Naamsa says South Africa’s new-vehicle sales figures for October 2020 show a continued “downward trajectory”, albeit at a slower pace than recent months.

Domestic sales of 38 752 units saw a year-on-year decline of 13 216 units or some 25,4 percent. Export sales at 33 474 units, meanwhile, declined by 18,9 percent compared to October 2019.

“New vehicle sales in South Africa are slowly picking up but not at 2019 levels yet. We are not out of the woods yet. While vehicle exports are making a steady comeback, we remain cautiously anxious about the reports of a COVID-19 second wave across Europe which could further depress our overall outlook for the balance of this year,” said Mikel Mabasa, CEO of Naamsa.

Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 38 752 vehicles, an estimated 32 478 units or 83,8 percent represented dealer sales, an estimated 9,4 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3,8 percent sales to government and 3,0 percent to industry corporate fleets.

Naamsa said October 2020’s new passenger car market at 26 793 units had registered a decline of 9 106 cars or a fall of 25,4 percent compared with the same month last year. The car rental industry, meanwhile, accounted for an “encouraging” 12,8 percent of car sales in October 2020.

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 9 644 units during October recorded a decline of 3 717 units or a fall of 27,8 percent. Sales for medium and heavy truck segments of the industry reflected a “weak performance” and at 662 units and 1 653 units, respectively, showed a decline of 21,2 percent and 11,5 percent compared with the corresponding month in 2019.

Naamsa said activity in the new vehicle market was “gradually improving every month but sales remain very slow to recover to previous levels”. The association added the country’s economy remained “fragile and while the economy would slowly regain momentum, tough months were still ahead before business and consumer confidence was rebuilt”.

“The year to date sales figures tell a dismal story, now reflecting a decline of 146 261 units or 32,5 percent compared to the corresponding period last year,” Naamsa said.