This is despite interest rates remaining at an all-time low, making it currently more affordable to finance a new vehicle, said Corné Venter, the CEO of Motus Retail and Rental SA.
Venter said total new vehicle dealer sales improved by 7.6% in May to 38 344 units from the 35 616 vehicles sold in the previous month. However, Venter highlighted that April this year was a soft sales month because the number of public holidays resulted in fewer selling days in the month.
Venter added that despite the improvement in total new vehicle sales in May this year, compared to the previous month, new vehicles retailed in May are still “way off” the 43 428 vehicles retailed through the dealer channel in March this year.
“Although dealer sales have recovered nicely when we look back over the past 12 months, the sector has not been without its challenges.
“The continued stock shortages of new vehicles are a real issue and this is of course driving up the demand for pre-owned vehicles.
“The knock-on effect is that high-quality pre-owned vehicle stock is increasingly difficult to come by and prices are very often well above market value.
“The tightening of COVID-19 restrictions is also expected to dampen consumer enthusiasm,” he said.
Venter said Motus Toyota dealers report that new vehicle stock remains an issue, even for locally manufactured models.
“Whatever comes in is sold almost immediately, and clients are not always able to get the vehicle in the specification that they originally wanted,” he said.
Venter added that pre-owned retailer Auto Pedigree, the Motus-owned pre-owned vehicle retailer, expects a similar sales performance for the month of June 2021 as in May 2021. Factors such as a public holiday in the middle of a week, rising COVID-19 infections and WesBank’s recent week-long technical difficulties all contribute to a challenging trading environment, he said.
The top selling passenger vehicles in May 2021 were the Volkswagen Polo (1748) followed by the Volkswagen Polo Vivo (1432), Toyota Fortuner (872), Toyota Urban Cruiser (717), Suzuki S-Presso (682), Renault Kwid (681) and Hyundai i20 (658).
Venter said the biggest winner in terms of market share in May 2021 was Toyota, which grew its market share by 9.6%, followed by Haval (2.1%) and Suzuki (1.7%).
The biggest losers were Volkswagen, which lost 7.3% in market share, followed by Hyundai (-3.9%) and Mercedes (- 2.1%).
In the light commercial segment, the Toyota Hilux once again walked away with the laurels, retailing 3 700 units and gaining a 10.6% market share, followed by Ford Ranger (1 972), Isuzu D-Max (1 540), Toyota Hi-Ace (1 346) and Nissan NP200 (914).
Venter said Haval is a brand to watch as it grew its share of the light commercial vehicle segment by 3.3%.