File photo: (David Zalubowski / AP).

JOHANNESBURG - While new car sales were up in the third quarter, sales in the used car sector were down, which affected the entire car market negatively.

Head of TransUnion Auto in South Africa, Kriben Reddy, says: “Overall, the South African car market has had a challenging quarter. In real terms, cars are cheaper than they’ve been in over a year. But this has not been enough to offset the impact on consumers of fuel price hikes of around 20% this year alone, higher VAT, ongoing rand weakness and the prospect of higher interest rates.”

According to TransUnion, the Vehicle Price Index for new and used vehicles dropped significantly in the third quarter 2018. Although new finance deals increased by 7% in the quarter, this was offset by a 9% decrease in used-car finance deals, seeing an overall drop of 4% in the volume of passenger vehicles financed year on year.

However, vehicle exports hit a record high last month, giving the local auto industry a much-needed boost.