The recovery of the South African new-vehicle market remains largely subdued, due to continued stock shortages, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Picture: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters.
The recovery of the South African new-vehicle market remains largely subdued, due to continued stock shortages, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Picture: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters.

Vehicle sales recovery hampered by stock shortages

By BR Reporter Time of article published Apr 20, 2021

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THE RECOVERY of the South African new-vehicle market remains largely subdued, due to continued stock shortages, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. This is according to Motus Retail and Rental chief executive Corné Venter.

Venter said March saw the total reported industry sales counter stop at 44 217 vehicles, with 40 963 units attributed to dealer sales.

Motus is a non-manufacturing business in the automotive sector.

“Consumers have an appetite for new vehicles, especially in the entry-level, crossover and SUV segments, and although we are seeing growth, we have not been able to convert all the interest into sales, due to global new-vehicle stock shortages,” he said.

According to Motus, the top-selling passenger cars in March were the Volkswagen Polo Vivo (1 913 units), the Volkswagen Polo (1 831 units), Toyota Urban Cruiser (977 units), Toyota Fortuner (966 units) and Hyundai Venue (944 units).

“Even though both Toyota and Hyundai reported higher volumes compared to February, the overall passenger car race was won by Volkswagen, who sold a total of 5 787 vehicles in March, followed by Toyota with 4 726 vehicles,” said the retailer.

Motus stated that in the light commercial segment, the Toyota Hilux once again walked away as the clear leader, retailing 3 943 units for the month. It was followed by the Ford Ranger (2 416 units) Isuzu D-Max (1 606 units), Nissan NP200 (1 443 units) and the Toyota Hi-Ace (1 399 units).

Winners and losers

According to Motus, the biggest winners in terms of market share gained were Suzuki with 3.4%, Hyundai Automotive South Africa with 1.35%, and BMW with 1%.

The biggest market share losses were recorded for Ford, which lost 2.1%, Volkswagen which lost 1.65%, and Mercedes-Benz, which surrendered 1.3% of their market share to competitors. “All three these brands produce vehicles locally,” it said.

Looking ahead

The retailer said after a bumper start to the year, with a myriad of new car launches, April was quiet when it came to the arrival of new models.

“Ford’s Everest Sport and Ranger FX4 models will be making their way on to showroom floors, while Hyundai will finally be launching the much-anticipated new Santa Fe,” it said.

National Association of Automobile Manufacturers chief executive Mikel Mabasa said: “Structural constraints, which exist in the economy, coupled with the growing debt of the country, do not bode well for a quick recovery of the motor industry.

“New vehicle sales in 2021 may also be hampered by stock shortages of certain models in the coming months, caused by Covid-19-induced manufacturing supply chain disruptions, such as the current global shortage of semiconductors, which are an important part of modern vehicles.”

Motus said the hurdles to obtaining new stock were echoed by dealerships within its group. “New-vehicle stock is still not freely available, and the luxury vehicle market remains tough, mainly due to the stock mix,” it said.

Motus said that with only 19 working days in April, it expected a decline in total dealer sales of about 7 percent compared with the same month in pre-Covid 2019. However, this number could be further negatively impacted by the lack of new car stock.

Fanie Fanie Kleynhans, the managing director of Auto Pedigree, a significant player in the pre-owned vehicle market, supported these sentiments, saying he expected a decline of at least 10 percent in April compared with March.

“Due to the public holidays, this month only kicked off on the 6th, and with more public holidays towards the end of the month, trading days are reduced to only 19 days. Also, April’s performance will be impacted by the ongoing shortage of ex-rental and pre-owned vehicle stock,” he said.

“Demand most certainly outstrips new vehicle supply in the market as a result of component shortages, and will continue to do so for some time. Given that Motus Importers have managed to secure new-vehicle stock, our importer pipeline will enable us to soon normalise supply to the market,” said Venter.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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