With Mercedes-Benz South Africa still precluded from providing detailed sales figures, this marks the second consecutive month that MBSA have been unable to properly contribute to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa’s (Naamsa) new vehicle sales statistics. Still, the first month has kicked 2012 off to a positive, albeit subdued, start.
The lack of comprehensive sales data, including export sales figures, by a major company in the South African Automotive Industry also precludes meaningful evaluation of the Industry’s performance and trends. It also reduces the ability of component companies, vehicle manufacturers and retail participants in planning and optimizing business operations covering areas such as production, importation, distribution, sales and marketing. Although MBSA will provide a single total sales number for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, Naamsa will continue to work with the relevant parties to re-establish detailed sales reporting.
According to Naamsa, aggregate Industry sales, including the total numbers by MBSA, had improved by 3 144 units or 7,0 per cent to 48 251 vehicles from 45 107 units in January last year.
Overall, out of the total detailed reported Industry sales of 45 944 (excluding MBSA) vehicles, 79,1 per cent or 36 354 units represented dealer sales, 12,8 per cent represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 4,7 percent sales to Government and 3,4 per cent to Industry corporate fleet sales.
Aggregate Industry new car sales during January 2012 at 35 428 units (including MBSA) reflected an improvement of 2 465 units or 7,5 per cent compared to the 32 963 new cars sold during January 2011. The January, 2012 new car market represented the highest January month in the past five years and had received support from strong demand by car rental companies with the car rental Industry accounting for about 17,0 per cent of total new car sales.
Exports of South African produced motor vehicles, excluding MBSA export sales data, during January, 2012 at 10 445 vehicles had registered an improvement of 260 units or 2.6 % compared to the 10 185 vehicles (including MBSA export data) during January last year.
The latest monthly export figure reflected the fact that automotive factories only resumed operations from the middle of January, 2012. Export sales are expected to improve from February onwards. The Industry’s export sales performance would however depend on the direction of the global economy and the contribution of new export programmes by manufacturers. South Africa currently exported vehicles to 77 countries worldwide. Export sales to Europe were likely to soften as a result of the recession and debt crisis in the Eurozone, however, projected higher exports to African countries and factoring in the contribution of the Ford global compact vehicle export programme – should enable the Industry to record growth and exceed the total number of vehicle exports of 271 763 units in 2011.
The outlook for 2012 in terms of total industry sales remains one of modest growth. Factors that would lend support to the domestic market included the ongoing improvement in the financial position of consumers on the back of relatively low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, the highly competitive trading environment and new model introductions. As a result, domestic sales are expected to continue to reflect growth, but at a relatively subdued rate.
Click the documents tab above the image to download the detailed sales PDF for January 2012.