Vehicle sales slow in November

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Cars travel on a main road in a traffic jam.

Johannesburg - New vehicle sales slowed during November, reflecting a slowing economy, strike-related supply problems, and moderating consumer demand, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers' of SA (Naamsa) said.

“In the event aggregate November, 2013 domestic new vehicle sales at 50,806 units showed a decline of 2459 vehicles or 4.6

percent from the 53,265 units sold in November last year,” Naamsa said in a statement on its website.

Export sales had also declined year-on-year by 4.8 percent.

Out of the total reported industry sales of 50,768 vehicles, about 83 percent were dealer sales, 8.5 percent were sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.2 percent were sales to industry corporate fleets, and 5.3 percent were sold to government.

During November 2013, a total of 34,267 new cars were sold, representing a relatively steep decline of 2164 units or 5.9 percent fall compared to the 36,431 new cars sold in November last year.

“Supply disruptions due to the car carrier industry strike and a moderation in consumer demand had probably been the main contributors to the lower sales number.

“However, the car rental industry had once again contributed positively to the November sales numbers and accounted for 12.1 percent of new cars sold during the month.”

Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies, and minibuses stood at 13,719 units during November 2013, a decline of 610 units or 4.3 percent compared to the 14,329 light commercial vehicles sold in November last year.

Sales of medium and heavy trucks increased, with 12.7 percent more medium commercial vehicles sold and 12.5 percent more heavy trucks and buses sold compared to the corresponding month last year.

“The continuing strength in sales of trucks was indicative of spending on infrastructural related projects and suggested some improvement in capital investment trends,” Naamsa said.

Industry new vehicle exports declined by 1366 units or 4.8 percent during November 2013, compared to the 28,520 vehicles exported in November last year.

“This was due to the lagged effects of the September and October, 2013 automotive industry strike and the current disruptions, experienced by some exporters, as a result of the ongoing industrial action in the car carrier Industry.”

In early September, National Union of Metalworkers of SA members in the motor and components sector embarked on a four week strike.

Independent Online reported that SA Transport and Allied Workers Union members working for motor ferry firms, which transport vehicles by truck to dealerships and to harbours, went on strike on November 13.

Vehicle exports are expected to gain momentum next year as export programmes are ramped up, and exports of light commercial vehicles in particular are expected to increase substantially in 2014.

“Domestically, expectations of lower economic growth and above-inflation new vehicle price increases would contribute to a more difficult trading environment and further moderation in sales growth momentum.

“Despite a less promising outlook for the automotive sector, the year as a whole would still represent the second or third best year on record in terms of domestic sales,” Naamsa said. - Sapa

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