New-vehicle sales flatten out in July

A market of 32,396 cars and commercial vehicles last month outsold June by just 754 units.
A market of 32,396 cars and commercial vehicles last month outsold June by just 754 units.
Image: Supplied

New-vehicle sales in SA flattened out last month, showing much smaller gains than during the first two months since the motor industry came out of lockdown.

July 2020 sales figures provide a picture of what could be expected for the remainder of the year, said the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), after a market of 32,396 cars and commercial vehicles last month outsold June by just 754 units. It was also a massive 13,646 units (29.6%) lower than the 46,042 vehicles sold in July last year.

Last month’s passenger-car sales declined substantially to 10,552 cars (35.8%) compared to July 2019, partly because the car rental industry only contributed to 1.4% of sales compared to nearly 20% in July last year. This was in view of the tourism sector still under lockdown restrictions.

Bakkies and light commercial vehicles sold 11,123 units in July, a fall of 2,736 units (19.7%) from the corresponding month last year.

According to the National Automobile Dealers’ Association’s (Nada’s) chairperson, Mark Dommisse, “most worrying to note is that July was a very long trading month, and vehicle sales were still almost 30% down on the previous year.

“July was a very difficult trading month and we don’t see a quick recovery from this new reality any time soon. In fact, we’re looking at a minimum of one to two years before we see any significant improvement in new vehicle sales.

“Consumers are still under massive pressure to meet their monthly household expenses, and cautious when making big-ticket vehicle purchases and committing to large financial payments,” says Dommisse.

“While there is some reprieve from recent interest rate cuts, rising fuel prices and general inflation will continue to pinch wallets into the foreseeable future.

“On the positive side, many consumers will have resumed paying deferred instalments in July, and considering the pressure they are under and that there is still an appetite for new cars in the current environment, a flat month from June to July was very encouraging,” adds Dommisse.

Last month’s export sales at 24,706 units were 10,381 units (29.6%) lower compared to July 2019, but this is expected to improve as major export destinations are starting to ease their lockdown restrictions.

Toyota was the best selling brand locally with 7,464 sales last month, ahead of Volkswagen (5,075), Ford (3,194), Hyundai (2,520), Nissan (2,132), and Isuzu (1,671).

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