Strong Sales of Commercial Vehicles Keep Total Vehicle Sales in July Positive

SOUTH AFRICA, Johannesburg, 01 August 2023: Strong sales of commercial vehicles ensured that total new vehicle sales in South Africa continue to remain positive in 2023. Year-to-date total sales of 309 359 units represent growth of 4.4% when compared to the figure for the first seven months of last year. Built-up vehicle exports were also up by an encouraging 47.3% in July, but it should be remembered that the Toyota plant was still out of production due to the floods at this time in 2022.

Passenger vehicle sales of 27 839 units in July 2023 fell 9.7% when compared to July 2022, but total vehicle sales of 43 389 units still edged 1.3% ahead of the 42 822 units retailed in the same month a year ago.

“The fact that total vehicle sales are still showing growth is good news for the local motor industry and the economy in general, but what makes this performance in July special is that strong demand in most segments of the commercial vehicle market is the reason for the growth,” commented Brandon Cohen, the recently appointed National Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), after studying the vehicle sales statistics for July distributed by naamsa I The Automotive Business Council.

“This indicates growing confidence in the economy by the business world, as most commercial vehicles are bought by businesses. Light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales of 12 666 units were up 32.6% on the figure in July 2022. Sales of medium commercials were down 11.6%, but heavy trucks and buses more than made up for this decrease with an increase of 31.6% in sales compared to July 2022,” added Cohen.

“Sales through the retail dealer channel accounted for 81.8% of the volume, which was rather disappointing,” said Cohen. “But the vehicle rental industry also seems to be building confidence in the future and took 14.1% of total sales volume in July.”

“Admittedly there is a buy-down trend with many consumers opting for smaller and less expensive models, which are also less of a drain on the monthly household budget. Other factors contributing to the positive sales performance are better stock availability and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), distributors and importers’ support for trade-ins and new vehicle incentives.

“What is concerning is that there is lots of activity on digital platforms and websites, but this is not translating into sales in the passenger space. This is likely due to the financial constraints consumers are facing. But all in all, the sales figures for July were better than expected, thanks to the commercial and LCV buyers in the market, along with the car rental industry,” said Cohen.

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