Vehicle sales broke down because of too many South African public holidays


April was a month of public holidays – more than December and January combined – which cost the new vehicle market millions.

In amplification of the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of April, NAAMSA commented that domestic new vehicle sales, particularly all categories of commercial vehicle sales, had been affected by the multiplicity and configuration of public holidays during the month.

April had 3 official public holidays, but also a short school holiday (first week coastal and first two weeks in the rest of the country) while many people also took an extended break in the last week because of the fact that Friday 1 May was yet another public holiday and many people took 3 days’ leave to make it a 10-day break (from 24 April to 4 May).


Although sales of light commercials plummeted, incentive packages supported new car sales which held up relatively well, while strong growth in new vehicle exports had continued during the month.

New vehicle sales at 44 503 units were slightly down from the 46 016 vehicles sold in April last year. Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 44 503 vehicles, an estimated 38 780 units or 87.2% represented dealer sales, 6.3% constituted sales to government, 4.2% to industry corporate fleets and 2.3% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry.

Total Sales April 2015 44503
Total Sales April 2014 46016
Total Sales March 2015 55416
Total Sales March 2014 55440
Total Sales January-April 2015 204529
Total Sales January-April 2014 206188

The April, 2015 new car market at 30 184 units reflected a decline of 594 units or a fall of 1.9% compared to the 30 778 new cars sold in April last year. Intense competition in a challenging, difficult trading environment had resulted in incentive packages to promote new vehicle sales. Furthermore, a modest recovery in the used vehicle market had also been noticed.

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses during April, 2015 at 12 077 units reflected a decline of 774 units or a fall of 6.0% compared to the 12 851 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

Sales of vehicles in the investment-driven medium and heavy truck segments of the Industry had registered declines. Medium commercial vehicle sales at 777 units and heavy commercial vehicle sales at 1 465 units, reflected a fall of 38 units or 4.7% in the case of medium commercials, and a decline of 107 vehicles or a fall of 6.8% in the case of heavy trucks and buses – compared to the corresponding month last year.

Vehicle exports had continued to contribute positively to South Africa’s current account of the balance of payments. Industry new vehicle exports at 23 615 units during April, 2015 had again registered exceptionally strong growth compared to the corresponding month last year rising by 6 813 vehicles or 40.5% relative to the 16 802 export sales in April, 2014. Vehicle exports for 2015 were on target to improve by around 25% in volume terms to a record export number of about 325 000 for the year.

At this stage, NAAMSA continued to project marginal volume growth in domestic sales based on an assumption of a slight improvement in South Africa’s economic growth rate, relative stability in automotive industry industrial relations, stable interest rates and unchanged credit ratings.

New vehicle industry production would continue to benefit from projected higher export numbers.