April is a difficult sales month to put into perspective, but so far 2021 is turning out to be a better year for the automotive industry.
According to Naamsa, a total of 35 779 new vehicles were sold in South Africa last month, but it’s pointless comparing those numbers to April 2020 given that only 574 vehicles were sold during that first month of lockdown. For what it’s worth, April’s sales were 17,6 percent lower than in March 2021, although the configuration of the public holidays is likely the biggest factor in that downturn.
On a more positive note, South African vehicle sales for the first four months of 2021 are 28,3 percent above the same period last year.
The fact that Naamsa no longer lists individual vehicle sales in its monthly report means that for now we can only list the best selling brands overall.
Expectedly Toyota topped the charts with 8810 sales, while Volkswagen was second with a tally of 6017. Hyundai followed in a distant third place with 2632 sales, just ahead of Ford (2 471), Suzuki ( 2244) and Nissan (1 727).
BEST-SELLING VEHICLE BRANDS: FEBRUARY 2021
- Toyota: 8 810 sales
- Volkswagen: 6 017
- Hyundai: 2 632
- Ford: 2 471
- Suzuki: 2 244
- Nissan: 1 727
- Isuzu: 1 638
- Renault: 1 432
- BMW: 1 199
- Kia: 1 133
According to Naamsa, 88 percent of domestic vehicle sales took place through the dealer channels, while the vehicle rental industry accounted for 7,5 percent of sales, followed by government (2,4 percent) and corporates (2,1 percent).
On the export front, Volkswagen led the way with 6 783 Polos being shipped abroad, while Mercedes exported 6 205 C-Class sedans. Next up was Ford’s Ranger (5 954) and BMW’s X3 (4 200). Toyota exported 2 795 vehicles during the month and Isuzu managed 418.
The prognosis for the local market is however looking more positive as Naamsa points out:
“Renewed activity in the rental market, interest rates remaining at their low levels, the easing of the lockdown restrictions, as well as all five subcomponents of the ABSA Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) being in positive terrain for the first time since early 2012, will aim to support business and consumer sentiment and subsequently the new vehicle market in 2021.
“However, Covid-19 induced manufacturing supply chain disruptions, such as the current global shortage of semi-conductors, or computer chips, an important part of modern vehicles could impact on availability of specific models during the year,” Naamsa added.
The association notes that although the vehicle market is expected to rebound substantially this year, it’s important to keep in mind that 2020 sales were the lowest in 18 years. Naamsa expects the recovery to pre-Covid levels to take at least three years.