Export sales, such as this batch of Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans bound for the United States, reflected a decline of 4364 or 16.1 percent.

Johannesburg - New vehicle sales in South Africa dropped by 1.5 percent in July, compared to July 2013.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA said on Friday aggregate new vehicle sales in July 2014 were 57 670 compared to the 58 561 vehicles sold in July the previous year - a decline of 891.

“Export sales were impacted by the steel industry strike, and total vehicle exports at 22 773 reflected a decline of 4364 or 16.1 percent compared to the 27 137 vehicles exported in July 2013,” it said.

“The high incidence of industrial action experienced in South Africa over the past year proved severely damaging to the SA economy at a time when South Africa urgently required stronger growth, faster employment creation and a narrowing of the current account and fiscal deficits.”

Of the sales reported in July, 78.8 percent were dealer sales, 14.2 percent were sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.7 percent to industry corporate fleets, and 3.3 percent to government.


Naamsa said the domestic new vehicle sales showed resilience despite indications of slower economic growth, high levels of industrial action, rising inflationary pressures and an increase in interest rates.

It said the domestic market would face headwinds over the short to medium term in contrast to developments internationally which were characterised by expanding vehicle sales in China, the United States and Europe.

“Barring further industrial relations instability and assuming the resumption of normal production levels, the expected improvement in global economic conditions should benefit SA vehicle exports during the balance of 2014 and in 2015.”

Naamsa said the outlook for the South African automotive sector for the balance of 2014 would prove challenging.

The domestic environment was characterised by relatively low economic growth and rising interest rates, and above-inflation new vehicle price increases would not be conducive to growth in new vehicle sales, it said.