New vehicles sales in South Africa fell for the third consecutive year in 2016, with 547 442 units registered in the country during the year.
According to Naamsa, this figure represents a decrease in sales of some 11,4% when compared to 2015’s sales total of 617 648 units.
Naamsa said the “slowdown in the domestic economy, above average new vehicle inflationary pressures, increases in interest rates, pressure on consumers’ and household disposable income and low levels of consumer confidence” all contributed to the double-digit decline in annual domestic sales.
Passenger vehicles sales plummeted 12,4% in 2016, while the light commercial segment saw an 8,9% drop.
“Overall, 2016 turned out to be another extremely difficult year for the South African automotive industry with domestic new vehicle sales progressively under pressure, particularly at dealer level, despite attractive sales incentives and a strong contribution by the car rental sector, which accounted for an estimated 16,3% of new car sales during the year,” Naamsa said.
In contrast, 2016 vehicle exports represented the highest annual industry export figure on record, with a figure of 344 822 vehicles (up from 333 847 in 2015).
So, what can we expect in 2017? Well, Naamsa predicts another “difficult year for the domestic SA auto industry”, but adds that “a modest improvement in new vehicle sales is expected during the second half” of the year. And local production levels, on the back of expected further growth in vehicle exports, are expected to remain in an upward phase.