New vehicle sales in March have increased by 4.8% year-on-year to 56 110 units, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) announced on Tuesday.
According to a statement released by NAAMSA, aggregate industry sales had improved by 2 552 units or 4.8% to 56 110 vehicles from 53 558 units in March last year.
“For the time being, Mercedes?Benz South Africa (MBSA) would provide 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,” NAAMSA said.
Out of the reported industry sales (excluding MBSA), 89% or 47 417 units represented dealer sales, 4.9% represented sales to government, 3.1% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry and 3% to industry corporate fleet sales.
A total of 38 970 passenger cars were sold in March, reflecting an improvement of 3 802 units or 10.8% compared to the 35 168 passenger cars sold during March 2011.
Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments – at an estimated 934 and 1 650 units, respectively – declined by 22 units or 2.3%.
For the first quarter of 2012, commercial vehicle sales had underperformed the growth in the new car market.
The association noted, however, that export sales had remained under pressure.
Exports of South African produced motor vehicles, including MBSA export sales, during March 2012 at 23 956 vehicles reflected a decline of 6 070 units or a fall of 20.2% compared to the 30 026 vehicles exported during March last year.
NAAMSA anticipated that industry export sales should improve during the months ahead as the Ford Global Compact Vehicle Export Programme and the BMW new 3 series export volumes were ramped up.
However, it warned that sharp increases in energy and transport costs would impact negatively on consumer disposable income in the months ahead, highlighting that record high fuel prices should also reinforce the growing trend in favour of more fuel efficient vehicles.
Volkswagen Group South Africa maintains its top position in the passenger car market
Volkswagen Group South Africa has maintained its top position in the passenger car market with total sales of 8 239 units and market share of 21.1% in March 2012.
In March 2012, a total of 38 970 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa, an increase of 7.2% when compared to February 2012 and by 10.8 % more than the same period in 2011. The passenger car market ended the first quarter of 2012 at a level of 8.4% above the same period in 2011.
“The robust performance of new car sales so far in 2012 continued into March, which usually is a strong month for new car demand from a seasonal perspective. This contributed to sales in the first quarter of 2012 to reach a level last experienced five years ago in 2007,” said Mike Glendinning, Director: Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen Group South Africa.
“The performance of the market during the first quarter of 2012 is, however, compatible with generally more positive economic news that has characterized the year so far and while rates of growth in new car sales over 2011 have slowed as expected, the new car sales cycle has continued its upward trend. Contributing to this performance has been a marked improvement in general business confidence in the first quarter, with the RMB/BER business confidence index moving into positive territory and with the sub-index for new vehicle dealer confidence increasing the most. ”
“Volkswagen Group South Africa is delighted to finish the first quarter of 2012 in the leadership position of passenger car market. Our consistent performance has been spearheaded by the market dominance of the Polo Vivo (2 846 units) and Polo (2 355 units) brands that were again the top two sellers in March, ” added Glendinning.
The Audi Brand had another positive month with 1 360 sales. Audi’s improved performance was boosted by the A4 sedan/Avant with the sales of 495 units.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles reported sales of 844 units. The Amarok Single and Double cabs accounted for 632 units of the total sales.
Glendinning concluded: “With the first quarter of 2012 having registered relatively buoyant demand for new passenger cars the likely pace of market growth for the year will become more apparent as the second quarter progresses. Sales will, however, continue to be supported by growth in household income, real new vehicle price increases continuing in negative territory, ongoing low levels of debt servicing costs and ongoing new model introductions which will continue to stimulate new car demand.”
GMSA ranked third amongst local OEMs with 6 133 sales for 11% market share
General Motors South Africa recorded total sales of 6 133 vehicles for its Chevrolet, Opel and Isuzu ranges for the month of March. This gives the company a market share of just on 11% for the month with total vehicle sales recorded by NAAMSA of 56 110 units.
The Chevrolet Aveo, GMSA’s budget offering in the ‘B’segment of the market achieved sales of 800 units in eighth position on the top ten passenger vehicle sales log. The Sonic, Chevrolet’s latest generation hatch and sedan model in the ‘B’segment achieved sales of 455 units in the first month of full range availability. In the light commercial sector high demand for the new Chevrolet Utility resulted in sales of 1 708 units.
“March vehicle sales reported by NAAMSA show welcome continued growth in the industry, albeit at a slightly restrained pace than in recent months,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The total of 56 110 deliveries for the month was up by 2 552 units or 4,8% compared to March 2011, marginally below industry growth forecasts for the year but still very in positive territory with year on year growth up 6% for the first quarter of 2012.
“We had 21 selling days in March compared to 22 in the same month last year with an increase in the daily sales rate from 2 574 to 2 671 an important indicator of support from the private sector. Conversely sales in the Rental and Government channels were lower than in March 2011.
“Demand for passenger vehicles remained strong through March, supported by new model activity and promotional campaigns at dealer level. Light commercial vehicle sales were however 7,5% lower than the same month last year. This is a sector that should be closely monitored over the coming months to ascertain whether this is as a result of sales being brought forward in March last year in the wake of Japanese tsunami related supply concerns.
“Going forward government’s increased focus on infrastructure development is likely, over a more long-term period, to have a positive influence on the light commercial vehicle and truck segments of the market.”
“The continued stability in the interest rate and a relatively low cost of finance are positives for the industry as is the continued stability of the rand. On the negative side are continued cost pressures on fuel and the inevitable introduction of road tolls on the Gauteng highway system.”
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