Johannesburg - South Africa’s new vehicle market surged ahead for the fifth consecutive month in October, with an overall gain of 4.6 percent over October last year.
The month saw a total of 51 037 vehicles finding homes, and among these passenger vehicles registered an improvement of 7.9 percent year-on-year to 35 316 units.
Light commercials (13 376) actually registered a modest decline of 1.7 percent over October last year, however, as did the medium and heavy truck and bus segments, down 3.2 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.
The latter is a worrying sign economically, and although the relatively buoyant passenger vehicle sales might seem like a cause for celebration, it’s likely that there are cyclical factors at play here. TransUnion recently commented that a dwindling supply of used vehicles as a consequence of lower new vehicle sales over the past few years is pushing up the price of used vehicles, while new vehicle inflation is slowing for various reasons, luring more buyers into the new car section of the showroom.
However the weakening of the rand following last month’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement has yet to be reflected in car prices, and this could certainly throw a spanner in the works in the coming months, should the currency not bounce back. The higher fuel prices caused by this, and rising international oil prices, will put further pressure on consumers going into 2018.
South Africa’s vehicle export sales took a knock in October, falling 8.3 percent to 28 229 vehicles, but Naamsa attributes this in part to the recent Durban storms, which affected operations in the country's biggest port. Volkswagen’s changeover to the new-generation Polo could also adversely affect exports in the coming months.
Movers and shakers
After many months of losing out to the Toyota Hilux, Ford’s Ranger climbed to the top of the sales charts in October, with 2855 sales, versus its Japanese rival’s 2483. Although still lagging somewhat, Isuzu’s KB has gained some momentum in recent months, rising to around 1400 units a month from a previous average in the region of 1000, which is a good sign for the local Isuzu operation following GM’s divestment.
On the passenger car front, Volkswagen’s locally-assembled hatchbacks continue to sell up a storm ahead of their imminent model changeover, with the Polo Vivo narrowly losing out to the Ford Ranger in the overall sales race, with 2851 sales in October, while the Polo range saw a volume of 1950.
Also in the compact hatch sector, Kia had a strong month with 1020 Picantos and 843 Rios finding homes, while Toyota managed to move 2059 Etios hatches and sedans, more than double the previous month.
Below we’ve listed the top performers in seven key segments, although please note that we have avoided the premium segments due to the fact that Mercedes-Benz and BMW currently do not report individual sales figures.
|Volkswagen Polo Vivo||2851|
|Hyundai Grand i10||366|
|Opel Mokka X||83|
Large Crossover/SUV (Sub-R1-million)
|Toyota Land Cruiser 200||119|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee||46|
|Mitsubishi Pajero Sport||27|
|Nissan NP300 Hardbody||957|
|Hyundai H100 Bakkie||337|
|Toyota Land Cruiser PU||218|
|Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up||169|
Data source: Naamsa