South Africa’s new-vehicle sales for July 2020 dropped nearly 30 percent year-on-year, according to the latest figures from Naamsa.

Naamsa says aggregate domestic sales for the month of 32 396 units reflected a decline of 13 646 units or 29,6 percent from the 46 042 vehicles sold in July in 2019.

It was a trend mirrored by export sales, which likewise fell 29,6 percent year-on-year, to 24 706 units. Still, Naamsa said this export performance at least reflected a “welcome improvement on June 2020”, with more “positive news” to come as the domestic automotive industry’s major export destinations were “starting to ease their lockdown restrictions”.

Out of the total reported industry sales, Naamsa says an estimated 30 325 units or 93,6 percent represented dealer sales, with industry corporate fleets accounting for only 3,1 percent and sales to government just 2,9 percent. The vehicle rental industry, meanwhile, contributed a mere (estimated) 0,4 percent.

In terms of passenger cars, the industry saw a “substantial decline” of 35,8 percent to 18 905 units in July. Meanwhile, domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 11 123 units showed a decline of 19,7 percent.

Sales for the medium and heavy truck segments reflected what Naamsa called a “weak performance” and at 698 units and 1 670 units respectively, showed a decline of 12,9 percent in the case of medium trucks and 13,3 percent in the case of heavy trucks and buses.

Naamsa suggested July 2020’s new-vehicle sales figures provided a “picture of what could be expected for the remainder of the year”, with some “notable changes to market behaviour by the vehicle rental companies, in particular", possibly signalling "the beginning of new trends”.

“A recovery in the new-vehicle market will most likely depend on how quickly the economy can break out of its low growth trap and how soon society will recover from the present COVID-19 lockdown,” Naamsa said.

*Just a reminder: Naamsa has implemented “a new way of reporting” and has thus not provided individual model sales figures. That means we’re unable to put together lists of South Africa’s best-selling vehicles using official data…