September’s new car sales performance reflected the highest monthly new car market since October 1996.

September’s new car sales performance represented the highest monthly new car market in just under seven years. With 35 173 units retailed, the month’s sales were 14,7 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year (30 658).

Continued high demand from rental companies, improved vehicle affordability, attractive incentive packages, together with recent interest rate reductions and expectations of further interest rate cuts – again combined to record substantial gains in new car sales during September, a Naamsa spokesman said.

In September, 24 020 new cars were retailed - a gain of 3 887 cars or 19,3 per cent compared with the 20 133 units sales recorded during the period last year. Car sales were also 1 053 units or 4,6 per cent higher than August.

Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses had turned in a more subdued performance during September and at 9 517 units reflected an improvement of 129 vehicles or 1,4 per cent compared with the 9 388 unit sales in September last year. However, September’s commercial vehicles sales were 636 units or 6,3 per cent lower than August (10 153 units).

Naamsa said sales in the medium and heavy truck segments maintained “amazingly strong upward momentum” and at 586 and 1 050 units, respectively, reflected an improvement of 113 units or 23,9 per cent, in the case of medium commercials, and a gain of 386 units or 58,1 per cent, in the case of heavy trucks and buses – compared with September 2002. Sales of heavy trucks and buses remained close to monthly record levels and the September heavy commercial vehicle sales was the best performance in the sector in over eighteen years.

“On the back of strong replacement demand and positive investment sentiment, prospects for this sector remained above average over the medium term,” the spokesman said.

Three-quarters of the way through 2003, aggregate new vehicle sales are 3,5 per cent ahead of the corresponding nine months of 2002. Overall, the market remained on course to exceed last year’s performance by up to five per cent in volume terms.

“The momentum of the South African economy should serve to underpin demand for new cars and heavy commercial vehicles, in particular, in the short to medium term,” Naamsa said. “Further improvement in the industry’s vehicle export activity, coupled with continued strength in the domestic market, should enable the automotive industry to make an important contribution to the impending up-turn in manufacturing output in South Africa”.

:: Click here for complete new vehicle sales figures in South Africa during September ::

Original article from Car