New vehicle sales registered substantial gains in the first month of the year, growing by 14.1% compared to the 48 202 vehicles sold in January last year, said the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA).
This followed on the positive sales performance seen throughout 2012.
On Monday, Naamsa said that all major segments recorded double digit year-on-year growth, with new cars growing by 12.3%; light commercials by 20%; medium commercials by 10.6; heavy trucks by 30% and extra heavy trucks growing by 16.6%.
Export sales in January (at 17 399 vehicles) reflected an improvement of 5 794 vehicles or a gain of 49.9% compared to the 11 605 vehicles exported in January 2012.
The association noted that continued strong demand by the car rental industry accounted for 22.5% of total new car sales during the month. This supported the market in January 2013.
“Recent exchange rate weakness would have contributed to pre-emptive buying by consumers to avoid higher than expected new vehicle prices,” it said.
“Factors that would continue to support domestic sales included the low interest rate environment, replacement demand, the highly competitive trading environment with attractive incentives, low debt servicing costs, high technology new model introductions and strong demand by car rental companies,” Naamsa said.
However, on the negative side, rising inflationary pressures would limit growth in real disposable income which, together with generally anticipated rising new vehicle prices as a result of the weaker exchange rate, could result in some moderation in the rate of growth in sales over the balance of the year.
“Industry production, largely as a result of higher new vehicle exports, should however register encouraging growth in 2013,” said Naamsa.
Uitenhage based VWSA celebrated “A positive start to 2013 for the Volkswagen Group South Africa”:
Volkswagen Group South Africa recorded a positive start to 2013 with sales of 10 511 units (Volkswagen Passenger – 8 226; Audi – 1 555 and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles – 730) in the total vehicle market in South Africa. The achievement gave Volkswagen Group South Africa market leadership in both the total and passenger car markets in January 2013 and market share of 19.1%.
“The new passenger car market in January performed in line with expectations. The selling rate of new cars per day in January grew by 2.3% over the December selling rate per day continuing the underlying robust performance of the new car market,” said Mike Glendinning, Director: Sales and Marketing at Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“Given the subdued economic outlook for 2013, it is likely that the rate of growth in demand for new passenger cars may also moderate during the course of the year. While the market will continue to be supported by declining real new car prices, a highly competitive trading environment with significant sales incentives further boosting affordability, low debt servicing costs, steady replacement demand and ongoing exciting new model introductions. It is probable that the market may slow down during the year possibly registering low single digit rates of growth,” added Glendinning.
Port Elizabeth based GMSA expressed joy at their; “Motor Vehicle Sales Surprise in January”:
GMSA saw a welcome improvement in sales of light commercial vehicles – up by 20% versus January last year with 13 346 vehicles sold compared to the 11 120 last year. GMSA showed growth of 39,3%, which is largely attributable to the popularity of the Chevrolet Utility.
“The new year has certainly got off to a bumper start with surprisingly high sales,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President, Vehicle Sales Service and Marketing. “A welcome start to the year but we remain cautious about the sustainability of any high level of growth over the next 11 months. It is our view that growth will be constrained by economic conservatism through the year with demand levelling out and single digit growth the real prospect by year-end.
“Within the GMSA model line-up the Chevrolet Cruze featured as the number ten best seller with 551 sales supported by the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Sonic, all just outside of the top ten listing. The all-new Trailblazer continues to establish itself in the market after its launch towards the end of last year with 297 sales for January. In the light commercial segment the Chevrolet Utility continues as a popular choice with 1 528 deliveries for the month.
“We expect that sales will be supported by new model activity through the first quarter with a number of new and revised passenger models entering the market. Major focus will however be on the light commercial sector through March, led by the introduction of the latest 6th Generation Isuzu KB.” concluded Gould.