New-vehicle sales achieved their first year-on-year improvement in April, though not by enough to suggest real recovery is on the way. Car sales grew by 3.9% compared to April 2018, from 24,054 to 24,989. The total market, including commercial vehicles, improved by 0.7%, from 36,528 to 36,794. For the first four months of the year, however, cars were still 6.2% behind the same stage in 2018 last year — 112,511 against 119,898. The overall market was 3.7% in arrears, down from 177,797 to 171,242. This is a traditionally difficult time of year to draw market conclusions, because of shifting Easter and school holiday dates. However, it would be unfair to deny motor companies and their dealers a momentary sigh of relief after such a miserable start to 2019. Car sales, particularly, were awful in the first three months. Luxury cars are down 30% on 2018, said Standard Bank’s Cyril Zhungu. Mike Mabasa, CEO of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), said April s...

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