New car sales slowed down 3.1% in March. Photo: AP

PRETORIA – The decline in the new vehicle market since the beginning of the year continued last month, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Monday. 

The latest statistics show that 47,718 units were sold in March this year compared to 49,230 vehicles sold in March last year, a decline of 1,512 units or 3.1 percent. 

Naamsa said the lower passenger car sales, however, had again been offset by fairly strong commercial vehicle sales numbers. 

But export sales had again registered strong growth, reflecting a substantial improvement of 7,135 vehicles or a gain of 23,7 percent compared to the 30,161 vehicles exported in March last year.

Naamsa said that prospects for domestic new vehicle sales, particularly the new car market, would continue to be affected by the depressed current macro-economic environment and enduring pressure on household disposable income. 

The association said that higher food, fuel and electricity prices, a weaker exchange rate against all major currencies and load shedding continued to dampen already low levels of business and consumer confidence further during March 2019, weighing on demand. 

African News Agency (ANA)