April vehicle sales figures reflected ongoing pressure on the interest-rate sensitive new car and light commercial vehicle sectors, but strong sales of medium and heavy trucks. Overall sales were down by 4,4 per cent compared with last year.

To view April's new vehicle sales figures click here

April vehicle sales figures reflected ongoing pressure on the interest-rate sensitive new car and light commercial vehicle sectors, but strong sales of medium and heavy trucks. Overall sales were down by 4,4 per cent.

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), aggregate new vehicle sales for April were at 25 440 units. This was a decrease of 1 187 units compared with the 26 627 units sold during the corresponding month last year.

However, taking account that there were two fewer trading days during April, compared with the corresponding month last year, the average new vehicle sales rate per day during April 2003 was above that of the corresponding month last year.

New car sales during April were at 16 819 units and reflected a marginal decline of 109 units or 0,6 per cent compared with the 16 928 unit sales recorded during the corresponding month in 2002. On a daily average new car sales rate basis, however, April 2003 sales showed improvement compared with the corresponding month last year.

Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses at 7 396 units during April reflected a fairly sharp decline of 1 158 units or 13,5 per cent compared with the 8 554 unit sales of the corresponding month last year.

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry during April registered further gains.

Medium commercials came in at 485 units, an improvement of 9,4 per cent or 42 units compared with the corresponding month last year. Heavy trucks and buses accounted for 740 units, a gain of 5,4 per cent or 38 units compared with the corresponding month last year. Continued strength in sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles and buses reflected the resilience of the South African economy.

New vehicle exports during March, the latest available month in terms of export statistics, performed reasonably well with exports of cars, during the month, rising to their highest monthly level in 2003. Total exports for March came in 10 741 units, up from 8 780 units in January.

The industry’s vehicle export performance remained in line with overall projections and would receive a boost, from April 2003 onwards, by the Toyota export contract to Australia. In aggregate terms, vehicle exports for 2003 were projected at 138 500 units compared with the 125 306 vehicles exported in 2002.

Domestic South African new vehicle sales remained on track to record modest growth for 2003 supported by lower inflation, a reduction in interest rates in the near future, higher levels of disposable income flowing from lower rates of personal taxation and the overall resilience in the South African economy which should translate into an economic growth rate of between two-and-a-half to three per cent for 2003.

The extent and timing of the long awaited reduction in interest rates represented the key factor that would influence the performance of the industry during the second half of the year.

To view April's new vehicle sales figures click here

Original article from Car