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The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said the new vehicle sales declining trend continued into June 2019, although lower passenger car sales were offset by growth in some of the commercial vehicle segments.

Naamsa confirmed aggregate domestic sales at 45 939 units showed a decline of 724 units or 1,6 percent from the 46 663 vehicles sold in June 2018. Following a surprising decline in May 2019, export sales returned to register strong growth of 3 819 vehicles, or a gain of 14,3 percent, compared with the 26 785 vehicles exported in June last year.

Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 45 939 vehicles, an estimated 36 922 units or 80,4 percent represented dealer sales, an estimated 12,5 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3,7 percent to government, and 3,4 percent to industry corporate fleets.

The June 2019 new passenger car market had registered a decline of 942 cars or a fall of 3,2 percent to 28 885 units compared to the 29 827 new cars sold in June last year. The car rental industry’s contribution accounted for a substantial 18,4 percent of new car sales in June 2019.

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 14 495 units during June 2019 had recorded a modest increase of 173 units or a gain of 1,2 percent from the 14 322 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

Sales in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry reflected a mixed performance and at 834 units and 1 725 units, respectively, reflected a strong increase of 115 vehicles or an improvement of 16,0 percent in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, a decline of 70 vehicles or a fall of 3,9 percent compared with the corresponding month last year.

The June 2019 export sales number represented a substantial improvement with export sales at 30 604 vehicles reflecting an increase of 3 819 vehicles, or 14,3 percent, compared with the 26 785 vehicles exported in the same month last year. Vehicle exports for the year to date are now 29 459 vehicles or 19,3 percent higher than the corresponding period last year.

Underlying demand conditions for new vehicles remain weak. In general, low business and consumer confidence, growing pressure on household disposable income and ongoing subdued economic circumstances continued to limit growth prospects.

However, some vehicle segments showed signs of an improvement during the month and this bodes well for an anticipated better second half of the year performance, said Naamsa. The upward momentum on the export side remains strong and industry vehicle production levels would continue to benefit from strong vehicle export sales.