Naamsa’s new vehicle sales statistics for the month of November show that, following the remarkably strong sales performance of October 2014, aggregate new vehicle sales last month had showed signs of consolidation.

This year, industry sales at 51 098 units reflected a marginal improvement of 468 vehicles or 0,9% compared to the 50 630 vehicles sold in November last year.  However, compared to October 2014, total industry sales of 59 380 – the latest month reflected a decline of 8 282 vehicles or a fall of 13,9%. The November, 2014 industry export sales at 28 021 units reflected an improvement of 2 519 exports or a gain of 9,9% compared to the total of 25 502 vehicles exported in November last year.

In a recent development Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) has advised Naamsa that it will not longer disclose aggregated new vehicle sales to Naamsa and will instead report such information directly to the Department of Trade and Industry. MBSA’s revised approach means that it is not possible to provide the percentage split between dealer sales, vehicle rental, government, and single units for the industry.

Based on historical MBSA reported numbers and trends, the November, 2014 commercial vehicle sales data reflect estimates of sales by segment, namely, light commercial vehicle sales, medium commercial vehicle sales, heavy and extra heavy truck sales and bus sales.  Naamsa’s media release is premised on these estimated sales numbers.

The latest monthly new car market suggested ongoing pressure at retail dealer level.  In the event, November 2014 new car sales at 33 278 units showed a decline of 845 cars or a fall of 2,5% compared to the 34 123 new cars sold in November last year.  Some consolidation in the new car market had been expected following the exceptionally strong sales recorded during the month of October 2014 when 40 663 new cars had been sold.

Estimated industry sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 15 076 units during November, 2014 had registered further gains and reflected an improvement of 1 468 units or 10,8% compared to the 13 608 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.  Sales of light commercial vehicles continued to show strong upward momentum and had once again exceeded industry expectations.

Compared to the corresponding month last year, estimated industry sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry at 1 061 units and 1 683 units, respectively, reflected declines with medium commercial vehicle sales declining by 10 units or 0,9% while heavy trucks and buses had fallen by 145 units or 7,9%.

November, 2014 new vehicle exports reflected further upward momentum and at 28 021 export units had registered an improvement of 2 519 vehicle exports or an improvement of 9,9% on the 25 502 vehicles exported in the corresponding month last year.  A major contribution came from the relatively high export numbers by Mercedes-Benz SA Ltd.

Naamsa remains conservative regarding the expected performance of the automotive sector for the balance of 2014 and into 2015.  Subdued economic growth, past increases in interest rates and above-inflation new vehicle price rises – results in a difficult trading environment, particularly at franchise dealer level.