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New vehicle sales continue to slide

New vehicle sales in South Africa are still on a steep decline with June sales down by 10,956 units which represents a huge drop of 21.9% compared to the corresponding month last year.
In a statement the National Association of Automobile manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) says the new vehicle sales environment had continued to reflect extreme weakness. In June this year sales totalled 39,064 compared to the 50,020 sold in 2007.

Of the total reported sales 85.1%, or 33,254 units, represented dealer/retail sales, 6.2% sales into NAAMSA member company fleets, 4.8% sales to government and 3.9% representing sales to the car rental industry.

This year's June figures shows a 25.8% slump in new car sales. Factoring in the new car sales not reported in detail, the year-on-year decline had amounted to 8,464 units or a fall of 24.8%, with the daily sales reaching the lowest level in over four years.

Sales of NAAMSA reported new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses at 12,975 units reflected a decline of 2,888 units or 18.2% compared to the 15,863 unit sales during the corresponding month last year. Taking account of the light commercial vehicles sales reported by the AMH Group, the year-on-year decline amounted to 3,021 units or 18.2%.

Sales of vehicles in the medium and heavy truck segments respectively recorded a substantial decline of 296 units or 21.5%, in the case of medium commercials, versus a gain of 192 units or 9.8%, in the case of heavy trucks and buses.

On the new vehicle export side, the industry had continued to perform well and export sales were supporting the operations of vehicle and component producers. In contrast, the worsening downturn in the domestic new car and light commercial vehicle markets was having a major negative effect on automotive dealers and the operations of importers and distributors in South Africa.

For the first half of 2008, export sales reflected an impressive year on year improvement of 52.7%.

“For the balance of 2008 new vehicle sales will remain under severe pressure as a result of the cumulative effect of interest rate rises, inflationary pressures, high levels of personal debt and a slow down in economic activity,” a NAAMSA spokesperson said.

He said the current monetary policy was now having a significant effect on curbing consumer demand in South Africa, particularly in the case of the automotive sector.
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