Sales of new vehicles continue to decline

New vehicles sales are continuing to decline, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) reported on Tuesday.

New vehicle sales fell by 12% to 46 248 units in February compared with the same month last year, Naamsa said.

”February is traditionally a difficult month as there are fewer selling days,” said Jacques Brent, vice-president, sales and marketing of the Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.

”However, this was further compounded by the negative market sentiment brought about by the high interest rates and rising fuel costs.

”The year-over-year decline was also impacted by the fact that the industry was still buoyant in the first quarter of 2007 ahead of the eNaTIS [electronic National Transport Information System] introduction in April.”

Despite the market sentiment having turned negative, Ford Motor Company said it had enjoyed a relatively strong performance in February.

With 6 047 units sold, sales were up by 9,6% over January 2008 and just 6% down on the corresponding month of 2007.

Volkswagen South Africa sales and marketing director Mike Glendinning said the car manufacturer had sold 5 961 passenger cars in February.

Glendinning added: ”New car sales are under pressure from both steadily increasing interest rates, in circumstances where an all-time high level of household debt prevails, and from what has become a significant erosion of the real spending power of households as general inflation escalates steadily.

The weakening rand as well as the Eskom power crisis made the sharp decline taking place in new vehicle sales ”more understandable”. — Sapa

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