Johannesburg - It's been a dismal start to the year for the South African motor industry, with overall vehicle sales amounting to just 39 475 units in January 2020, which represents an 8.1 percent decline over the same month last year, Naamsa said.
However, the month’s sales numbers were skewed by the unavailability of BMW’s sales figures due to the implementation of a new sales reporting model, and WesBank estimates that the actual decline would have been closer to 5.2 percent if we factored in the carmaker’s likely sales tally based on historical data.
Crunching the segment numbers, however, it was the bakkie market that took the biggest hit last month, with light commercial vehicles registering a worrying year-on-year decline of 16.3 percent, while passenger car sales fell by 5.1 percent despite a relatively strong contribution by the rental car industry, which accounted for 17.6 percent of the pie.
The medium and heavy commercial vehicle markets saw respective declines of 8.0 percent and 2.6 percent versus January 2019.
Naamsa added that export sales were down by 37.7 percent year-on-year, although the organisation expects momentum to improve over the course of 2020, to more or less match 2019’s year-end tally of 387 125 units.
Load shedding = sales shedding
As for domestic sales, Naamsa expects the new vehicle market to face further consolidation in 2020, at least until such a time as the country breaks out of its low-growth trap. That said, the likelihood of more regular load shedding in the foreseeable future means that any meaningful growth is unlikely to be on the cards any time soon.
While the recent 0.25 percent interest rate cut is seen as a positive for the industry, it didn’t stimulate sales in January, however WesBank’s marketing head Lebogang Gaoaketse is positive that the rate cut will set a more optimistic tone for the industry this year.
“Reassuringly, we have seen a slow but constant shift towards new vehicle sales over the past 12 months, lowering the used:new car ratio in the WesBank book,” Gaoaketse added. “This bodes well for new vehicle industry sales during 2020, albeit under on-going strain.”
Polo Vivo takes the lead
In line with the softer trend for LCVs, Volkswagen’s Polo Vivo overtook the Toyota Hilux as South Africa’s best-selling vehicle in January, with the new-generation Polo following in third and Ford’s Ranger in fourth.
Renault’s Kwid continued to light up the budget car sales charts with another month above the magical 1000 mark, while Suzuki’s Swift managed a better-than-usual 824 units to land it in ninth spot overall.
50 TOP SELLING VEHICLES: JANUARY 2020
1Volkswagen Polo Vivo28112Toyota Hilux26813Volkswagen Polo17614Ford Ranger 17355Ford EcoSport11326Renault Kwid10107Toyota Corolla Quest9988Nissan NP2009679Suzuki Swift82410Toyota Hiace77711Volkswagen T-Cross76412Ford Figo72213Hyundai Grand i1069714Isuzu D-Max67215Nissan Hardbody NP30066116Toyota Etios62217Toyota Fortuner61118Volkswagen Tiguan54619Renault Clio50620Volkswagen Polo Sedan50321Renault Sandero47922Hyundai i2043923Toyota Yaris43924Renault Duster37125Kia Picanto37026Hyundai Venue36727Hyundai Tucson36228Toyota Avanza 35529Mazda CX-535330Toyota Rav433731Datsun Go33132Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up32933Kia Seltos32034Mazda CX-3 30235Kia Rio28536Volkswagen Golf 726537Ford Everest24738Hyundai H100 Bakkie24039Toyota Land Cruiser PU23040Hyundai Atos22941Mazda222642Kia Sportage20843Hyundai Creta20744Suzuki Jimny18945Nissan X-Trail18246GWM Steed17247Mahindra KUV16648Volkswagen Amarok16549Suzuki Ertiga15950Honda Amaze156