On the back of the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of September, 2012 – released today by NAAMSA’s independent statistical service provider, Messrs RGT SMART – the Association commented that following many months, during 2012, of double digit year on year growth, the September, 2012 new vehicle sales reflected a significant statistical slow down in underlying growth momentum. This could be attributed, in part, to the high base effect since last years’ September new vehicle sales represented a particularly strong month. However, the tragic events at Marikana together with the current high level of industrial action in an increasing number of sectors in the economy – had dented business confidence in South Africa.
Consumers similarly would have been affected and concerns about the macro socio- economic environment in the country was likely to have resulted in a deferral of purchasing decisions. In the event, September, 2012 aggregate Industry domestic sales had improved by 740 units or 1.4% to 55 097 from 54 357 units in September last year. Total domestic sales for the nine months of calendar 2012 remained 10.0% ahead of the corresponding nine months in 2011. September, 2012 export sales at 26 638 vehicles had registered marginal improvement of 703 units or 2.7%.
Looking ahead to 2013, increasing inflationary pressures on the back of expected higher fuel and food prices and the impact of Rand weakness on new vehicle pricing were likely to result in a more difficult trading environment and more subdued growth in vehicle sales.
The Uitenhage Based Volkswagen Group South Africa maintained its leadership position in the passenger car market this September:
VWSA recorded total sales of 8 761 units and a market share of 22.2%. In 2012, Volkswagen Group South Africa has been the market leader in the passenger car segment for nine consecutive months.
For the third consecutive month, Polo Vivo was the best selling new car in the country with 3 386 units. Meanwhile, Polo was the second best selling model in the new passenger car market with 2 383 units.
The Audi Brand achieved its sixth consecutive record month with the delivery of 1 510 units in September. The top selling model was the A4 Sedan/Avant which sold 673 units.
In the light and medium commercial vehicles segments, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles sold 751 units and 484 of these units were Amarok single and double cab models.
During September 2012, 39 496 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa. The market shrunk by 2.1% compared to August 2012. However, the market grew by 4.4% when compared to September 2011. From January to September 2012, the market was up by 11.50% compared to the same period in 2011.
“While the growth momentum in the new car sales cycle appears to be moderating, overall buoyancy in demand for new passenger cars continues. Even though the market in September was slightly down on the previous month, the selling rate of new cars per day was up 5.9%. An average of 1 659 new cars were sold per day during the month, the strongest selling rate per day since August 2006, a month after the previous boom in demand for new passenger cars peaked out,” said Mike Glendinning, Director: Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“Despite uncertain economic circumstances, the demand for new passenger cars continues at robust levels with the market, of which around 45% is comprised of lower priced entry level vehicles, being driven by powerful supporting factors. In real terms, new vehicle prices have been declining for over two years, a development that has been amplified by an intensely competitive trading environment. This has resulted in significant incentivisation that has further improved the affordability of new cars. Interest rates are at a 38-year low and debt servicing costs remain at low levels as thus promoting growth in installment sales credit, now at 16.5% on an annual basis,” added Glendinning.
“Replacement demand remains a solid driving force as a foundation for new car demand and a steady stream of new model introductions with enhanced value offerings continue to entice consumers. On balance, the wealth effect is also supportive of new car demand with house prices moving sideways, but no longer declining, and the stock exchange trading at record high levels. In these circumstances the outlook for the new car market in 2012 remains for growth exceeding 10% over 2011,” concluded Glendinning.
Port Elizabeth based GMSA achieved a market share of 11,6% in September
General Motors South Africa (GMSA) achieved sales of 6 392 vehicles out of total sales of 55 097 reported by NAAMSA for September. This computes to a market share of 11,6% for the month with a high demand for Chevrolet models in the small and medium car segments.
“For some time the motor industry has expected a levelling off in sales and the first evidence of this came in September,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Month-on-month growth for September 2012 versus 2011 was just 1,4% with 55 097 vehicles delivered in the past month compared to 54 357 for the same period last year.
“Significantly all of that growth is attributable to the passenger vehicle sector which grew by 4,4%. All the commercial vehicle sectors reported sales lower than in September 2011. This would indicate a degree of conservatism with regard to expenditure on vehicles for delivery fleets within the business community. The LCV segment is down 5,2%, albeit that September 2011 sales were possibly inflated through external events.
“Once again the dealer channel was a strong performer, accounting for just under 75% of all sales supported by continued seasonal fleet replacement in the vehicle rental industry. Private buyers continue to drive passenger vehicle demand with a focus on the lower end of the market, and supported with high levels of attractive retail offers.
“The effect of the cooling off in demand for new vehicles during September is best illustrated by the realignment of year-to-date growth numbers. The total market is now a more realistic 10% up on last year, down from its peak of 11,3% at the end of August. Passenger vehicles are up by 11,5% and light commercial vehicles a welcome 7,3% above last year.”
The Chevrolet passenger vehicle range performed well in September with the Spark ranked as number seven in the top ten best sellers list with 1 011 sales while the Sonic was ranked number nine with 725 deliveries. Other strong performers were the Aveo (670) and the Cruze (626). The Chevrolet Utility was again the top selling vehicle in the sub-1 ton LCV segment with 1 416 sales for the month.