Total new vehicle sales for April 2016 across all segments, at 40 390 units, registered a decline of 4 079 vehicles – or a fall of 9.2% – compared to the 44 469 vehicles sold in April last year. This is according to statistics released on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry.
Commenting on these figures, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) states that, as has been the case since the end of last year, the new car market had continued to experience pressure during April 2016 and at 26 077 units, registered a decline of 3 949 cars or a fall of 13.2% compared to the 30 026 new cars sold in April last year.
Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses – at 12 192 units during April 2016 – reflected a marginal decline of 18 units or a fall of 0.1% compared to the 12 210 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry at 588 units and 1 533 units, respectively, had registered declines and, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, represented a sharp fall of 189 units or 24.3%.
In the case of heavy trucks and buses, a more modest decline of 77 vehicles – or a fall of 5.3% compared to the corresponding month last year – was registered.
The good news is that industry new vehicle exports during April 2016 registered a substantial improvement rising by 9 254 vehicles – or 39.2% — from 23 602 vehicles exported in April last year to 32 856 exports in April this year.
“The momentum of new vehicle exports was expected to remain at or above current higher levels over the balance of 2016. With further reductions in vehicle imports in response to lower domestic sales and the expected strong growth in vehicle exports – the industry should continue to contribute positively to South Africa’s current account of the balance of payments,” states Naamsa.
The Association adds that despite the short term unfavorable outlook, a major source of encouragement emanates from the further substantial improvement – for the third month in a row – in the Purchasing Manager’s Index which, at 54.9, signalled an expected improvement in business activity levels and manufacturing output over the medium term.