Despite the trail of destruction in parts of KwaZulu-Natal following the large-scale flooding disaster causing supply chain disruptions in port, rail and road traffic as well as the temporary closure of Toyota South Africa Motors, the new vehicle market continued its road to recovery during the month of April 2022. Sales in the volume passenger car segment performed well, assisted by ongoing strong purchases by the vehicle rental companies, but the other segments of the market performed weaker.
The number of public holidays normally provides fewer selling days during April which soften sales. However, in addition to the renewed impact of COVID-19, in particular in China, the global shortages of semi-conductors and the repercussions of the geo-political conflict with Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, the added shock of the flooding disaster to domestic business conditions will be felt for some time to come. The domestic automotive industry is expected to continue a stop-start recovery in 2022 in view of prevailing COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions, insufficient stocks, and escalating energy and transportation cost increases.
Reflecting on the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of April 2022 naamsa said that the new vehicle market’s performance during the month, although dented by the impact of the severe floods in KwaZulu-Natal, remained in positive territory. Aggregate domestic new vehicle sales in April 2022, at 37,107 units reflected an increase of 1,516 units, or 4,3%, from the 35,591 vehicles sold in April 2021. Export sales recorded an increase of 4,248 units, or 16,0%, to 30,788 units in April 2022 compared to the 26,540 vehicles exported in April 2021.
Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 37,107 vehicles, an estimated 32,809 units, or 88,4%, represented dealer sales, an estimated 9,1% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 1,5% sales to government, and 1,0% to industry corporate fleets.
The April 2022 new passenger car market at 26,653 units had registered a substantial increase of 2,924 cars, or a gain of 12,9%, compared to the 22,729 new cars sold in April 2021. The car rental industry supported the new passenger car market during the month and accounted for 12,5% of car sales in April 2022. Domestic
sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 9,558 units during April 2022 had recorded a decline of 1,291 units, or a fall of 11,9%, from the 10,849 light commercial vehicles sold during April 2021.
Sales for medium and heavy truck segments of the industry reflected a weak performance during the month and at 475 units and 1,421 units, respectively, showed a decline of 494 units, or 9,4% in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses a decline of 68 vehicles, or a fall of 4,6%, compared to the corresponding month last year. April 2022 exports sales number at 30,788 units reflected an increase of 4,248 vehicles, or 16,0%, compared to the 26,540 vehicles exported in April 2021. For the year-to- date vehicle exports were now 2,7% above the level of the corresponding period 2021.
Vehicle exports increased during the month and prospects for 2022 remain optimistic on the back of further new locally manufactured model introductions during the year. However, the economic damage from the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine will contribute to a significant slowdown in global growth in 2022 and add to inflation. As South Africa’s automotive volumes are predominantly driven by export demand, the industry is highly vulnerable to changes in demand in export markets, in particular Europe and the UK.
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