Total new vehicle sales in June 2023 surprisingly increased by double digits in percentage terms.
However, the year-on-year sales comparisons were distorted by the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal in May 2022, which led to the temporary closure of the Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) plant in Durban and a halt to production by TSAM for several months.
Figures released on Monday revealed that aggregate domestic new vehicle sales increased by 14.0% to 46 810 units last month from the 41 052 vehicles sold in June 2022.
Mikel Mabasa, the CEO of automotive business council, naamsa, says the new vehicle market in the first half of 2023 is now 4.8% or 12 284 unit sales ahead of the corresponding period in 2022, while vehicle exports are 4.7% or 7 857 units higher than in the first half of 2022.
Mabasa says the knock-on effects of the devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods impacting on vehicle production and exports during May 2022 were visible in the June 2023/June 2022 monthly comparisons, especially for the light commercial vehicle segment.
This was a reference to sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses increasing last month by a substantial 57.1% to 13 945 units from the 8 875 light commercial vehicles sold during June 2022.
The performance of the new car market was more modest, with sales of new passenger cars increasing by 0.8% to 29,795 units last month from the 29 544 new cars sold in June 2022 and the car rental industry accounting for 13.4% of last month’s sales.
Mabasa says the unexpected extent of the upswing in the new vehicle market in June 2023 “exceeded expectations” for the second consecutive month, “despite ongoing increases in the total cost of ownership”.
“Challenges confronting the economy and the automotive industry, such as high interest rates, high inflation and currency depreciation, continue to strain consumers’ budgets, and affordability appears to be driving new vehicle sales, underlined by the top selling models in the market,” he says.
Mabasa added that in addition to an easing in inflation by more than expected and an improvement in significantly less daytime load-shedding during the month, another welcome development was the renewed collaboration between business and government to urgently tackle key current challenges relating to energy, infrastructure and transport logistics, and combating crime.
“If successful, the collaboration efforts could assist to reduce policy uncertainty and promote a more predictable economic environment, which would enable much higher levels of investment, growth and job creation and [for the country] to break out of the current low economic growth trap,” he says.
Of the total reported industry sales of 46 810 vehicles in June 2023, an estimated 83.5% or 39 086 units represented dealer sales, 10.0% sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.5% sales to government and 3.0% sales to industry corporate fleets.
Sales of medium commercial vehicles improved year-on-year by 8.2% last month to 743 units, while sales of heavy trucks and buses rose by 19.6% to 2 327 units.
New vehicle exports declined last month by 12.6% to 27 296 units from the 31 216 vehicles exported in June 2022.
However, new vehicle exports in the first half of this year at 173 560 are 4.7% higher than the 165 703 vehicles exported in this six-month period in 2022.
Mabasa says vehicle exports were weaker in June 2023 compared to the corresponding month in 2022 but the export momentum remains upward on the back of further new model introductions by major exporters in the domestic market.
View the full results here: AVAF Infographic naamsa June 2023
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