Declining sales clouds outlook for SA Autoweek

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Declining sales clouds outlook for SA Autoweek

Prashirwin Naidu

South African Automotive Week [SAAW] – the most significant event on the motoring calendar –occurs amid concern over the consumer slowdown regarding purchasing vehicles. 

Consumers are tightening their belts, says naamsa | the Automotive Business Council, ahead of the SAAW from 11-13 October 2023 at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand 

 Vehicle sales have slowed down for the second time in September. 

 According to naamsa | the Automotive Business Council, new vehicle sales fell 4.1% in September to 46,021 due to various external business factors, including the higher fuel prices, ongoing challenges in transport logistics, Eskom's incapacity to meet the industry's energy demands, the volatility in commodity prices, and the intricate external environment – all of which have put pressure on the automotive industry's key performance indicators in September 2023. 

The Council said aggregate domestic new vehicle sales in September 2023, at 46,021 units, reflected a decline of 1,963 units, or a fall of 4,1%, from the 47,984 vehicles sold in September 2022. Export sales declined 5,217 units, or 12,6%, to 36,247 units in September 2023 compared to the 41,464 cars exported in September 2022. 

The September 2023 new passenger car market at 29,669 units had registered a decline of 2,723 cars, or a loss of 8,4%, compared to the 32,392 new vehicles sold in September 2022. 

 “September sales show the biggest decline in market performance year-on-year since December 2021,” says Lebo Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank. 

 “However, comparisons remain theoretical given the market’s prolonged recovery from the pandemic, and a broader context and assessment is necessary for a more realistic view of activity and sentiment.”

 WesBank said August’s performance showed the first potential signs of strain amidst numerous economic headwinds. That month’s sales had declined 3.1% year-on-year, one of the industry's first signs of stress since the pandemic.

 “The fact that there are now two consecutive months of strain, September seemingly bigger than August, provides some measure of concern for new vehicle sales,” says Gaoaketse. “But the signs of the trend are concerning, not the outright numbers.”

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