Vehicle sales in January, although subdued, have improved, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) said.
“Aggregate industry sales had improved by 3 144 units or 7% to 48 251 vehicles from 45 107 units in January last year,” said NAAMSA on Thursday.
According to the association, the January 2012 new car market represented the highest January month in the past five years. This was due to the strong demand by car rental companies with the car rental industry accounting for about 17% of total new car sales.
Aggregate industry new car sales during January 2012 at 35 428 units – including Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) – reflected an improvement of 2 465 units or 7.5 % compared to the 32 963 new cars sold during January 2011.
This comes as a global directive by parent company Daimler AG (Germany) instructing MBSA not to report disaggregated sales data for the time being. It will, however, provide a single total sales number for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Of the total industry sales of 45 944 (excluding MBSA), 79.1% or 36 354 units represented dealer sales, 12.8% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 4.7% sales to government and 3.4% to industry corporate fleet sales.
South African export vehicles (excluding MBSA) sales data, showed an improvement of 260 units compared to the 10 185 vehicles exported in January 2011. These figures are expected to improve from February onwards as the January figures reflected the fact that automotive factories only resumed their operations from the middle of January.
“The industry’s export sales performance would, however, depend on the direction of the global economy and the contribution of new export programmes by manufacturers,” said NAAMSA.
South Africa exports vehicles to 77 countries worldwide.
NAAMSA said that export sales to Europe were likely to soften as a result of the recession and debt crisis in the Eurozone. Projected higher exports to African countries should enable the industry to record growth and exceed the total number of vehicle exports of 271 763 units in 2011.
“At this stage, the outlook for 2012 in terms of total industry sales remained one of modest growth. Factors that would lend support to the domestic market included the on-going improvement in the financial position of consumers on the back of relatively low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, the highly competitive trading environment and new model introductions.
“As a result, domestic sales were expected to continue to reflect growth, but at a relatively subdued rate.”
VWSA: Strong start in the new vehicle market for Volkswagen Group South Africa:
During January a total of 35 428 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa. Total new passenger car sales in January increased by 15.4 percent when compared to the estimated December 2011 market, and by 7.5 percent when compared to January 2011.
“Total vehicle sales of 9 803 in January saw Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) top the total market in the first month of the year – with a 21.3 percent market share. Its market share in the passenger vehicle category was even more pleasing, at 25.5 percent with sales of 9 003,” said VWSA Sales and Marketing Director, Mike Glendinning.
The Polo and Polo Vivo Brands retained the top two selling passenger vehicle positions, with sales of 2 644 and 2 964 sales respectively, which equates to 15.3 percent of the passenger market.
“The Audi Brand has shown a positive start to 2012, with a market share of 4.8%,” said Glendinning. “As the Brand prepares for another record year in 2012, the promising start in January with 1 715 sales, is encouraging.”
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Brand recorded sales of 800 units during the month. The Amarok Single and Double Cab pick-ups accounted for 502 of the Brand’s 717 Light Commercial Vehicles sold,” said Glendinning.
“As expected the robust performance of the new passenger car market in J”anuary was probably assisted by the traditional carry-over of sales into the new year, as was also reflected in the selling rate of new passenger cars per day in January which climbed to the highest level since September 2011,” said Glendinning.
“The January 2012 market reflected the highest number of new passenger car sales for the month of January since January 2007 which recorded the highest number of new car sales for the month on record. Furthermore, continuing a trend that has developed over that past four years, the January new passenger car market appears to have once again been assisted by buoyant demand from rental car companies which appear to have contributed some sixteen percent of total new car sales during the month.”
“While still early in the year current circumstances and expectations seem to suggest slow growth in the new passenger car market during 2012, with growth rates probably remaining in single digits. Undoubtedly, however, new car sales during the year will be supported by a highly competitive trading environment, ongoing attractive new model introductions, and restraint in the pace of growth in new vehicle prices which are currently growing by a low 2.1 percent in nominal terms on an annual basis, Glendinning concluded.
GMSA: Vehicle Sales Momentum Carried Through Into 2012
The first vehicle sales month of 2012 saw momentum carried forward from the past year with an increase in sales of 6,97% over January 2011. In this market General Motors South Africa sold 5 136 vehicles for a market share of 10,6%.
Within GMSA’s passenger vehicle range the Chevrolet Aveo maintained a high profile in seventh position in the top ten ranking with 657 sales for the month. The Cruze was ranked number eight with 606 sales. The Chevrolet Orlando continued to impress in the MPV segment with 103 sales as the segment leader. The Chevrolet Utility recorded sales of 1 205 units in the sub- 1 ton segment.
“January vehicle sales numbers released by NAAMSA show subdued but positive growth in the market,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “As ever one has to view the January numbers with a degree of caution with some carry over in new registrations from December and varied close-off dates for December reporting. A more realistic perspective is typically gained with the February sales returns.
“Significant for GMSA is the positive market acceptance and performance of the company’s latest releases – notably the Chevrolet Sonic, with full range representation now becoming available; and the new Chevrolet Utility which has customer demand out-stripping short-term availability.
“Looking ahead we expect a moderate level of growth in sales for the industry in 2012 but at a lower level than that of the past year. New model activity will sustain a high level of buyer interest with some particularly exciting product to come from GMSA in both the Chevrolet and Opel product ranges over the coming months.