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According to Naamsa (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa), the year-on-year growth in total aggregate new vehicle sales declined modestly during the month of February from the corresponding month last year.
In the event, February 2014 aggregate new vehicle sales at 51 814 units registered a decline of 1 662 vehicles or a fall of 3,1 per cent compared to the 53 476 vehicles sold in February last year. The consumer driven new car segment had recorded a year on year decline of 5,4 per cent whilst the commercial vehicle segments had registered gains – light commercials 0,9 per cent, heavy commercial vehicles 3,6 per cent, extra heavy trucks 19,7 per cent and buses 17,8 per cent.
The February 2014 export sales number at 21 819 units reflected a decline of 5 262 vehicles or a fall of 19,4 per cent compared to the 27 081 vehicles exported in February last year. Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 51 814 vehicles, 83,5 per cent or 43 262 units represented dealer sales, 8,7 per cent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4,0 per cent to Industry corporate fleets sales and 3,8 per cent to government.
The new car market had experienced pressure during February 2014 and at 34 414 units reflected a decline of 1 976 units or a fall of 5,4 per cent compared to the 36 390 new cars sold in February last year. Industry new vehicle exports during February, 2014 at 21 819 vehicles had registered a decline of 5 262 units or a fall of 19,4 per cent compared to the 27 081 vehicles exported in February last year.
Following four successive years of growth in domestic new vehicle sales, prospects for 2014 would be affected by subdued economic growth, above average new vehicle price increases as a result of exchange rate weakness and upward pressure on interest rates. Unsurprisingly, consumer confidence was under pressure with high levels of indebtedness, sharp increases in energy and transport costs, particularly in Gauteng due to e-tolling. These factors would impact on consumer demand, principally in the case of the new car market.
As a result of the difficult current macro-environment, the general Industry consensus was that the domestic market in 2014 was likely to be flat and might even show modest declines, in the various segments, compared to 2013.