New vehicle sales in South Africa up by 16% in 2011

New vehicle sales in 2011 improved by 16 percent from the previous year, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

“Industry aggregate sales for calendar 2011 at an estimated 571 425 units had improved by 78 518 vehicles or about 15.9 percent compared to the total of 492 907 new vehicles sold in South Africa during the previous year,” Naamsa said in a statement.

If Naamsa included the total sales reported by Great Wall Motors, which has just agreed to participate in reporting its sales, the total South African new vehicle market last year would have been around 578 000 vehicles.

However, Naamsa said 2011 sales were well below the record total domestic market of 714 315 vehicles in 2006.

New vehicle sales — excluding Mercedes-Benz which has suspended reporting — for December 2011 registered 43 790 units.

This was an improvement of 4335 vehicles or 11 percent compared to the total new vehicle sales of 39 455 units, including Mercedes-Benz, during the corresponding month of December 2010.

If Naamsa factored in a conservative estimate of Mercedes-Benz’s December 2011 sales, the total market for December 2011 would have been around 45 200 vehicles.

Export sales in December, excluding Mercedes-Benz, at 13 665 units declined 38 percent compared to the 22 157 vehicles exported in December 2010.

Naamsa had projected export figures of over 300 000 vehicles for 2011.

However, the actual figures were below expectations at 272 000 units.

“Nevertheless, the 2011 exports represent the second highest annual export figure on record,” Naamsa said.

South Africa exports vehicles to 77 countries.

“Assuming continued demand in most export markets, projected higher exports to African countries and factoring in the contribution of the Ford global compact vehicle export programme — industry export sales during 2012 could improve by some 50 000 vehicles or 18.5 percent over 2011,” Naamsa said.

Total industry exports could reach about 320 000 units during 2012.

Naamsa said trading conditions in the South African vehicle industry were intensely competitive with over 60 brands and almost 2200 model derivatives in the new car and light commercial vehicle sectors.

Motor industry new vehicle-related sales turnover grew by about 18 percent in 2011 to about R160 billion.

An estimated 650 000 used vehicles were sold in 2011, Naamsa said.

If the South African economy grew by between three and 3.5 percent in 2012, and taking into account other domestic and international trends, domestic vehicle sales volumes could increase by around seven percent in 2012.

“New vehicle sales over the short to medium term will remain a function of the performance of the domestic economy and, in the case of export sales, the sustainability of recovery in the global economy,” Naamsa said.

The predicted improvement in domestic sales and anticipated growth in exports could see domestic production of motor vehicles in South Africa rise from about 540 500 vehicles in 2011 to about 610 000 units in 2012.

Naamsa said this would be consistent with its vision of achieving an annual domestic vehicle production figure of almost 1.2 million vehicles by 2020.


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