Sales of new vehicles in April were lower than in March. Although last years' sales total for the month was low due to the Easter holidays, the market improved by 41,1 per cent year on year and reached a record level for the month of April.

:: Click here for complete new vehicle sales figures during April ::

Sales of new vehicles in April were lower than in March. Although last years' sales total for the month was low due to the Easter holidays, the market nevertheless improved by 41,1 per cent year on year and reached a record level for the month of April.


The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) reported on Wednesday that new vehicle sales in April were the highest ever recorded for that month. The new vehicles sales total (40 477) was 11 796 units more than the 28 681 sold during the corresponding month last year. "However, the year on year improvement should be viewed in the context of the fact that last years' April vehicle sales figure was depressed due to the Easter holidays during that month," Naamsa added.


New car sales in April (27 090 units) were 44,6 per cent higher compared with the 18 734 units sold during April last year, but was 5,5 per cent lower than the 28 664 units during March. 2005. However, year to date sales volumes in the sector remained 7,6 per cent ahead of last years' corresponding sales.


Despite lack of stock on certain derivates, due to model run outs, sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses also performed well in April. April's total in this segment was 2 945 vehicles (34,6 per cent) higher compared with the sales total in this segment during the corresponding month last year and 11,2 per cent lower than the aggregate recorded in March.


Sales in the medium and heavy truck segments, at 828 units and 1 101 units respectively, were up 36,6 per cent in the case of medium commercials, and 33 per cent, in the case of heavy commercial vehicles and buses - compared with the corresponding month last year. Although April's sales in the segment were lower than in March, year-to-date volumes improved by 44,2 per cent (medium commercials) and 20,6 per cent (heavy commercials) compared with the corresponding period last year.


"The further reduction in interest rates in April, falling new vehicle prices, ongoing sales incentives, the introduction of more advanced models with additional features (generally) at no extra cost to buyers and strong consumer sentiment" would continue to support new vehicle sales during the rest of 2005, Naamsa said.

:: Click here for complete new vehicle sales figures during April ::


Comment from the manufacturers:


Commenting on the overall growth in new vehicle sales across the segments, Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, said it was likely that positive trading conditions would continue in the new future.

"Macro economic conditions remain favourable, with high levels of business and consumer confidence, as well as a reduced interest rate, continuing to stimulate the local market."

"In addition, vehicle affordability continues to improve due to the absence of any significant price increases and is further enhanced by salary increases in line with the current inflation rate."

Pretorius added that sales over the next few months will be boosted by increased stock availability, aggressive sales campaigns and a number of new model launches.

Another encouraging trend that is starting to emerge is the recovery of the used vehicle market.

"Healthy used vehicle trading is a prerequisite for sustained growth in the new vehicle market. It is therefore encouraging to see that the depreciation trends are starting to normalise, and that demand is picking up, particularly in the lower price categories," Pretorius stated.

Roel de Vries, Nissan head of sales and marketing, said: "Sales of our imported vehicles were up with both the 350Z and the X-Trail outselling all their rivals in April. The X-Trail enjoyed its best sales month since its introduction in 2002.

"Nissan implemented a second production shift during April, which should address stock shortages we experienced last month and meet increased consumer demand for our products," de Vries concluded.

"It is particularly encouraging to see total new passenger vehicles retail sales for the first four months of this year almost 28 per cent ahead of the same period last year," Nigel Harris, director of sales and marketing at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, said.

"All vehicle segments from passenger cars through to heavy commercial vehicles and buses continue to show growth, reflecting the strong consumer and business confidence being experienced in South Africa."

Volkswagen SA's director of sales and marketing Jolyon Nash said though the company's sales were marginally down compared with the March 2005 figures, sales were still 35 per cent up on April 2004.

In April, VWSA increased the gap in sales between its nearest passenger car rival, Toyota, while more than 1 000 Audi's were sold for the second consecutive month.