Do not get too carried away with April’s 3.6% improvement in new-vehicle sales from a year earlier, says WesBank analyst Rudolf Mahoney. After all, he says, we are comparing with an “utterly atrocious” month when the market collapsed after former president Jacob Zuma’s firing of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and other actions that caused the country’s credit rating to be reduced to junk status. Still, a 3.6% improvement is welcome in any circumstances – particularly when it may rise later to 4.6%. The Fiat and Chrysler brands, though part of the same global group for some years, officially merged into a new local firm, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles SA, on May 1. Delays caused by integration of data and systems means comprehensive sales details will not be ready until mid-May. Based on past performance, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said the new company probably sold about 350 vehicles in April. That would add almost 1% to the market. Without Fiat ...

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