Defying the rand
Vehicle sales, as published by the National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), reached 53 997 units in May 2013, which is well in line with the industry’s expectations for a total sales target of between 650 000 and 680 000 units for this year.
“Overall the market was up 7,5 percent on May last year, with passenger vehicles gaining 6,3 percent for the month versus 2012,” says General Motors South Africa’s (GMSA’s) vice president of sales, service and marketing, Malcolm Gauld. “Light commercial vehicles once again delivered an encouraging performance, with a 11,1 percent gain in sales when compared to May, 2012.”
He points out that the sales of medium commercial vehicles was virtually static, while heavy and extra-heavy vehicles gained 20,8 and 12 percent respectively over the same month last year. “Year-to-date growth for the total market of 7,5 percent is likely to reduce over the coming months, but will still remain positive territory at year end.”
Glenn Crompton, vice president of marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors, adds: “Although vehicle sales are in line with expectations, it remains the strongest month of May since the market peaked in 2007.”
The Hilux performed very well with total sales of 3 076 units in May, while other locally produced Toyota models followed the positive trend, with the Quantum and Ses’fikile taxis seeing total sales of 1 210 units.
GMSA also did well, achieving a market share of 10,9 percent, with a total of 5 956 sales for the month. Of these 1 853 sales were of the Chevrolet Utility and 1 364 of the new Isuzu KB as stock levels across the full model range improved at dealer level.
May this year also saw the Nissan brand bounce back as it achieved its retail targets and sold 3 511 units – a 15,9 percent growth compared to April. Its NP200 half-tonne bakkie sold 1 476 units.
Toyota’s marketing vice president says that a high level of competition among brands and a mix of replacement and pre-emptive purchases (in expectation of a price increase) have helped sales in May.
“We expect the market to maintain its current rate of growth, but are cautious about the drop in the value of the rand and the impact that this will have on vehicle affordability, fuel prices and the general cost of living,” he says.