SA vehicle sales growth seen slowing to four-year low

South African vehicle sales growth will probably ease to the slowest pace since a 2009 recession this year because of a weaker economy, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

Sales will rise 4.5% to 652 000 this year, slower than the 9% expansion in 2012, before accelerating to 7.6% next year, the Pretoria-based industry group known as Naamsa, said in a report today.


Manufacturers are raising prices after the rand dropped 14% against the dollar this year and consumer spending moderated, it said.


The automobile industry accounts for almost 7% of South Africa’s gross domestic product, according to the department of trade and industry. Household spending eased in the first quarter to the slowest pace in four years, limiting overall growth already hampered by mining strikes and weak demand for manufactured exports from Europe.


Inflation, which at 5.6% in May is close to the top of the central bank’s target of 3% to 6%, has dampened consumer confidence. The rand fell 0.1% to 9.84 per dollar at lunchtime in Johannesburg on Tuesday and is the worst performer against the dollar this year of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. – Bloomberg

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