Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The new-vehicle market fell in November, with exports suffering a rare setback.

Sales of new cars and commercial vehicles were 5.8% behind the 47,748 sold in November 2018. Aggregate sales for the first 11 months of 2019 were 3.4% weaker — down from 512,207 to 494,996.

For most of 2019, monthly overseas sales have been at least 10% better than the corresponding 2018 period.

In November, however, there was a deficit of 0.9%, with sales falling to 35,271 from 35,557. Even so, midyear forecasts that exports could top 400,000 in 2019 for the first time, look likely to be fulfilled. By end-November, companies had shipped 374,215 vehicles. That is 17% better than the 319,717 at the same stage in 2018.

Domestic car sales in November were actually better than a year earlier, up 1.3% to 31,444.

The decline in the overall market was due mainly to poor sales of light commercial vehicles — mainly bakkies and minibus taxis.

Sales in this segment fell 22.1% from a year earlier, from 13,717 to 10,679. Medium, heavy and extra-heavy trucks all recorded deficits.

furlongerd@businesslive.co.za