NAAMSA: COMMENT ON THE MARCH, 2013 SOUTH AFRICAN NEW VEHICLE SALES STATISTICS
In future, South African automotive industry new vehicle sales and export sales data will be compiled, verified and administered by RGT SMART and, after publication of the data on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry, the sales information will be released for public consumption without any embargo. This arrangement has enabled Mercedes-Benz SA (Pty) Ltd to resume full sales reporting and the industry’s automotive sales data base has been updated with Mercedes-Benz sales figures retrospective to December, 2011.
In amplification of the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of March, 2013 – released today on the website of the Department of Trade & Industry – the Association commented that overall new car and commercial vehicle sales for the month had been in line with expectations, reflecting modest declines compared to the corresponding month last year. In 2012 the Easter recess fell during the month of April, whereas this year the Easter break occurred during the month of March, 2013. As a result, March last year benefited from two additional selling days compared to March this year and this would have contributed to the decline in aggregate industry sales of 1206 units or 2,1% to 54946 vehicles from 56152 units in March last year. On a daily selling rate basis, aggregate new vehicle sales for March, 2013 showed an improvement of about 7,0% compared to the corresponding month last year. Export sales had registered another strong performance reflecting an improvement of 18,2%.
Overall, out of the total detailed (disaggregated) reported Industry sales of 54946 vehicles, 48101 units or 87,5% represented dealer sales, 4,4% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 4,2% to government and 3,9% to Industry corporate fleets.
During March, 2013 a total of 37596 new cars were sold which represents a decline of 1400 units or a fall of 3,6% compared to the 38996 new cars sold in March last year which had benefited from two additional selling days. Interestingly, the daily selling rate in respect of new cars in March, 2013 was around 5,5% higher than during the corresponding month last year.
Sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 14794 units during March, 2013 reflected an increase of 189 units or 1,3% compared to the 14605 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry at 1015 units and 1541 units, respectively, had recorded an increase of 32 units or 3,3% in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and a decline of 27 units or 1,7% in the case of heavy trucks and buses, compared to the corresponding month last year.
Industry new vehicle exports during March, 2013 at 28338 vehicles had registered substantial gains rising by 4370 units or 18,2% compared to the 23968 vehicles exported in March last year. The momentum of vehicle exports was expected to improve further over the balance of the year and particularly exports of light commercial vehicles should increase substantially during 2013.
The near term outlook for the automotive sector would be affected by upward new vehicle pricing pressure as a result of the weaker exchange rate and the April, 2013 increase in CO2 vehicle emissions taxes on cars and certain categories of light commercials. This could result in some moderation in the rate of growth in sales over the balance of the year. There were a number of factors however that should lend support going forward and these included the low interest rate environment, continued strong replacement demand, a highly competitive trading environment with attractive incentives, low debt servicing costs and high tech new model introductions. On the negative side, however, rising inflationary pressures facing consumers would dampen growth in consumers’ real disposable income. New vehicle exports and industry production, however, should register strong growth in 2013.