial vehicle rose by 22.77 percent to 868.
Heavy commercial vehicle sales registered a month-to-month increase of 27.49 percent to 422.
Sales of buses recorded the highest increase, of 155.81 percent.
A total of 110 buses were sold in February, compared to the previous month's 43.
Naamsa said the total number of exports increased by 58.77 percent, with 27,611 vehicles exported from South Africa in February, compared to 17,391 in January.
The highest increase was among medium commercial vehicles, which increased 1200 percent from three vehicles last month to 39 in February.
Passenger vehicle exports increased by 62 percent to 16,524.
Standard Bank vehicle asset finance head Sydney Soundy said the trend over the past three years was that February was on average the sixth-lowest month in sales volumes.
“If this trend was to continue in 2013, we would therefore have another six months in this year that will record higher sales than this month (February) numbers. This would augur well for sales growth in 2013.”
He said the 2013 vehicle sales might be boosted by a low interest rate environment and total vehicle price inflation, which had risen at lower rates than Consumer Price Inflation.
However, Soundy said the forecast GDP growth of 2.5 percent for 2013 could result in subdued growth in vehicle sales.
Other cost pressures on consumers' disposable income would come from increases in food prices, fuel and electricity. - Sapa