Naamsa, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa today commented that the positive growth experienced in the new vehicle sales market performance throughout 2012, had continued into the first month of 2013. Sales in January 2013 recorded substantial gains on the corresponding month last year.
Compiled by Messrs RGT SMART (an independent statistical service provide), the January sales results show an improvement of 14, 1 per cent or 6 805 vehicles for a total of 55 007 units sold, from the 48 202 sold during January 2012. All of the major vehicle segments recorded double digit year on year growth, with new passenger cars improving by 12,3 per cent, light commercials by 20,0 per cent, medium commercials by 10,6 per cent, heavy trucks by 30,0 per cent and extra heavy trucks by 16,6 per cent.
Most impressive were the export sales recorded during January 2013, which at 17 399 units sold, reflected an improvement of 5 794 vehicles or a gain of 49,9 per cent compared to the 11 605 vehicles exported in January last year.
Overall, out of the total detailed (disaggregated) reported Industry sales of 52 775 vehicles (excluding Mercedes-Benz South Africa, who is still involved in discussions with the Department of Trade and Industry and parent company Daimler AG to resume full sales reporting), 76.9 per cent or 40 568 units represented dealer sales, 16,7 per cent represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 3,2 per cent to government and 3,2 per cent to Industry corporate fleets.
The new car market continued to demonstrate strength in January, 2013 and at 39 738 units, including Mercedes-Benz sales, reflected an improvement of 4 348 units or 12,3 per cent compared to the 35 390 new cars sold in January last year. Continued strong demand by the car rental Industry, which accounted for 22,5 per cent of total new car sales during the month, had supported the market during January, 2013. The recent exchange rate weakness would have contributed to pre-emptive buying by consumers to avoid higher expected new vehicle prices.
Furthermore, the association stated that despite indications of slower growth in the economy, the performance of the South African automotive sector continued to surprise on the upside. The overall near term outlook for the automotive sector remained reasonably positive. Factors that would continue to support domestic sales included the low interest rate environment, replacement demand, the highly competitive trading environment with attractive incentives, low debt servicing costs, high technology new model introductions and strong demand by car rental companies.
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