Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The total value of new vehicles sold in May came to R13.9bn, a 1.6% increase from the same month in 2017 without taking inflation into account.

May’s total used-vehicle sales came to R10.3bn, slightly down from a year ago, according to Statistics SA’s monthly motor trade report released on Thursday.

In contrast to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA’s (Naamsa) monthly report, which provides the number of new vehicles sold, Stats SA’s monthly report provides the value of new vehicles sold.

Stats SA also provides a pictures of whether South Africans are buying used rather than new vehicles, along with retail fuel sales and other sources of income for the motor industry.

Naamsa’s figures showed new-vehicle sales plummeted to 36,346 in April from 49,233 in March — presumably because people bought cars ahead of higher VAT and vehicle-emission taxes. From April’s dip, new-vehicle sales recovered to 42,950 in May then 46,678 in June.

Stats SA only provides current prices in its motor trade report, unlike its wholesale and retail trade reports, which provide constant prices set to 2015 to strip out inflation. In current prices, new-vehicle sales reached a record R17bn in March, then tumbled to R11.5bn in April followed by a 21% jump to May’s R13.9bn.

Used-vehicle sales fell to R9bn in April from R10.5bn in March, then rebounded 14% to R10.3bn in May. Stats SA’s figures show used-vehicle sales peaked at R10.8bn in November 2017.

May’s fuel sales totaled R15.4bn — far lower than a peak of R17.1bn reached in October 2014, even without taking inflation into account.

The total motor industry’s sales came to R54.6bn in May, up from R48.6bn in April. The three-month, seasonally adjusted figure, used to calculate the motor industry’s contribution to GDP, showed a 0.2% decline from March to May.