Local car sales grim, but exports are looking up for SA
WHAT do the Ferrari 488 GTB, BMW i3, Jaguar XE and Mahindra Genio have in common? These models all sold seven units last month, according the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa).
The association reports July’s aggregate new vehicle sales are 17% down on those of July last year. Still, the country sold 44 883 vehicles locally and exported 29 042.
The export figure of 684 vehicles is a marginal improvement of 2,4% compared to July last year. The car rental industry accounted for 18,5% of new cars sold during July.
Head of Standard Bank Vehicle and Asset Finance Nicholas Nkosi said even though the average price paid for a passenger last month increased from R295 976 in July 2015 to R296 500, the bank is still seeing a shift towards the pre-owned/used vehicles.
Nkosi said this trend is not likely to change in the short to medium term.
Sales of bakkies, minibuses and trucks — traditionally seen as a barometer of the economy — have also fallen, with medium commercial vehicles showing a decline of 117 units (13,9%) and heavy trucks and buses a modest decline of 95 vehicles (5,7%) compared to the corresponding month last year. Locally the Hilux outsold the Ranger by 848 units this month, with 3 153 units sold during July. That means on average 126 Hilux bakkies were sold a day in July with its extra weekend.
The Prospecton plant is currently also making good on the R6,1 billion investment on a line to build the new Hilux and Fortuner, with 6 035 Hilux units exported last month.
Naamsa commented that the rest of the year was likely to be grim, due to double-digit new vehicle price increases in response to earlier rand weakness, relatively high interest rates and fragile consumer and business confidence at a time of rising retrenchments across a number of sectors.
The cloud of bad news had two silver linings — yesterday’s significant drop in the fuel price, and more exports thanks to that weak rand.
Naamsa predicts the car factories should therefore hold steady, with 2016 export sales numbers expected to expand to around 351 000 units from the 333 802 export sales in 2015.
The Toyota Hilux is still SA’s best selling vehicle, with 3 153 units sold locally, compared to the next best seller, the VW Polo Vivo, at 2 452 units.