Surprise drop in vehicle exports in May
Domestic sales fell an annualised 5.7% while exports fell 8.8%
The motor industry had a gloomy month in May, with domestic sales under pressure and exports falling for the first time in 2019.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said aggregate domestic sales fell an annualised 5.7% in May, to 40,506, after a small growth of 0.7% in April.
Export sales fell 8.8%, or by 2,866 vehicles, compared to the 32,716 in the previous year, with Naamsa saying this fall had been unexpected. However, vehicle exports so far in 2019 remain 20.1% higher than the same period in 2018.
Of the 40,506 vehicles sold in May, 87.7% were dealer sales while 5.8% were rental-industry sales, 3.6% were for corporate fleets and 2.9% for the government.
The rental industry accounted for 7.9% of new-car sales in May.
Medium commercial vehicles sales increased 0.3% with 681 units sold, while heavy trucks and buses sales fell 14.7% year on year — or 252 vehicles.
Sales of light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses fell 13% to 12,197 from 14,013 in May 2018.
“Demand for new vehicles is likely to remain under pressure in the coming months as the market continues to be affected by numerous constraining factors,” Naamsa said in a statement.
However, new-vehicle sales were likely to improve in the second half of 2019, it said, adding that “the upward momentum on the export side remains strong”.