National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (NAAMSA) reported that new vehicle sales increased over the past month with 46 648 units sold during July 2008. The figure represents a 9% increase when compared to June 2008’s numbers but shows a decrease of just over 20% when compared with the same month in 2007.

Passenger vehicles represented the biggest increase with 29 454 units sold (12% up on last month) while commercial vehicle sales were up by nearly 3% with 13 935 units sold.

“The light commercial vehicle sector continues to come under heavy pressure, while new vehicle sales fair slightly better mainly due to the rental buying season having started,” explains Jacques Brent, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA). “Both locally and internationally there is a great deal of pressure on the automotive sector and while the figures are fluctuating from month to month it is likely that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.”

FMCSA sold 4 511 during the period with 2 543 units passenger vehicles sold and 1 968 commercial vehicle models sold.  Ford’s top passenger model was the Ford Focus with 714 units sold while Mazda’s top seller was again the Mazda2 with 539 units retailed. The Ford Bantam was the top commercial vehicle with 821 units.

Year to date sales have declined by 16.3% with no major recovery in sight for the coming months.

“The cumulative effect of increased interest rates, inflationary pressures, high levels of personal debt and a slowdown in economic activity are expected to pose a challenge to the automotive sector until at least the middle to end of 2009,” concludes Brent.