Motor companies may be celebrating October’s new-vehicle sales, which hit their highest monthly level for three years, but there is precious little for consumers to get excited about, Derick de Vries, Standard Bank’s head of vehicle and asset finance, said Thursday. Vehicle rental companies, restocking their fleets ahead of the year-end holidays, accounted for 28.7% of car sales and 20.2% of all vehicles. Private sales through dealerships were actually down. “I expect more of the same in November,” said De Vries, “with more strong rental demand and more pressure for consumers.”

Nico Vermeulen, director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), said: “The economy continues to experience difficult conditions and consumers’ disposable income remain under pressure. Economic indicators suggest that business conditions will probably remain difficult over the short term.” Figures released on Thursday by the department of trade & industry show that domest...

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