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Commenting on the latest new vehicle sales statistics for the month of June 2018, Naamsa said that the latest domestic sales figures had exceeded industry expectations, but that export sales had disappointed. In the event, new vehicle sales at 46 678 units had shown an improvement of 1 346 vehicles or 3,0% from the 45 332 vehicles sold in June last year. June 2018 aggregate export vehicle sales at 26 790 vehicles reflected a decline of 4 805 units or a fall of 15,2% compared with the 31 595 vehicles exported in June 2017.

Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 46 678 vehicles, an estimated 38 498 units or 82,5% represented dealer sales, an estimated 11,0% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3,7% to industry corporate fleets and 2,8% to government.

The June 2018 new car market at 29 886 units had registered a marginal improvement of 1 261 cars or a gain of 4,4% compared to the 28 625 new cars sold in June last year. On the back of fleeting replenishment, the car rental industry contribution had recovered substantially by 15,1% during the month.

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses, at 14 261 units, had  declined during June 2018 by 58 units or 0,4% compared to the 14 319 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

Sales in the low-volume medium and heavy truck segments of the industry had reflected a mixed picture and at 731 units and 1 800 units, respectively, had recorded a decrease of 22 vehicles or a decline of 2,9%, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, an improvement of 165 vehicles or a gain of 10,1% compared to the corresponding month last year.

The improvement in domestic sales, particularly new car sales, was encouraging given recent weak economic growth and investment numbers. It appeared that the new car market had been supported by improved business and consumer confidence. However, the decline in the leading indicator of the Reserve Bank over the past two months suggested a challenging economic environment going forward. Normally new vehicle sales during the second half of a calendar year tended to show improvement on first half sales and this reinforced Naamsa's expectations of a modest annual improvement in 2018 domestic sales volumes compared to 2017.

Naamsa continued to project growth in export sales over the balance of the year. However, the industry’s export performance was likely to be affected by current protectionist policies in the United States, which had increased the risk of a global trade war and this could impact on international trade flows, including vehicle exports.