Although last month’s new vehicle sales were marginally lower than in January, February’s aggregate was nevertheless a whopping 32,4 per cent higher than that of the corresponding period in 2004.

:: Click here for complete new vehicle sales figures during February ::

Although last month’s new vehicle sales were marginally lower than in January, February’s aggregate was nevertheless a whopping 32,4 per cent higher than that of the corresponding period in 2004.


The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) announced on Wednesday that sales had increased in all major segments of the new vehicle market during February compared with the same month last year. Aggregate new vehicle sales (42 832 units) were “broadly in line with expectations” and 10 495 more than February 2004’s total.


New car sales (28 373 units) were 34,4 per cent higher compared with the 21 111 sold in February, 2004. However, the February new car market declined by 537 vehicles (1,8 per cent) compared with the 28 910 units sold during the previous month of January.


Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses improved by 2 330 vehicles (22,8 per cent) compared with the 10 216 units sold during January. Moreover, February’s vehicle sales total in this sector of the market reflected an improvement of 2 786 vehicles (28,5 per cent) compared with the 9 760 units sold during the corresponding month last year.


Sales in the medium and heavy truck segments continued to register impressive gains during February and with sales of 825 units and 1088 units, respectively, recorded an improvement of 273 units (49,5 per cent), in the case of medium commercials, and 174 units (19,1 per cent), in the case of heavy commercial vehicles and buses – compared with the corresponding month last year.


“Sales of vehicles in the medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicle segments of the industry remained in a strong upward phase on the back of positive fixed investment trends,” Naamsa said.


Meanwhile, built-up vehicle exports made a relatively modest start to 2005 with overall new vehicle exports rising by 7,6 per cent (5 600 units) compared with 5 204 vehicles exported during January.


“Positive consumer and business sentiment, stable interest rates and vehicle prices, together with an expected improvement in the rate of growth in the South African economy (would be conducive) to continued growth in new car and commercial vehicle sales,” a Naamsa spokesman predicted.


“Overall, the short to medium term prospects for the industry remain positive. However, the announcement in the Budget of changes to the car allowance taxation provisions and the planned changes to the fringe benefit tax treatment of company cars” were expected to have a negative impact on demand patterns on the market. “Particularly the premium vehicle sector was likely to be negatively affected,” the association noted.

:: Click here for complete new vehicle sales figures during February ::

INDUSTRY REACTION:

Nissan's head of sales and marketing Roel de Vries said: "There are many new vehicle launches planned for 2005, including some significant new product from Nissan, and these will stimulate the new vehicle market."

"Besides the new model launch activity which will have stimulated demand, the strength of the market can be attributed to improved inventory levels, vehicle prices remaining at a relatively constant level and growing consumer confidence," director of marketing and sales for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Nigel Harris, said.

VWSA reported that, for Volkswagen, the Citi/Chico, Polo/Polo Classic, the new Golf and Touareg were the strongest performers. For Audi, the A4, A6 and TT sales were noteworthy. br>

GMSA experienced its best overall sales performance in one month since 1980. According to sales and marketing director Malcolm Gauld, this performance was boosted by record sales of its light commercial vehicles, also the best since February 1984.

Brand Pretorius, chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings said: "The current market strength is exceeding even our most optimistic forecast. The market is still deriving substantial benefit from a relatively high level of macro economic activity. In addition, we are also still experiencing high levels of business and consumer confidence, while strong fleet buying is continuing."

According to Pretorius, there are a number of reasons for February's strong performance.

"The industry is currently experiencing excellent stock availability, with all the manufacturing facilities back at full strength after reopening in January. In addition, there are also a number of aggressive sales campaigns currently running, with countless models being offered on favourable finance terms," said Pretorius.

"Underpinning the market is enhanced vehicle affordability as no significant price increases have been introduced for almost two years."

Pretorius also pointed out that South African car buyers are experiencing a buyers' market like never before, with a selection of more than 1 100 models available. "With the current good levels of stock availability and intense competition for market share, attractive deals are available in virtually all segments of the market."

Original article from Car