Johannesburg - The positive growth curve that the South African motor industry has enjoyed so far in 2021 came to an abrupt halt in July. According to industry body Naamsa, the new vehicle market was hindered by the looting in Kwa-Zulu Natal and parts of Gauteng, as well as the adjusted Level 4 lockdown and the cyberattack on Transnet, which affected both exports and imports.
According to Naamsa, a total of 32 949 vehicles were sold in South Africa last month, which represented a 15.4 percent decline versus June 2021. There was at least a small improvement of 1,7 percent over July 2020, although that comes off a low base given that back then the economy was still reeling from the first Covid wave and the associated uncertainty.
Given the aforementioned Transnet complications, exports suffered a far bigger blow in July 2021, decreasing by 33.1 percent year-on-year to 16 931 units.
On the local market, the passenger car market showed some encouraging signs, with sales for this segment increasing by 9.1 percent, something Naamsa attributes to rebounding rental sales, while the light commercial vehicle market saw a decline of 8.1 percent versus July 2020.
As you no doubt would have expected by now, Toyota dominated the local market by a fairly wide margin:
Top 10 vehicle manufacturers
Toyota - 8320
Volkswagen - 5078
Hyundai - 2698
Ford - 2360
Nissan - 2354
Suzuki - 1532
Haval - 1525
Renault - 1522
Kia - 1501
Isuzu - 1193
According to Naamsa, the aforementioned riots and Level 4 lockdown left a major scar on South Africa’s economy, with the ABSA Purchasing Manufacturers’ Index showing that the magnitude of the monthly decline was actually worse than that seen during April 2020’s hard lockdown.
“The devastating economic impact and unintended consequences of these actions not only caused a
setback in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic but could prolong the economic recovery process
and also have a lasting impact on the country’s challenges of dealing with poverty, inequality, and
unemployment,” said Naamsa CEO Mikel Mabasa.
“However, South Africans once again showed their goodwill and social solidarity during these challenging times. With the calm returning to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, the country moving to adjusted alert level 3 lockdown restrictions and the accelerated roll out of the vaccinations, the gradual recovery in the new vehicle market is anticipated to continue for the remainder of the year,” Mabasa added.