New vehicle sales rise in April

Sales of new vehicles increased in April, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

Compared with April 2009, vehicle sales in April 2010 rose 26,6%.

However, Naamsa said the improvement should be viewed in relation to “the low sales registered this time last year due to the impact of the global financial and economic crisis at the time”.

Of the total Naamsa-reported industry sales of 30 462 vehicles, 85,7% or 26 037 units represented dealer/retail sales, 7% sales to the car rental industry, 4,2% industry corporate fleet sales and 3,1% sales to the government.

Aggregate industry new car sales in April 2010 “exceeded expectations” and at 23 606 reflected an improvement of 6 843 units or 40,8% on the 16 763 new cars sold in April 2009, Naamsa said.

“Despite the number of public and school holidays during April 2010, the new car market performed well with the selling rate of new cars per day remaining relatively robust.”

Sales of 10 572 units of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses in April 2010 reflected an improvement of 2 558 units or 31,9% on the 8 014 units in April 2009, Naamsa said.

Sales of vehicles in the medium- and heavy-truck segments of the industry reflected a mixed performance.

There were 529 medium trucks sold, a decline of 165 units or 23,8% on April 2009, and 1 056 heavy trucks and buses, a gain of 239 units or 29,3%.

Naamsa said the 17 592 South African-produced vehicles exported in April 2010 was a gain of 5 989 units or 51,6% on the 11 603 vehicles exported in April last year.

“The revival in demand internationally for South
African-produced motor vehicles will support industry export sales going forward,” it said.

The outlook for domestic sales for 2010 remained relatively positive and could gain momentum as economic activity levels improved.

“The domestic market should receive support from further improvement in business confidence and consumer sentiment as well as lower inflation and the benefits of interest-rate reductions.”

Export sales were also expected to improve over the balance of the year.

“The automotive market in South Africa is at an early stage of what probably represents a sustainable recovery,” Naamsa said.

Industry sales projections were recently revised upwards to reflect 14% growth in aggregate sales for 2010, it said. – Sapa

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