Pre-emptive buying ahead of tax and fuel levy increases in April could provide new-vehicle sales with a shot in the arm, say motor industry analysts. Figures released on Thursday by the Department of Trade and Industry showed that sales in February fell 3.8% from the corresponding month in 2017, from 48,201 to 46,347. Coming on the tail of January’s dip, it meant the market for the first two months combined was down 6.6%, from 98,587 to 92,124. Car sales held up relatively well in February, losing only 0.4% from a year earlier. But light commercial vehicles, mainly bakkies, were down 9.6%, while medium commercials fell 13.4% and heavy trucks 18%. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) announced that these numbers reflected continued investment uncertainty in the business sector. However, recent improvements in leading indicators led it to "anticipate an improved outlook for the economy over the medium term". WesBank’s Rudolf Mahoney said car sales showed...

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