It's been claimed that manufacturers artificially inflate new car sales figures, but Naamsa says its reporting is done "in a transparent manner".

It's been claimed that manufacturers artificially inflate new car sales figures, particularly during times of soft consumer demand, but Naamsa says its reporting is done "in a transparent manner and is consistent with international reporting standards".


CARtoday.com reported last month that recent statements by automotive industry sources had again called into question the accuracy of manufacturers' sales figures as reported by Naamsa on a monthly basis.


At the time, an automotive industry source said the figures were not necessarily an accurate barometer of economic activity. It was suggested that manufacturers boost new car sales through sales to themselves for purposes such as staff vehicles, cars made available to the motoring press. Furthermore, dealerships were said to sell new cars under the guise of demonstration models.


But on Monday, a Naamsa spokesman said that the association traditionally reported sales to the diplomatic corps and to manufacturers' corporate fleets, including vehicles leased to company employees, as single unit sales.


Last month, an unnamed industry source told that in the year to date, 7,2 per cent of all vehicles sold in South Africa had been by manufacturers to themselves, 3,9 per cent had been to government and 8,1 per cent had been to car hire companies. This suggests that only about 80 per cent of total sales have been to consumers in the year to date.


In response, the Naamsa spokesman said: "Single unit sales vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, since they are influenced significantly by new model introductions and product launches which invariably - to gain additional marketing exposure - result in higher numbers of vehicles allocated to company fleets.


"Single units sales as a percentage of the total market in calendars years 2000, 2001 and 2002 were 5,5, 5,6 and 5,9 per cent respectively. For the first six months of 2003, single units sales did rise to 7,2 per cent, but that was largely due to the relatively high level of product launches," Naamsa said.


According to the spokesman, the average rate for the past three calendar years was 5,7 per cent. The difference between 7,2 per cent and the annual average rate for the previous three calendars years worked out at 1,5 per cent.


Furthermore, Naamsa estimated that one per cent of this may be attributed directly to new model introductions and launches, "which leaves 0,5 per cent, which may be attributed to the manufacturers replacing their fleets more rapidly and/or increasing the number of vehicles leased to company employees."


"The 0,5 per cent in question translates into an additional 570 units, which is a relatively small figure, not sufficient to have a material impact on overall sales figures," the spokesman was quoted as saying.