Despite the many public holidays in March, new vehicles sales improved in all segments of the market compared with the corresponding period last year. Click here for the latest sales statistics from Naamsa.

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


Despite the many public holidays in March, new vehicles sales improved in all segments of the market compared with the corresponding period last year.


Aggregate sales for March (43 651 units) improved by 12,2 per cent compared with the 38 892 new vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year, Naamsa reported on Monday.


The new car market (28 722 vehicles sold) was the strongest March month sales performance on record and 14,5 per cent higher than the 25 080 cars sold during March 2004. Compared with February’s new car sales figures, March’s aggregate was 372 vehicles (1,3 per cent) higher.


Moreover, the new car sales in the first quarter of 2005 were 23,1 per cent higher than the same period last year.


Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses in March improved by 769 units (6,3 per cent) compared with the corresponding month last year. This segment’s sales aggregate is 16,1 per cent better than that recorded in the first quarter of 2004.


Medium and heavy truck segment sales in March, at 887 units and 1 174 units respectively, improved by 164 units (22,7 per cent), in the case of medium commercials, and 184 units (18,6 per cent), in the case of heavy commercial vehicles and buses, compared with the corresponding month last year.


Naamsa said sales of vehicles in the medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicle segments “remained in a strong upward phase on the back of positive fixed investment trends”. In the first quarter of 2005, total sales were respectively 44,5 per cent (medium commercials) and 16,8 per cent (heavy commercials) better compared with that in the corresponding quarter of 2004.


“Interest rate- and new vehicle price stability, projected economic growth of over four per cent, strong consumer sentiment and business confidence would support new vehicles sales in the short to medium term,” a Naamsa spokesman predicted.


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



Comment from manufacturers and dealer groups:

Nigel Harris, director of sales and marketing for said: "The small pickup segment, in which the Ford Bantam competes, performed particularly well with sales for January to March 2005 almost 35 per cent ahead of the same period last year. We are delighted to see the Bantam break its own sales record with 1 506 units sold for the month (March)."

"We are thrilled with the excellent performance of our new A4," said Audi SA general manager of sales and marketing, . "Demand for this car (launched at the beginning of March) is far greater than anticipated with the waiting list for certain models stretching into months."

In March Audi recorded 1 156 sales, its highest monthly sales figure since the launch of the previous A4 in July 2001.

"Of course, this is just the beginning. Some further key new models will be launched in SA this year including a model that's been on our customer's most wanted list for some time," Levine concluded.

Buoyed by the Polo and Citi ranges, 5 519 units were sold March to earn the local subsidiary a total market share of 19 per cent.

, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings said: "As vehicle sales are one of the leading indicators of domestic economic growth, these sales records provide further evidence of the strength of the current South African economic situation.

"In addition, the current sales levels provide conclusive evidence that enhanced vehicle affordability is the most effective mechanism the industry can use to unlock further growth potential."

"When one considers the momentum that currently persists in the market, then a 15 per cent growth rate for the year is within reach."

According to Pretorius, a definite buyers' market is starting to prevail in certain segments due to improved inventory levels. "Manufacturers and importers have ambitiously ordered new stock and are also producing vehicles at record levels. The oversupply of the South African market has therefore become a distinct possibility."

"The market could swing from a so-called demand pull, to a supply push over the medium term, leading to even more intense, primary price-based competition," concluded Pretorius.