New-vehicle sales are expected to shrink by 1% in 2019 to their lowest level since 2010, WesBank CEO Chris de Kock said on Thursday night. Speaking at a motor industry awards event in Kyalami, he said rock-bottom consumer confidence, allied to corporate spending inactivity because of election-year political uncertainty, would drag down the market for the fifth time in six years. Since 2013, it has grown only once, in 2017. De Kock has a history of accurate forecasts. If he’s right again and the market in 2019 dips 1% to 546,670 from 2018’s 552,190, it will be the worst year since 2010, when the industry recorded 492,907 sales. That is bad news not only for motor companies but also for the government. In November, trade & industry minister Rob Davies announced an updated motor industry development programme intended to increase SA’s annual vehicle production from 2018’s 610,000 to 1.2-million by 2035. While much of the extra vehicles are expected to be taken up by exports, domestic d...

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