Gen­tly does it

Don’t ex­pect mar­ket fire­works while rock­et­ing fuel prices and other cost chal­lenges con­tinue to put pres­sure on cus­tomers

Financial Mail - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Slow and steady. That’s the growth mes­sage com­ing from an­a­lysts and in­dus­try mar­keters as lo­cal new-ve­hi­cle sales strug­gle to con­tinue their grad­ual re­cov­ery from re­cent depths. It will take some years to get back to the 649,000 lev­els the mar­ket achieved in 2013, be­fore three years of po­lit­i­cally driven eco­nomic mis­ery slashed de­mand by over 100,000 units, but banks are stick­ing to their fore­casts of 2%-3% growth this year, fol­lowed by 2%4% in 2019.

That may be op­ti­mistic. At the end of Au­gust, the new-ve­hi­cle mar­ket was trail­ing 2017 by 0,6%: 363,233 com­pared to 365,534. Car sales were frac­tion­ally ahead: 239,816 against 239,714.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers of SA (Naamsa), in its lat­est quar­terly re­port, pre­dicts that last year’s 557,701 mar­ket will im­prove to about 572,000 in 2018, then 587,500 and 608,000 in the next two years.

Toy­ota SA CEO An­drew Kirby, who is also Naamsa pres­i­dent, is more cau­tious: “At Toy­ota we orig­i­nally

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