Johannesburg - South Africa’s new vehicle market kicked the year off on a sombre note, with January’s sales taking a 7.4 percent plunge versus the same month last year, from 45 772 units to 42 374.
Passenger vehicle sales declined by 10.8 percent, year-on-year, according to Naamsa, while light commercial sales remained flat and the medium commercial market actually showed some decent growth at 24.6 percent.
This rocky start to the domestic sales year comes as no surprise, according to WesBank’s sales and marketing head Ghana Msibi.
“We expect the first half to be slow given the increased pressure on household budgets as interest rates slowly increase and, especially, the political uncertainty towards the May elections.
“We have seen steady increases in deal duration, which continues to impact new vehicle sales as consumers hold onto their cars for over 12% longer than they did in September 2017,” Msibi added.
“Given the economic environment, it is prudent for consumers to delay their vehicle purchases within the practical considerations of maintenance costs and reliability.”
Naamsa is hopeful that the vehicle market will show some improvement in the second half of 2018.
“Hopefully, post-election policy reforms and government’s commitment to revitalise the South African economy with the aim of achieving a substantially higher economic growth rate should translate into improved domestic sales numbers during the second half of 2019,” Naamsa said.
Vehicle exports got off to a better start, with January seeing a 29.4 percent year-on-year growth, to 18 289 units. What’s more, export sales are poised to increase substantially during the course of 2019, according to Naamsa, which predicts that overall export volumes will increase from 351 139 vehicles in 2018 to around 385 000 in 2019.
TOP 50 VEHICLE SALES: JANUARY 2019
|Volkswagen Polo Vivo||2461|
|Isuzu D-Max / KB||1092|
|Hyundai Grand i10||867|
|Nissan NP300 Hardbody||621|
|Hyundai H100 Bakkie||283|
|Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up||266|
|Toyota Land Cruiser PU||228|