Toyota's Hilux topped the sales charts in March, with 3447 sold.

Technically speaking South Africa’s new vehicle market took a slight turn for the better in March, improving by 2.1 percent year-on-year, but recent political events have put dark clouds of uncertainty over the entire local economy, making it impossible to observe any meaningful trends.

Like virtually all commentators, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) predicts that these recent political events could result in far-reaching consequences for the country’s economy. This has already led to a credit rating downgrade by S&P (with others possibly to follow), while a deep recession and a significantly weaker rand remain risks in the medium to long term. Given what a dire effect all of this would have on the vehicle industry, Naamsa has, for the time being, decided to suspend its usual projections for the local vehicle industry.

However, before former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was ousted during one of the biggest cabinet reshuffles in history, the industry had been showing some green shoots, with gains in January and March after years of sales declines. Last month’s 2.1 percent increase came despite below-normal rental sales, which made up just 6.7 percent of the month’s 48 534 total.

“March’s sales performance is indicative of the positive sentiment in the economy during the past month. There were a few contributing factors, including a strong Rand and falling fuel prices,” said Wesbank’s Rudolf Mahoney. “However, this positivity is going to be short-lived. The current political climate has introduced massive uncertainty in all South African markets. Both business and consumer confidence have been shaken, and this will filter through to the ratings agencies as well,” said Mahoney.

SALES CHANNELS

Dealerships 88.1 percent
Rental Industry 6.7 percent
Government 3.0 percent
Corporates 2.2 percent

TOP COMPANIES

1. Toyota 11 055
2. Volkswagen 7360
3. Ford 6433
4. Nissan 4339
5. AMH/AAD 4099
6. GM/Isuzu 3227
7. Mercedes-Benz 2812
8. BMW 1913
9. Renault 1433
10. Mazda 1075

TOP BAKKIES

1. Toyota Hilux 3447
2. Ford Ranger 3234
3. Nissan NP200 1294
4. Nissan NP300 / Hardbody 1162
5. Isuzu KB 1156
6. Chevrolet Utility 840
7. Nissan Navara 304
8. Toyota Land Cruiser PU 243
9. Volkswagen Amarok 111
10. Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up 107

SOME POPULAR PASSENGER CARS*

Volkswagen Polo Vivo 2383
Volkswagen Polo 1997
Toyota Corolla/Quest/Auris 1511
Toyota Fortuner 1312
Ford Fiesta 1041
Toyota Etios 859
Ford EcoSport 759
Toyota Rav4 640
Ford Everest 577
Volkswagen Golf 549

* Full ranking not possible as Hyundai, Kia, BMW and Mercedes refuse to report individual sales figures.

IOL Motoring

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