The continuing strike in the South African motor manufacturing industry significantly dented locally produced vehicle exports last month but had only a muted impact on domestic sales because of vehicle stock already at dealerships.
New vehicle exports slumped by almost 23 percent last month to 19 284 vehicles from the 25 024 vehicles exported in August last year.
Nico Vermeulen, the executive director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), said yesterday that this could be attributed to the current strike at the seven major manufacturing plants and further production losses would be reflected in anticipated lower export numbers this month.
Annual projected industry export sales numbers would be revised downwards as a result.
Vermeulen added that one of the negative consequences of the current strike action was that it undermined South Africa’s status as a reliable supplier to international export markets and could negatively affect future export contracts being awarded to locally based automotive manufacturers.
“Labour stability represented a key consideration in decisions by multinational corporations to allocate vehicles for production in South Africa. Unless the strike action is settled in the next few days, the damage to future prospects and on foreign investment sentiment could be far reaching and take years to re-address,” he said.
New passenger car sales fell 3.7 percent year on year to 38 892 units last month.
Year-on-year sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses grew by 5.3 percent to 14 376 units, medium commercial vehicles by 24 percent to 1 038 units and heavy trucks and buses by about 29 percent to 1 809 units.
Vermeulen said the full negative impact of the strike would be reflected in the domestic and export sales figures for this month. – Roy Cokayne