A tough July shows up in the sales figures

A number of unexpected incidents in July curtailed the good progress made with the rebound in new-vehicle sales during the first six months of the year.

Naamsa July

Mikel Mabasa, CEO of automotive business council Naamsa, said the hugely anticipated new-vehicle sales for the month of July reflected a mixed bag of statistics owing to a number of factors.

Mabasa said these included:

- The recent economic disruptions caused by unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and certain areas across the Gauteng Province.

- The cyber-attack on Transnet operations, which led to a force majeure which in turn impacted negatively on vehicle export and import operations.

- The adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown restrictions, which lasted for more than five weeks.

However, Mabasa said the gradual recovery in the new-vehicle market is expected to continue for the remainder of the year. Total domestic new-vehicle sales in July increased by 1.7% to 32 949 units from the 32 405 units in July 2020.

Of the total reported industry sales of 32 949 vehicles, an estimated 86% and 28 326 units represented dealer sales, 9.2% sales to the vehicle rental industry, 2.7% to industry corporate fleets and 2.1% sales to the government.

Exports of South African produced vehicles slumped by 33.1% to 16 931 units from the 25 312 vehicles exported in July 2020.

However, Mabasa said the year-to-date vehicle exports are encouragingly still 47.3% ahead of the same period last year.

The upward momentum in vehicle exports ground to a halt in July as the civil unrest and force majeure declared by Transnet after a cyber-attack resulted in many operations having to be conducted manually, causing massive logistical challenges on the N3 highway and at all the country’s major ports.

Mabasa said vehicle exports and imports, as well as vehicle production and the delivery of automotive components, could take some time to normalise. Sales of new passenger cars increased by 9.1% in July to 20 575 units from the 18 856 units sold in July 2020.

Naamsa said the car rental industry supported the new passenger car market during the month and accounted for 11.9% of car sales in the month.

Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses dropped by 8.1% year-on-year in July to 10 266 units from the 11 165 unit sales in July 2020, while medium commercial vehicle sales slumped by 16.1% to 587 units and heavy truck and bus sales by 9.7% to 1 521 units.

Nedbank’s group economic unit said a multitude of events halted the recovery in new vehicle sales in July 2021.

It said a combination of adjusted Level 4 lockdown, social unrest and looting in key parts of the country and cyber-attacks at Transnet’s major ports caused an abrupt disruption to sales.

Nedbank said the annual growth in new-vehicle sales slowed to 17% from 20.5% in June. It said this was mainly driven by passenger car sales.

For a good overview of the Naamsa sales figures for August, see AVAF Infographic NAAMSA July2021

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