Market performance above expectation, says Motus

Vehicle sales are continuing to recover despite the erratic supply of vehicles from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), says JSE-listed automotive group, Motus.

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The group says the growth in vehicle sales bears testimony to the resilience of both private and corporate consumers in a difficult credit environment and is anticipating a slow recovery in new vehicle sales but indicated there will be a strong short-term uptake of vehicles by Europcar, the group’s car rental business.

This is to rebuild its rental fleet in line with the slow recovery taking place in the tourism sector.

In an operational update, Motus says automotive business council, Naamsa, has reported average monthly new vehicle sales of 40 000 vehicles to date this year. Motus says its management is projecting annual industry new vehicle sales of between 440 000 and 460 000 vehicles – an average of between 36 666 and 38 333 vehicles a month – for the calendar year to end-December 2021.

In the 2020 calendar year, 380 500 new vehicles were sold by the industry at an average of 31 708 units a month.

But Motus is projecting an increase in new vehicle sales of between 5.25% and 9.1% to between 470 000 and 490 000 vehicle sales for its financial year to end-March 2022. This is equivalent to average monthly sales of between 39 166 and 40 833 vehicles.

In its 2021 financial year, industry sales totalled 445 319 vehicles units at an average of 37 109 sales a month.

Motus says the group has to date increased its market share, which has been supported by an expansion of its vehicle range, particularly in the growing entry level and small to medium SUV categories, coupled with exciting new model launches.

The group says strong demand for pre-owned vehicles across all geographies continues on the back of the shortage of new vehicles.

“The industry is experiencing a short supply of pre-owned vehicles from car rental companies.

“We have identified alternative sources of pre-owned vehicles and are benefitting from our investment in technology, namely the platform and the getWorth acquisition concluded in March this year,” it says.

Motus says its car rental business has been restructured and costs accordingly reduced, with fleet levels now at 14 000 vehicles compared to 9 000 vehicles in the midst of the COVID crisis.

“During December 2021, the fleet will be increased to approximately 15 500 vehicles and by June 2022 it [the fleet] is estimated to be around 14 500 vehicles,” it says.

Motus adds that global supply chain disruptions continue to impact the delivery of vehicles, panels and parts, with substantial increases in freight and logistics costs negatively impacting the group’s operating margins.

“Our four importer brands and the 21 non-owned brands are fortunate in that they have an extensive model range that enables them to focus on available stock.

“While there are shortages of certain derivatives at different times, we are still able to offer the customer a wide selection of brands and models.

“The availability of panels and parts is of concern. However, we are managing with multiple suppliers and utilising airline companies for emergency supplies.

“We anticipate inventory supplies to normalise during the fourth quarter of our 2022 financial year,” it says.

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