Public holidays soften new-vehicle sales
Local motor industry takes a knock in April after impressive March performance
New-vehicle sales in SA fell 17.6% last month compared to March, affected by a number of public holidays that provided fewer selling days during the month.
Though April’s 35,779 sales were way ahead of the 574 sales recorded during the same month last year, it is difficult to gauge market performance given the hard lockdown restrictions during April 2020 when vehicle production and retail sales came to a standstill.
“April sales are difficult to interpret within the context of lockdown,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank Vehicle and Asset Finance. “On balance, April sales lost less against March than March sales had gained against February, meaning the market remains in its state of slow recovery.”
March sales had increased an impressive 18.4% over February, signalling a potential turnaround for a beleaguered motor industry that declined 30% in 2020.
“Demand in the new vehicle market remains high as judged by WesBank’s daily application rate,” says Gaoaketse. “While WesBank continues to finance more than twice the number of pre-owned vehicles than new, there is a marginal shift towards new-car sales as experienced during April.”
Affordability remains a key purchase consideration, driving consumers towards the pre-owned market, he says.
Mikel Mabasa, CEO of the Naamsa Automotive Business Council, said that while last year’s hard lockdown and last month’s fewer selling days distorted industry performance, for the first four months of 2021 the new-vehicle market was now 28.3% above the corresponding period last year.
Mark Dommisse, Chair of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada), says with an average of 36,000 units sold over the first four months of 2021 the new car market is in a relatively healthy state.
“We must be mindful, however, of potential setbacks in coming months,” said Dommisse. “In contrast to 2020, we have customers, but a shortage of many models due an increasing number of global logistical challenges are impacting negatively on the current and future new vehicle stock availability in SA. We’re experiencing a global scarcity of microchips, as well as steel, resin and rubber.
“We now unfortunately have the added complication of severe lockdowns in India, limiting production. India is a large source of built-up vehicle imports, particularly in the entry-level segment of the market,” he added.
SA’S TOP SELLING VEHICLES - APRIL 2021
- Toyota Hilux — 3,163
- VW Polo Vivo — 1,849
- VW Polo — 1,792
- Ford Ranger — 1,705
- Isuza D-Max — 1,402
- Toyota Hi-Ace — 1,176
- Nissan NP200 — 1,082
- Toyota Urban Cruiser — 796
- Suzuki Swift — 652
- Toyota Corolla Quest — 652
- Renault Kwid — 642
- Toyota Fortuner — 615
- Hyundai Venue — 572
- Suzuki S-Presso — 571
- Hyundai Grand i10 — 518
- Toyota Starlet — 503
- VW Polo Sedan — 502
- VW T-Cross — 498
- Toyota Agya — 467
- Renault Triber — 436
- Ford EcoSport — 430
- Haval H2 — 400
- Mazda CX-5 — 350
- Suzuki Vitara Brezza — 347
- VW T-Roc — 347
- Kia Picanto — 338
- Mahindra Scorpio Pik-Up — 338
- Kia Seltos — 331
- Hyundai Creta —326
- Hyundai Atos — 322
* List excludes BMW and Mercedes-Benz which do not report sales of individual models
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