Sales down in 3rd quarter compared to 2022, but better than 2nd quarter 2023

The South African Business Council (naamsa) just released its quarterly review of business conditions for the South African motor vehicle manufacturing industry, during the third quarter of 2023.

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Aggregate new vehicle sales during the third quarter 2023 recorded a decline of 1.8% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2022 but an increase of 6.3% compared to the second quarter 2023.

New energy vehicle sales by 17 industry brands increased by 111.9% from 953 units in third quarter 2022 to 2 019 units in third quarter 2023.

Third quarter 2023 aggregate industry employment as on 30th September 2023 totalled 33 620 reflecting an increase of 123 jobs compared to the 33 497 industry-head count as at the end of June 2023.

Average industry capacity utilisation levels during third quarter 2023 continued to reflect the recovery in vehicle production to pre-pandemic levels but the ongoing global semi-conductor shortage impacted OEMs differently while load-shedding at supplier level, unplanned outages and logistics challenges also impacted the operations of the companies in the various segments to different degrees.

Aggregate capital expenditure by the major light vehicle manufacturers in 2022 amounted to R7.1 billion, linked to new generation model investments.

During third quarter 2023, vehicle exports increased by 19.1% to 116 362 units compared to the 97 689 units exported in the corresponding quarter in 2022. South African vehicle production increased by 11.4%, from 499 087 units produced in 2021 to 555 889 units produced in 2022, exceeding the global year-on-year increase in global vehicle production of 6.0% in 2022.

The country’s global vehicle production market share therefore increased to 0.65%, but its global vehicle-production ranking declined to 22nd as Malaysia, ranked at number 20, surpassed South Africa in the global rankings. Global LCV [bakkie] production had South Africa ranked 16th with a market share of 1.1%. South Africa remained the dominant market on the African continent and accounted for 54.4% of Africa’s total vehicle production while Morocco, with 464 864 units, accounted for 45.5% of the total.

In terms of global vehicle production, it increased by 6.0% to reach 85.02 million vehicles in 2022, up from the 80.21 million units produced in 2021, it was still 7.7% below the pre-pandemic level of 92.12 million vehicles in 2019.

For the first half of 2023, vehicle production totalled 4.85 million units, 12.4% ahead of first-half 2022 but was 1.82 million units or 4.0% below the pre-pandemic level of 2019, and it seems that global vehicle production might take four or more years to recover to the pre-COVID-19 level.

The naamsa CEO’s Confidence Index, as an in-house leading business confidence indicator of current and future developments in the domestic automotive industry, reflects the sentiment expressed by the naamsa CEO for third quarter 2023 compared to third quarter 2022 as well as automotive business conditions and the country’s economy in general for the next six months.

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