New vehicles are shown parked at a storage facility at Volkswagen SA's plant in Uitenhage in this 2014 file photo. Picture: THE HERALD/EUGENE COETZEE
New vehicles are shown parked at a storage facility at Volkswagen SA's plant in Uitenhage in this 2014 file photo. Picture: THE HERALD/EUGENE COETZEE

New-vehicle sales recorded only their second 2019 year-on-year increase in October, beating October 2018 by 122 vehicles, or 0.2%, data from the department of trade and industry showed on Friday.

The only other time in 2019 when the motor industry outsold the corresponding 2018 month was in April. Car sales did surprisingly well in October, reaching 35,904, a year-on-year gain of 2.5%.

Despite deficits in some commercial vehicle categories, this was enough to push total new-vehicle sales into the black: 51,978 compared to 51,856.

Light and heavy commercial vehicles took a knock in October, while medium commercials continued their upward trend, helped mainly by new products that have expanded the market segment.

For the first 10 months of 2019 the market remains well behind that of 2018. By the end of October, consumers, fleet buyers and the government had bought 450,268 new vehicles — 3.1% fewer than at the same stage in 2018

Local car sales were down 4.1% to 295,021 but
new-vehicle exports bounced back strongly in October from September’s brief blip, when shipments fell 3%. In October, exports of 41,277 were 21% higher than those of a year earlier. Aggregate exports for the year to end-October, at 338,955, were 19.3% ahead of last year’s.