In amplification of the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of November, 2012 – released today by NAAMSA’s independent statistical service provider, Messrs RGT SMART – the Association commented that overall new car and commercial sales for November reflected another relatively solid performance compared to the corresponding month last year.

In the event, November, 2012 aggregate Industry domestic sales had improved by 3 636 units or 7.3% to 53 134 from 49 498 units in November last year.  Total domestic sales for the eleven months of calendar 2012 remained 9.8% ahead of the corresponding eleven months in 2011.  November, 2012 export sales at 28 541 vehicles had registered a substantial increase of 8 088 units or 39.5%.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) provides a single total sales number for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and export sales.  Based on historical sales trends and forecasting techniques, Messrs RGT SMART (NAAMSA’s data processing service provider) had compiled estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment.

Overall, out of the total detailed (disaggregated) reported Industry sales of 50 736 vehicles (excluding MBSA), 82.6% or 41 929 units represented dealer sales, 6.9% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 6.2% to government and 4.3% to Industry corporate fleets.

Aggregate Industry new car sales during November, 2012 had performed well and at 36 686 units (including MBSA) reflected an improvement of 3 615 units or 10.9% compared to the 33 071 new cars sold during November 2011.  The year on year improvement was despite the lower number of sales to car rental companies.  Year to date new car sales remained 11.6% ahead of the corresponding eleven months of 2011.

Including estimates for MBSA commercial vehicle sales by segment – sales of Industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 13 949 units during November, 2012 reflected a decline of 183 units or -1.3% compared to the 14 132 light commercial vehicle sales during the corresponding month last year.

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry at an estimated 902 and 1 597 units, respectively, had recorded an increase of 59 units or 7.0%, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and an increase of 145 units or 10.0%, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, compared to the corresponding month last year.

Exports of South African produced motor vehicles, including MBSA export sales data, during November, 2012 at 28 541  vehicles had registered an impressive increase  of 8 088 units or 39.5 % compared to the 20 453 vehicles exported in November last year.  Year to date export sales were 1.5% above the corresponding eleven months of 2011.  The momentum of vehicle exports was expected to improve in 2013 as various export programmes were ramped up and exports of light commercial vehicles expected to increase substantially.

Despite signs of weakness in the economy, the performance of the South African automotive sector continued to be positive.  Factors that continued supporting domestic sales included the historically low interest rate environment, strong replacement demand, the highly competitive trading environment, attractive incentives and new model introductions.  In terms of aggregate domestic sales, the Industry remained on track during 2012 for growth of around 10%.  Negative factors that could influence the new vehicle market over the medium term included a slow down in the economy, rising inflationary pressures as well as the impact of exchange rate weakness.  The modest new vehicle price increases experienced for the past two years might not be sustainable going forward.  The outlook for 2013, at this stage, was one of modest growth in vehicle volume terms – probably in the range of 6% to 8%.