New vehicle sales surge 30%

New vehicle sales have surged 30% year-on-year in September to 54 364 units from 41 825 units in the corresponding period last year, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

The association noted however that sales during the corresponding month last year had been severely depressed by stock shortages as a result of industrial action throughout the industry at the time.

Total domestic sales in the year to date remained 16.2% ahead of the corresponding nine months in 2010.

New passenger car sales rose 26.2% to 37 832 from 29 981. The association said the new passenger car market had again received support from strong demand by car rental companies with the car rental industry accounting for 21.4% of total new car sales.

“The strength of the new car market in September 2011, could be attributed to a number of factors, including ongoing improvement in the financial position of consumers on the back of relatively low interest rates, further improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms and the positive influence of aggressive marketing and sales incentive programmes during the month,” Naamsa said.

Out of 54 364 vehicles sold, 77.8% units represented dealer sales, 15.9% represented sales to the car rental industry, 3.5% sales to government and 2.8% represented industry corporate fleet sales.

Exports of South African-produced motor vehicles rose 106.9% to 25 933 compared with the strike-affected total of 12 534 a year ago.

New light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses gained 41.5% year on year in September to 14 006 from 9 897 a year ago.

For the first nine months of 2011, new light commercial vehicle sales were ahead by 10.9% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Sales of medium commercial vehicles rose 38.4% to 854, while heavy trucks and buses grew 25.7% to 1 672.

Total year to date sales of medium, heavy commercials and buses remained 24.6% ahead of the corresponding nine months of last year.

Naamsa said the latest sales figures had exceeded industry expectations and were cause for optimism. The new car market for 2011 was likely to show an improvement of about 15%, in volume terms, on the 2010 figures.—I-Net Bridge

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