New-vehicle sales in SA declined for the third consecutive month, with the 47,718 units representing a 3.1% decrease compared to March 2018.
The National Automobile Association of South Africa (Naamsa) said the weakening rand and overall shadow of possible ratings agency downgrades didn’t help March sales as consumer and business confidence continued to come under pressure.
“Household budgets also continue to take strain as a result, directly impacting demand for new vehicles as motorists continue to hold onto their vehicles for longer,” says Ghana Msibi, WesBank Executive Head of Motor.
This week’s fuel price hike of R1.28 a litre for petrol and 77c a litre for diesel is expected to contribute to this burden, as will the continued impact and threat of load-shedding.
“At least interest rates remained unchanged, providing some small form of relief for consumers,” says Msibi.
Of the 47,718 vehicles sold last month, 41,235 units or 86,4% represented dealer sales, 6,6% were to vehicle rental companies, 4,3% to government and 2,7% to industry corporate fleets.
“The new-vehicle market continues to perform within our expectations of a downward trend, as consumers find themselves increasingly under pressure,” commented Mark Dommisse, Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (Nada), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in SA.