A monthly record for new-vehicle exports achieved in September was not enough to lift the gloom from a disappointing domestic market. Volkswagen SA and BMW SA had particularly strong export months, alongside Ford and Mercedes-Benz SA, as the industry shipped out 36,781 vehicles. That beat the previous record of 36,341, achieved in September 2017. There was no such cause for celebration in the South African market. Even the most optimistic analysts are saying that the full-year market will be lucky to match 2017. After nine months, sales of all new vehicles, at 412,916, are 0.8% down from 2017’s 416,167. Car sales are 0.3% weaker: 272,609 compared with 273,392. The gaps are small, but after early-year forecasts of up to 4% growth, the numbers are disheartening. Figures released on Monday by the department of trade & industry show that car sales fell 2.6% compared with September 2017, from 33,678 to 32,786. As a result, the total market for cars and commercial vehicles fell 1.9%, from...

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