New vehicle sales grew in the first quarter of 2012, but at a slower rate than the same period last year, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) said on Tuesday (16/05/2012).
"All sectors registered significantly slower growth during the first quarter of 2012 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2011,” Naamsa said.
The sectors include passenger cars, and light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles, according to Naamsa’s quarterly review of business conditions submitted to the department of trade and industry.
In the first quarter of 2012, some 110,719 new cars were sold — an improvement of 10 percent on the first quarter of 2011.
Over the same period, commercial vehicle sales increased by 0.8 percent to 46,024 units sold.
Naamsa expected domestic vehicle sales to continue to grow in 2012, but at a more subdued rate compared to the past two years.
"Export sales are likely to remain under pressure in the short term and over the long term will remain a function of the performance and direction of global markets.”
Naamsa estimated that the automotive industry contributed 6.8 percent to South Africa’s gross domestic product in 2011, although this figure still needed to be verified. The industry’s contribution to GDP peaked in 2006 at 7.35 percent.
Global new motor vehicle production reached a record of 80 million units in 2011. This was a 3.2 percent increase from 77.6 million units the previous year.
South Africa’s vehicle production was above this trend, increasing 12.8 percent to 532,545 vehicles in 2011 from 472,049 units in 2010.
South Africa exported 272,457 vehicles to 80 countries in 2011, mainly to Europe and Africa.
Thirty-six percent of exported vehicles went to the Eurozone and 25 percent to Africa.
The number of vehicles exported to Africa grew by 56 percent from 2010 to 2011, and Naamsa expected the figure to grow more in future.
"Despite intense competition in African markets from Chinese and Indian vehicle exporters, as well as second-hand vehicles supplied from Japan — the anticipated relatively high economic growth projections for Africa should support further growth in SA vehicle exports to African countries.”
The recession in Europe was likely to impact negatively on export sales into that region, Naamsa said.
Depending on how the South Africa economy performed, domestic vehicle sales could grow by about 7.5 percent in 2012, Naamsa predicted. - Sapa