The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) has released new vehicle sales figures for May 2020.

After a mere 574 units were registered in April 2020 with the country on lockdown thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, May’s figures show a “noteworthy improvement”.

Yes, 12 932 units were registered last month. While that represents a “substantial decline” of 27 496 units or 68 percent compared with May 2019’s figures, it’s also a vast improvement on April's numbers.

Similarly, although export sales at 10 819 units also registered a hefty decline of 19 333 units or 64,1 percent compared with the same month in the preceding year, this is a big improvement over April 2020’s tally of 901.

Out of the total reported industry sales of 12 932 vehicles, an estimated 11 289 units or 87,3 percent represented dealer sales, 7,9 percent were sales to government, 2,9 percent were sales to industry corporate fleets and an estimated 1,9 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry. 

The new passenger car market dropped 65,4 percent year-on-year to 9 019 units, while domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 3 073 units recorded a fall of 74,8 percent. Sales for medium and heavy truck segments also remained weak at 304 units and 536 units, respectively (year-on-year falls of 55,5 percent and 62,8 percent).

Naamsa said new vehicle sales for May 2020 “continue to reflect persistent demand weakness due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as consumer and business sentiment remain severely depressed”.