New-car sales plunged deeper into the red in February as low business and consumer confidence, high fuel prices, a weak economy, and political uncertainty ahead of the May elections kept buyers away. Despite optimistic noises from some companies early in the month that the market showed signs of rebounding from January’s depressing showing, when sales fell 10.8% from a year earlier, figures released on Friday showed that last month’s sales were 13.3% lower than February 2018 — down from 31,139 to 27,000. As a result, combined sales for the first two months of the year, at 56,015, were 12.1% down on 2018’s 63,691. Sales of vans, bakkies and trucks fared better. Light, medium and extra-heavy commercial vehicles all improved in January, even if heavy trucks took a slight knock. The overall result was a 6.5% drop in February sales of all new vehicles, from 46,267 to 43,251. Compared to the first two months of 2018, the market was 7% weaker — 85,606 units compared to 92,039. As a result,...

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