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Strikes cause September sales slump


WITH THE three-week strike and ‘supporting’ industrial action in the automotive-component industry, it was widely expected that new-vehicle sales would reflect a substantial decline compared to September last year.

However, existing inventory levels cushioned the impact to a certain extent with a vehicle-sale increase of 0.8% over the corresponding month last year.

The greatest harm was done to South Africa’s reputation as an export producer with a dramatic decline of 75.1%. This will probably have a negative effect on future export contracts since labour stability was one of the most important considerations for the decisions by multinationals to allocate vehicles for production in our country - a situation which may change in the near future.

In the individual results, Toyota once again occupies the number-one slot in the total sales category with 9 751 units, 647 units fewer than in August. These results were mainly due to the Hilux (2 739), once again the overall top-seller. Toyota’s figures were also boosted by the Etios (2 358), Corolla/Auris (1 005) and Rav4 (318).

Remaining in second place overall with total sales of 8 961, Volkswagen had the distinction of selling the most passenger cars (8 321), with the Polo (2 634) leading the way. The entry-level Polo Vivo managed 2 435 units while the Golf 7 also did well with 525 sales. A respectable 311 Tiguans found homes.

The company’s Audi division also added to the good news with the A3 on 335 sales and A4 on 577. Overall, Volkswagen increased its sales figures by 51 units.

Pretoria-based Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa comes in third spot with 6 152 units sold, an improvement of 259 units compared to August. The company’s stars were the Ranger (1 435), Figo (1 690), Fiesta (836) and Focus (350).

Remaining that proverbial one step behind Ford, General Motors South Africa is in fourth place with total sales of 5 096, a significant drop of 933 units. GM’s stars were the Isuzu KB (1 049) as well as the Chevrolet Utility (1 329), Spark (718) and Trailblazer (283).

In position number five, Nissan displayed a sense of stability with 4 129 units sold, compared to 4 248 the previous month. Nissan’s highlights were provided by the NP300 Hardbody (836 units), NP200 (726), Micra (495), Almera (460), Juke (356) and Qashqai (277).

Mercedes-Benz finished September in sixth place with 2 667 units sold, thanks its stalwart C-Class (859), B-Class (235) and E-Class (233). The company’s pricey M-Class also did well, registering 204 sales.

Seventh place went to BMW with 2 189 units sold, 183 fewer than in August. The 3-Series excelled with 783 units sold. BMW’s other stars included the 1 Series (527) and 5 Series (227).

Beating Honda by just one sale, Renault came in eighth with 1 302 units shifted. The Clio excelled with 684 sales, followed by the Sandero (327). The new Duster has already made a big impression on the buying public, as it recorded a sales figure of 183.

Finishing September in ninth place, Honda sold 1 301 vehicles in September, a significant 276 units more than in August. The bulk of Honda salescame from the Brio (327), CR-V (315) and Jazz (312).

Rounding out the top 10 is Chrysler South Africa with 797 units sold. The company’s best-sellers were the Jeep Grand Cherokee (295), Compass (163) and Dodge Journey (130).

Of the other manufacturers, Jaguar/Land Rover did well with 634 units sold, thanks to the Discovery 4 (226), Freelander 2 (114) and 57 sales for Jaguar’s F-Type. Rumour has it that JLR are so upset that their pricey Range Rover Evoque did not win last year’s Car of the Year competition that they’ve reserved participation in this year’s instalment. Perhaps they should a leaf out of the Porsche book and win on merit rather than on sentiment and a massive publicity campaign for their F-Type.

Porsche keeps on doing well with 127 units sold,  with the bulk of sales going to the Cayenne (75) and Cayman/Boxster (26).

And now South Africa will hold its collective breath at the outcome of the strikes in the industry – some would call it economic sabotage – on the figures for October. - Story written by Bernard K Hellberg

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