August new vehicle sales improve on July but unsurprisingly still down on 2019


South Africa's new vehicle sales continued to gain ground in August despite being, unsurprisingly, well off of the levels of twelve months ago.

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), overall sales dropped by 26.3% from 45 484 to 33 515 units, which nonetheless represents an increase of 3.3% compared to July's slump of 29.6% over the corresponding month last year.

As was the case in June, the various segments were mixed with new passenger vehicle sales falling by 32.6% from 29 003 to 19 545 and light commercial vehicles by 19.4% from 14 055 to 11 336. Bucking the trend, the sales of medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles increased by 7.7% and nine percent respectively, thus settling the month on 799 and 1 835 units. Despite the move to level 2 lockdown restrictions, exports again tumbled from last year's 43 960 to 20 623, a decrease of 46.9%.

"New vehicle demand improved slightly compared to the performance of the previous two months as South Africa's lockdown restrictions eased further to Level 2 in August 2020. However, activity in the new vehicle market is expected to remain low for the remainder of the year due to the uncertainties relating to the economic impact of the coronavirus and as consumers and businesses continue to adapt to short-term budget pressures," NAAMSA said.

"Not only will the economy have to contend with consequences of the economic lockdown, it now has to deal with further rolling blackouts which comes at the worst possible time for the South African economy. Eskom announced that the heightened risk of load-shedding will haunt the South African economy for another year. All this point to an already hard-hit economy with no expectations for a quick recovery any time soon".

Out of the best performing manufactures, Toyota bested Volkswagen with sales of 7 743 versus 5 181, followed by Ford (2 810), Hyundai (2 460), Nissan (2 198), Isuzu (1 974), Mercedes-Benz (1 540), Renault (1 463), Suzuki (1 350) and Kia (980).

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