New ve­hi­cle ex­ports reach record high in Septem­ber

Grocott's Mail - - MOTORING - By HELMO PREUSS

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers of South Africa (NAAMSA)ON Mon­day re­ported that new ve­hi­cle ex­ports reached a new record high of 36 341 units, which was a 1.2% in­crease on the pre­vi­ous record set in Septem­ber 2017 and 14% more than the Au­gust num­ber and is good news for the South African econ­omy, as it means that the rand could strengthen and re­duce the cost of im­ported goods such as oil.

The 15% boost in ve­hi­cle unit ex­ports com­pared with July was one of the rea­sons why the for­eign trade bal­ance swung to a R9.8 bil­lion sur­plus in Au­gust from a R5.3bn deficit in July. The value of trans­port equip­ment ex­port surged by R3.986bn in Au­gust to R16.482bn, so this ex­port cat­e­gory could top R20bn in Septem­ber and sup­port the East­ern Cape econ­omy where sev­eral mo­tor man­u­fac­tur­ers are lo­cated.

The As­so­ci­a­tion said ve­hi­cle ex­ports re­mained a func­tion of the di­rec­tion of the global econ­omy which, de­spite ris­ing pro­tec­tion­ism and trade dis­putes, con­tin­ued to re­flect ro­bust con­di­tions.

“Fol­low­ing the record ex­port sales dur­ing Septem­ber, 2018 and tak­ing into ac­count rel­a­tively strong order books re­ported by most ve­hi­cle ex­porters, ex­ports were ex­pected Im­age: Sup­plied to im­prove fur­ther and re­flect strong up­ward mo­men­tum in 2019, 2020 and sub­se­quent years. The pro­jec­tion of ex­port sales for 2019 was cur­rently 384 000 ex­port units com­pared with an es­ti­mated fig­ure of 340 000 for the cur­rent year,” the in­dus­try body said.

Last year there had been a dis­rup­tion to ve­hi­cle ex­ports due to storms along the east­ern seaboard with the re­sult that Oc­to­ber 2017 ex­ports dropped by 22% month-on­month and in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives are keep­ing their fin­gers crossed that this year will not see a re­peat.

New ve­hi­cle sales for Septem­ber were down 1.9% yearon-year (y/y) with a to­tal of 49 670.

This was the fourth y/y de­cline so far af­ter de­clines in Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary and Au­gust. De­spite this, the year-to-date num­ber was only marginally lower with a 0.8% y/y de­cline.

Look­ing specif­i­cally at the dealer chan­nel that ac­counted for 79% of new ve­hi­cle sales in the in­dus­try, to­tal unit sales were down 2.3% y/y.

Nev­er­the­less to­tal new ve­hi­cle sales through the dealer chan­nel have re­mained rel­a­tively strong, show­ing an in­crease of 1.9% year-to-date.

Con­sumers have had their dis­pos­able in­come im­pacted by price in­creases from man­u­fac­tur­ers due to the weak­en­ing rand, the hike in the Value-added Tax rate to 15% from 14% im­ple­mented in April and on­go­ing fuel price in­creases that have re­sulted in a record Oc­to­ber re­tail petrol price in Gaut­eng of R17.08 per litre, which is 21.9% more than a year ago.

Rentals sales in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in Septem­ber at 20% y/y, but were still down 3.6% on a year-to-date as tourism growth in the first seven months of this year has been sub­dued. Part of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s stim­u­lus plan an­nounced last month was to ease visa re­quire­ments to boost tourism, which is a key job cre­ator.

“The in­crease in rental sales is a sea­sonal trend seen this time of year as rental com­pa­nies gear up for the pend­ing hol­i­day sea­son,” said John Lox­ton, Wes­bank Ex­ec­u­tive Head of Fleet Man­age­ment and Leas­ing.

Sales of new light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, bakkies and mini buses dipped 1.2% y/y in Septem­ber, while sales in the low vol­ume medium and heavy truck seg­ments of the in­dus­try re­flected some im­prove­ment and grew by 0.4% and 4.7% re­spec­tively com­pared with the cor­re­spond­ing month last year.

Both seg­ments had now recorded im­prove­ments for the third con­sec­u­tive month in­di­cat­ing an im­proved con­fi­dence among busi­nesses.

New ve­hi­cle ex­ports reach record high in Septem­ber.

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