Johannesburg - Overall year-on-year new car and commercial vehicle sales rose by 7.3 percent in November, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

A further 3636 units were sold by the industry, pushing vehicle sales to 53,636 units for the month, from 49,498 units for the same period a year ago.

“Total domestic sales for the eleven months of calendar year 2012 remained 9.8 percent ahead of the corresponding eleven months in 2011,” Naamsa said.

Export sales registered a substantial increase of 8088 units, or 39.5 percent.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) provides a single total sales number for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and export sales.

Based on historical sales trends and forecasting techniques, Naamsa's data processors compiled estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment.

Out of the total reported sales of 50,736 vehicles (excluding MBSA), 82.6 percent or 41,929 units represented dealer sales.

A further 6.9 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 6.2 percent to government and 4.3 percent to corporate fleets.

Aggregate industry new car sales during November performed well, said Naamsa.

At 36,686 units (including MBSA), they reflected an improvement of 3615 units or 10.9 percent compared to the 33,071 new cars sold during November 2011.

This was despite the lower number of sales to car rental companies.

“Year to date new car sales remained 11.6 percent ahead of the corresponding eleven months of 2011,” Naamsa said.

Including estimates for MBSA, sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses fell by 1.3 percent or 183 units year-on-year to reach 13,949 units during November.

Medium heavy truck sales increased by 59 units or by seven percent to reach an estimated 902 units, compared to the corresponding month in 2011.

Heavy truck and bus segment sales increased by 10 percent, or 145 units, to reach 1597 units.

Exports, including MBSA export sales data, registered an impressive increase of 8088 units or 39.5 percent, compared to the 20,453 vehicles exported in November 2011. Total exports reached 28,541 vehicles.

“Year to date export sales were 1.5 percent above the corresponding eleven months of 2011,” said Naamsa.

The momentum of vehicle exports was expected to improve in 2013

as export programmes were ramped up.

Exports of light commercial vehicles were expected to increase substantially.

“Despite signs of weakness in the economy, the performance of the South African automotive sector continues to be positive,” said Naamsa.

Historically low interest rates, strong replacement demand and a highly competitive trading environment continued to support domestic sales.

Attractive incentives and new model introductions also supported the market.

In terms of aggregate domestic sales, the industry remained on track during 2012 for growth of around 10 percent.

Negative factors that could influence the new vehicle market over the medium term included a slow-down in the economy, rising inflationary pressures and the impact of exchange rate weakness.

The modest new vehicle price increases experienced for the past two years might not be sustainable going forward, Naamsa warned.

“The outlook for 2013, at this stage, was one of modest growth in vehicle volume terms - probably in the range of six to eight percent,” it said. - Sapa