Dealers show resilience during tough times

South Africa’s franchised vehicle dealers were commended by the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada) for their continued resilience and adaptability, which contributed to the new vehicle market’s sales performance in an exceptionally challenging market environment last month.

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Nada says retail dealers, most of whom are Nada members, demonstrated extraordinary resilience by achieving sales of 39 016 units in March to account for 88.2% of total sales volume of 44 237 for the month.

It says this achievement, bolstered by robust sales incentive programmes and the introduction of new models, underscores the strength of these businesses and the dedication of their workforce.

The remaining industry sales were distributed among the vehicle rental industry (6%), government (3.5%), and industry corporate fleets (2.3%).

Nada chairperson, Brandon Cohen, says March 2024 presented additional challenges to vehicle dealers because of three public holidays, which disrupted operations for both dealers and manufacturers.

“This period coincided with school holidays, further impacting consumer behaviour.

“Additionally, as March marked the fiscal year-end for many companies, purchasing decisions were influenced by budgetary considerations, resulting in varied trading patterns,” he says.

Cohen believes that although the new vehicle sector is under strain, the holding of interest rates for the fifth consecutive time by the SA Reserve Bank and the announcement that e-Tolls would be “switched off” at midnight on 11 April “are green shoots that hopefully will start to turn sentiment slightly more positive”.

“Despite the challenges faced in March, the consistent resilience and adaptability

demonstrated by South Africa’s franchised motor dealers are indicative of their enduring strength in navigating dynamic market conditions.

“While the month marked a continuation of declining retail vehicle sales, insights suggest promising fiscal performances for several industry stakeholders.

“As we move forward, our focus remains on building momentum and driving growth within the retail automotive sector,” he says.

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