New car sales drop

PRETORIA– NEW car sales fell 6.1 percent in July compared to July last year in the biggest year-on-year drop so far this year, recorded for both passenger vehicles and heavy trucks, suggesting a slowdown in both consumer spending and infrastructure investment spending.

The figures were released by The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of Southern Africa (NAAMSA), citing data from the department of trade and industry website.

“The slowing new car market was despite attractive incentive packages on offer by most automotive companies. Intense competition in an increasingly difficult trading environment continued to put pressure on margins throughout the automotive value chain,” NAAMSA said in its statement.

Passenger vehicles sales showed the biggest decline of 8.8 percent, down 3509 units to 36 506.

“In line with our expectations for 2015, passenger vehicle sales continue to be under pressure, with a decrease of 8.8 percent compared to the same period last year. We anticipate further pressure for the remainder of the year given the recent interest rate hikes, inflationary pressures and general pressure on consumer affordability,” the head of Standard Bank Vehicle and Asset finance said in a statement following the release of the figures.

Sales of medium commercial vehicles were down by 1.6 percent while sales of heavy duty trucks fell by 112 or 6.3 percent to 1675 units.

New vehicle sales are an indicator of both business and consumer confidence, both currently running at multi year lows and the latest numbers will have done little to lift the gloom.

As has been the case so far this year, exports continued to power ahead and lift the gloom. In July, exports were up by 24 percent or 5555 units to 28 291 units.

NAAMSA said exports were on track to record a 20 percent growth this year and produce a record 330 000 units for various markets around the world.

Sales of light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses were up by 0.7 percent to just over 15 000 units. – ANA