New vehicle sales in April were substantially lower than in March, but nevertheless registered double-digit gains, in all four sectors, compared with the corresponding month last year.

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


New vehicle sales in April were substantially lower than in March, but nevertheless registered double-digit gains, in all four sectors, compared with the corresponding month last year.


According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the decline in sales had been as a result of the number of public holidays during April. But aggregate new vehicle sales of 28 667 units reflected an improvement of 3 290 vehicles (13 per cent) compared with the 25 377 new vehicles sold during April 2003.


New car sales (18 734 units) was an improvement of 1 970 units (11,7 per cent) compared with the 16 764 units sold during April 2003. April is traditionally a relatively weak sales month due to the number of public holidays and compared to March – April sales had declined by 6 346 units (25,3 per cent).


Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses had performed reasonably well during April (8 513 units retailed) – and recorded an improvement of 1 125 vehicles (15,2 per cent) compared with the 7 388 units sales of the corresponding month last year. Compared with the bumper new LCV sales recorded during the previous month of March, April sales had however registered a decline of 3 586 units (29,6 per cent).


Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry at 606 units and 814 units, respectively, had registered gains of 105 units (20,9 per cent), in the case of medium commercials, and 90 trucks/buses (12,4 per cent), in the case of heavy commercial vehicles – compared with April 2003.


A Naamsa spokesman said the overall outlook for the industry remained positive and, in the medium term, all segments were expected to maintain the growth momentum of recent months.


“Strong business and consumer sentiment, stable interest rates, continuing highly competitive trading conditions characterised by attractive sales incentives – would continue to combine to provide conditions for further growth in new vehicles sales in the months ahead,” the spokesman added.


Comments from the industry


“If we compare sales on a year-to-date basis, new vehicle sales are up by a significant 15,9 per cent,” said McCarthy Motor Holdings chairman Brand Pretorius. “Should this trend be sustained, the industry is expected to record its best annual sales in twenty years.”


“New vehicle sales are benefiting handsomely from a meaningful increase in the disposable income of economically active South Africans. This increase has mainly been brought about by salary increases exceeding the rate of inflation; cuts in income tax and most importantly, substantially lower interest rates.


“However, the only concern at this point in time is used vehicle sales, which have slowed down. Inventory levels are rising and values are being written down in some instances. This situation is currently undermining dealers’ propensity to offer favourable trade-in prices, which could slow down the market as a whole,” he added.


Regarding Toyota's performance in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle sector in April, Toyota SA Truck division vice president Henk Maree said "the growth in truck sales continued unabated."


With the company's strong presence in April, in which it gained 11,6 per cent of the Commercial Vehicle market, Maree said: "We are extremely pleased with our overall performance. The positive results of the market's continued growth in the industry have been realised and we look forward to a constant, steady climb for the rest of the year ahead”.


Rick Baker, general manager of national vehicle sales for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, said: "All vehicle segments from passenger cars through to heavy commercial vehicles and buses are showing growth.


"This reflects, we believe, the strengthening consumer and business confidence currently being experienced in South Africa."


"Total new vehicle sales continue to hold up but the effect of the public holidays on April's performance is certainly evident," he added.


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

Original article from Car