According to Naamsa, aggregate new vehicle sales at the halfway mark of the year is 19,6 per cent ahead of the overall sales levels for the first six months last year. Click here for June’s figures.

:: Click here for June's complete new vehicle sales figures ::

According to Naamsa, aggregate new vehicle sales at the halfway mark of the year is 19,6 per cent ahead of the overall sales levels for the first six months last year.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Friday that June’s new vehicle sales marked the fifth successive month of double digit gains compared to the corresponding period last year. Aggregate new vehicle sales (38 188 units) were 8 193 units (27,3 per cent) more than the 29 995 new vehicles sold during June 2003.

The association attributed the strong sales to “a positive macro economic environment, positive consumer and business sentiment, improved new vehicle affordability, attractive incentives and new product offerings”.

New car sales in June (25 904 units) were 30,4 per cent higher compared with the 19 865 vehicles sold during June last year. Last month’s new car sales were an improvement of 3 593 vehicles (16,1 per cent) compared with the 22 311 new cars sold during the corresponding period last year. At the halfway mark for 2004, the new car market had registered a 20,1-per cent gain over the corresponding six months of 2003.

Sales of new LCVs, bakkies and minibuses (10 329 units) improved by 1 556 vehicles (17,7 per cent) compared with the 8 773 units sold during June last year. However, LCV sales had however registered a decline of 92 units (0,9 per cent) compared with the 10 421 light commercial vehicles sold during May. Year to date LCV sales were 17,6 per cent ahead of the first half of 2003.

The medium and heavy truck segments of the market in June again registered solid sales gains and at 781 units and 1 174 units, respectively, reflected an improvement of 263 units (50,8 per cent), in the case of medium commercials, and 335 units (39,9 per cent), for heavy commercial vehicles and buses – compared with the corresponding month last year. The truck and bus market for the first half of 2004 was up 28 per cent in the case of MCVs and 24,3 per cent in the case of heavy trucks and buses.

Naamsa warned that year-on-year comparisons from July onward would reflect a more subdued growth pattern because there had been a marked upswing in the performance of the new vehicle market since the middle of last year.

Nevertheless, the outlook for the industry remained positive, Naamsa said. “An expanding economy, strong consumer and business sentiment and enhanced overall new vehicle affordability, coupled with attractive sales incentives – would support further growth in market volumes,” a spokesman said.

Comment from the motor industry:

McCarthy Motor Holdings chairman Brand Pretorius noted that June passenger vehicle sales were the highest for that particular month since 1978: "Two factors gave rise to this strong sales push. Firstly, dealers maximised sales in order to qualify for their quarterly volume incentive bonuses from the vehicle manufacturers. Secondly, many dealers had their financial year-end on 30 June and went all out to achieve their targets".

While the fleet market remained buoyant, Pretorius added the same could be said of the rental, government and private sectors. "Orders from both the car rental and government sectors are showing meaningful growth. And demand from private buyers is strong due to the enhanced affordability of vehicles, brought about by vehicle price stability over the past eighteen months and much reduced financing costs," he said.

The McCarthy chairman said the outlook for the remainder of the year looked positive, but warned of possible labour unrest as a consequence of the current deadlock in the negotiations between the vehicle manufacturers and their labour union, Numsa. "Extended strike action will affect sales, as new vehicle stock levels are already low.

"One would hope that a settlement will indeed be reached, as a strike would also undermine the motor industry's export platform over both the short and medium term. That is a situation our country can ill afford," Pretorius concluded.

"Nissan has enjoyed an excellent first six months, boosted by our best car and LCV sales for June since 1995," Nissan sales and marketing director Mike Whitfield said. "Although the Nissan 350Z was only launched at the end of January, it has firmly established itself as the country's best-selling sports car with sales of 375 for the first half-year, 110 units ahead of its nearest rival.

Nigel Harris, Ford Motor Company of SA's director of sales and marketing said: "A further reason for the improvement in new vehicle sales may also be attributed to the increased supply of new vehicle models, with some manufacturers rectifying the shortfall of certain key models experienced during the first half of the year."

General Motors SA sales and marketing director Malcolm Gauld said: “Vehicle sales in June could well have been higher but for a number of stock shortages that have placed a number of models in a back order position. It is into this positive environment that we are launching our new fifth-generation Isuzu KB that we are about to start shipping to dealers.

“Our Opel Corsa range had a very good month with 1 715 units delivered to place this range fourth in overall popularity in the passenger vehicle market,” he added.

:: Click here for June's complete new vehicle sales figures ::

Original article from Car