National Automobile Dealers’ Association

NADA Comment: South Africa’s new vehicle sales continue to confound forecasters

Vehicle Sales Stats, 2022, December 2022


Johannesburg, 9 January 2023: “The continuing growth in new vehicle sales in South Africa continues to confound forecasters. A bumper December means that the market recorded growth for the 12th consecutive month, with sales of 41 783 units which was a stunning 16.2% higher than December 2021,” commented Gary McCraw, Director of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) after studying the December sales report distributed by naamsa I The Automotive Business Council.

“We are particularly pleased that the retail sales channel was responsible for delivering 37 479 units or 89.7% of the total vehicles sold in December, which is excellent for the health of these dealers who are still recovering from the lengthy Covid-19 lockdowns. The annual aggregate sales figure of 528 963 units was not only 13.9% higher than 2021 but only 1.4% below the 2019, pre-pandemic figure of 536 612 units.

“What is amazing is that this growth was all achieved in a year in which Toyota lost approximately 70 000 units from its local production when disastrous floods in KwaZulu-Natal put its plant out of action for four months,” added McCraw.

“Not only did all the dealers survive but they showed agility as they switched to selling far more imported cars than usual, benefitting from ongoing, practical support from the Toyota head office and field staff which undoubtedly made these challenging times more manageable,” commented the NADA Director.

NADA expects the new vehicle market in South Africa to continue growing in 2023, but maybe not at the rate anticipated previously.

Unfortunately, many of the factors that hobbled the motor industry in 2022 will still be encountered in 2023. These include recurring load shedding at various stages of severity, interest rate pressures, fluctuating currency, fuel prices and a decline in the disposable income of consumers.

The local and global vehicle markets are proving extremely volatile and, in many cases, perform unpredictably. There have been major mitigating factors such as the

COVID-19 pandemic that wrought havoc with the automotive industry, supply chain constraints, the impact of severe weather conditions across many countries and the war in Ukraine. However, even without significant disruptors, the markets are highly likely to remain unpredictable in 2023.

“The South African retail motor industry has had to face challenges for several years now and are proving very resilient and innovative in keeping sales volumes running at a reasonable rate,” concluded McCraw.

NADA is a proud constituent association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).