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New-vehicle sales dip by 2.6% in May, exports down 12%

A tough domestic economy continued to take its toll in May, with new-vehicle sales in the local market declining by 2.6%, to 41 783 units, compared with May last year.

Sales numbers released by the Department of Trade and Industry on Thursday showed that new passenger car sales declined by 2.5% in May, to 26 317 units.

Sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses, at 13 410 units, declined by 1.5%.

Sales of medium trucks, at 583 units, dropped by 13.6%.

New heavy truck and bus sales contracted by 10%, to 1 473 units.

New-vehicle exports, at 29 596 vehicles, fell by 12%, compared with the 33 619 units exported in May last year.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) noted in a statement that this decline should be seen in the context of new-vehicle exports in May 2016 reaching the second highest monthly number on record.

“Following the modest improvement in new-vehicle sales during the first three months of 2017, the outlook for the balance of the year is somewhat uncertain,” added Naamsa.

“The current polarised political environment in South Africa, together with prospects of subdued economic growth over the short to medium term, continue to weigh on business confidence and consumer sentiment.

“Domestic new vehicle sales are closely correlated with the overall performance of the South African economy and confidence levels. At this stage, domestic new vehicle sales for 2017 are likely to be flat, at best.”

Source : Engineering News