SA motor industry analysts warned that a turnaround in new vehicles sales during the second half of 2003 would make the market's performance during the latter part of 2004 seem less impressive, but the July figures showed improvement in all areas.

:: Click here for July's complete new vehicle sales figures ::

SA motor industry analysts warned that a turnaround in new vehicles sales during the second half of 2003 would make the market's performance during the latter part of 2004 seem less impressive, but the July figures showed improvement in all areas.


According to the new vehicle sales statistics released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) on Tuesday, aggregate new vehicle sales in July improved by 5 111 vehicles (15 per cent) compared with the 34 095 sold during the corresponding month last year. In addition, year to date aggregate new vehicle sales were 18,9 per cent ahead of the overall sales levels for the same period last year.


New car sales (26 631 units) were 3 645 (15,9 per cent) more than the 22 986 cars sold during July last year. July's new car sales total was also 729 units (2,8 per cent) higher than in June (when 25 902 new cars were sold. On a year-to-date basis, car sales were 19,4 per cent ahead of 2003.


Naamsa attributed the strong performance of the new car market to "a positive economic environment, consumer and business sentiment, improved new vehicle affordability, attractive incentives and new product offerings".


Sales of LCVs, bakkies and minibuses also maintained strong upward momentum during July, and at 10 680 units registered an improvement of 952 vehicles (9,8 per cent) compared with the 9 728 units sold during the corresponding month last year. The LCVs, bakkies and minibuses sales figures were 351 units (3,4 per cent) higher than in June and the year-to-date total was 16,4 per cent ahead of the same period in 2003.


Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry during July, at 870 units and 1 025 units respectively, were an improvement of 412 units (90 per cent) in the case of medium commercials, and 102 units (11,1 per cent) in the case of heavy commercial vehicles and buses - compared with the corresponding month last year. The truck and bus market for the year to July 2004 was up 36,5 per cent in the case of MCVs and 22,1 per cent in the case of heavy trucks and buses.


Naamsa said on Tuesday that the new vehicle market for 2004 could exceed 410 000, resulting in the highest level since 1983, and the third highest end-of-year sales total to date.

Nissan sales and marketing director Mike Whitfield said: “We are particularly encouraged by demand for our new Micra passenger car, prior to the public launch. Our Almera and X-TRAIL passenger vehicles remain in the number two positions in their respective market segments for the year. The 1400 half-ton and Hardbody one-ton pickups sales are still very positive, whilst the 350Z is still South Africa’s favourite sports car for the year to date.”

Nigel Harris, director of marketing and sales for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, said: "We are particularly pleased with our Ford sales which are the highest since July 1984. The Ford Fiesta and Ford Ikon had their best sales month ever– and the Ford Bantam once again broke through the 1000 unit level."

Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, revealed that July’s passenger car sales were the best for a July month in 23 years! According to Pretorius, the sales total of 26 631 was last beaten back in July 1981, when 27 384 new cars were sold.

"To amplify the excellent sales performance in July even further, it should be noted that car sales in July were the highest since October 1996, when 27 814 units were sold," Pretorius reports.

According to Pretorius, the single most important reason for the substantial further improvement in July is the number of new models and facelifted derivatives launched recently. "The second reason is the substantial deliveries of new vehicles into car rental fleets," he said.

Pretorius maintained that July sales were marginally stimulated by an increase in selling days, from 23 to 24,5 days, representing an increase of 6,5 per cent.

In the light commercial market segment, strong sales were again attributed to the many new vehicle launches.

"Sales of light commercials were also enhanced by the start of a new financial year for many businesses," Pretorius noted. "The MCV (medium commercial vehicle) and HCV (heavy commercial vehicle) markets are undoubtedly the star performers, with increases of 36,5 and 22,1 per cent respectively, when one looks at the year-to-date performance in 2004, versus 2003," he commented.

Malcolm Gauld, GMSA sales and marketing director said: ” Key products for us in July were the Corsa/Corsa Classic (1 824 sales) and the new Isuzu KB which immediately attracted light commercial vehicle buyers' attention to record 1 522 sales in its first month in the market.”

:: Click here for July's complete new vehicle sales figures ::