New vehicle sales rising despite stock shortages
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Vehicle sales in September reflected growing consumer confidence and provided some reassurance for a stronger final quarter, said Wesbank’s head of marketing and communication Lebogang Gaoaketse.
Nevertheless, while the new vehicle market continued to recover gradually last month, the knock-on effects of the looting in July, and a cyberattack on Transnet, had a marked impact on export sales, which fell 57 percent year-on-year in September, the Automotive Business Council said on Friday.
Domestic new vehicle sales increased 15.8 percent in September, to 43 130 units, compared to 37 237 vehicles sold in September 2020.
Export sales fell to 16 188 units, compared to the 28 390 vehicles exported in September 2020.
The new vehicle market’s recovery in September was in line with the country’s return to adjusted Level 2 lockdown regulations and overall enhanced business and consumer sentiment, the council said in a statement.
Out of the total reported industry sales of 43 130 vehicles, an estimated 35 684 units, or 82.7 percent, represented dealer sales; 12.4 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry; 2.5 percent sales to government; and, 2.4 percent to corporate fleets.
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles (LCV), bakkies and minibuses fell by 10.9 percent to 10 943 units during September 2021.
Gaoaketse said stock availability in the new vehicle market remained stressed, forcing some consumers into the pre-owned market, and the LCV market was most impacted by that stock situation. There was also a noticeable lack of government volume (down 64 percent) impacting the segment, he said.
The new passenger car market rose 30.5 percent in September, to 29 538 units. The car rental industry supported the new passenger car market during the month, and accounted for a solid 16.8 percent of the car sales in September.
Despite the monthly decline in vehicle exports for the year-to-date, vehicle exports were still 22.7 percent ahead of the same period last year.
“Demand is starting to pick up, with consumers, businesses and rental companies returning to the market. However, many Covid-19 disruptive elements remain in play and prevailing market conditions have been hampered by higher logistics costs and supply chain disruptions, such as the global semi-conductor shortages impacting on the availability of certain models,” the council said.
Analysts projected that vehicle production losses due to a shortage of computer chips used in modern vehicles could be between 6.3 and 7.1 million vehicles for 2021, and it was expected that the shortages would spill over until the middle of next year before stabilising.
“However, it is encouraging that new vehicle demand seems to outstrip supply at present and the outlook for the balance of the year looks positive,” the council said.
“Much will depend on the last quarter of the year’s export performance on how quickly the industry could return to pre-Covid-19 record vehicle export levels,” it said.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE