Johannesburg – After taking a significant plunge in April, new vehicle sales were closer to normality in May, albeit still slightly down on the same month last year.
According to Naamsa, a total of 42 912 new vehicles found homes during May, which was 2.6 percent down year-on-year, with passenger cars declining by 2.5 percent and light commercial vehicles falling by a mere 1.5 percent. Medium and heavy commercials took bigger knocks of 13.6 and 10 percent respectively.
Exports were down 12 percent, although that is off a very high base, with last May having been the second biggest export month ever.
Commenting on the outlook for domestic sales for the remainder of the year, Naamsa said current polarised political situation made things rather uncertain, with the best case scenario being that vehicle sales would remain largely flat, presuming that there are no further downgrades, interest rate hikes or currency knocks.
Wesbank said that buyers are becoming more uncertain, with its own data showing an increase in the average deal duration, longer replacement cycles and increased demand for fixed interest rates.
On last month’s sales numbers Wesbank's brand head Rudolf Mahoney said: “May had a favourable calendar for sales, with four more working days than April and one more working day than the same period last year. Yet despite this, overall sales declined. We can only attribute this to uncertainty among buyers.”
Standard Bank said it also expects the pressure on new vehicle sales to remain for at least the balance of 2017, while May’s figures showed a continuation of the move towards used vehicles, something that’s not likely to change in the short to medium term.
On the actual sales charts, Ford’s Ranger narrowly beat the Toyota Hilux for the second month in a row, with 2875 sales versus 2758 – see the top 10 ranking below. On the passenger car front, Volkswagen's Polo Vivo enjoyed its usual strong lead, while the Polo lost momentum, possibly due to VWSA gearing up to build the new version, due early next year. Renault's Kwid continued to surprise, ranking sixth with 738 sales and showing that the market is hungry for affordable but trendy-looking vehicles.SALES CHANNELS
|1. Ford Ranger||2875|
|2. Toyota Hilux||2758|
|3. Isuzu KB||1221|
|4. Chevrolet Utility||1159|
|5. Nissan NP200||1140|
|6. Nissan NP300 Hardbody||768|
|7. Volkswagen Amarok||339|
|8. Toyota Land Cruiser PU||203|
|9. Nissan Navara||110|
|10. Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up||82|
SOME POPULAR PASSENGER CARS*
|Volkswagen Polo Vivo||1955|
* Full ranking not possible as Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Mercedes do not report individual sales figures.