Motus says it’s well-positioned to take share of future market

JSE-listed automotive business, Motus, is benefiting from the ongoing structural shift away from luxury brands in the South African vehicle market.

Motus Select

Osman Arbee, the CEO of Motus, said customers were increasingly considering the group’s importer brands as an attractive alternative, which offers an increasingly strong value proposition as more premium vehicle models were being introduced to the market.

Commenting recently on the group’s interim financial results for the six months to end-December 2022, Arbee said the importer of original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) products allowed Motus to introduce new vehicle models that appealed to the local consumer from a styling, versatility and affordability perspective.

Arbee said Motus achieved a passenger vehicle market share in South Africa of 22% for the six-month reporting period after achieving a 25% market share in the corresponding prior period.

The market share achieved by the various passenger vehicle brands distributed and marketed by Motus in the reporting period were:

  • Hyundai 8.6% (2021: 9.5%).
  • Renault 7.0% (2021: 7.8%).
  • Kia 5.6% (2021: 6.8%).
  • Mitsubishi 0.8% (2021: 0.9%).

Arbee said that despite shortages of certain derivatives and vehicle models experienced in the past 18-month period, the group’s long-standing relationships with OEMs and vast brand portfolio and model range, allowed it to offer customers a wide selection of alternative vehicles.

“We believe that vehicle volumes will continue to grow as global supply chains stabilise, with increased production satisfying pent-up demand and inventory levels starting to normalise.

“Consumer and business sentiment will remain under pressure over the short to medium term.

“Supply chain constraints, although they are easing, increasing global interest rates and inflation will impact the cost of vehicles and parts in the short term,” he said.

Arbee said structural constraints were holding back progress in the South African economy, impacted by intensified load-shedding, corruption, poor educational and skills development, insufficient infrastructural investment, exacerbated by high inflation, rising unemployment levels and increasing interest rates.

“Despite the ongoing external challenges, our imported brands have deepened their maturity in the South African market over the last two decades and are benefiting from the ongoing structural shift away from luxury brands in the South African vehicle market,” he said.

Arbee added that South African vehicle sales continued to recover owing to the improved availability of vehicles, consumer resilience and the continued willingness of consumers and businesses to invest.

Statistics released by automotive business council, naamsa, showed that South Africa retailed 275 521 vehicles in the six months to 31 December 2022, which is 16.3% higher than the 236 982 vehicles retailed in the prior period.

In South Africa, Motus’s retail and rental segment sold 28 965 new vehicles in the reporting period compared to 28 038 in the prior period and 32 817 pre-owned units compared to 35 964 units previously.

Arbee said Motus was forecasting vehicle sales of between 530 000 and 550 000 for the 12 months to 30 June 2023.

He said the group’s South African operations contributed 65% to revenue and 78% to operating profit for the period, with the remainder being contributed by the UK, Australia and South-East Asia.

Motus reported a 14% growth in revenue to R51 billion in the six months to end-December, with operating profit improving by 22% to R2.6 billion. Profit before tax increased by 7% to R2.01 billion.

Arbee said the group expected to deliver operating profit growth for the 12 months to 30 June 2023 driven by organic and acquisitive initiatives.

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