Job losses have continued in the industry, with a further 1 925 jobs lost during the second quarter of 2009 to 30 467 positions. Currently, total industry employment is at levels last witnessed twenty-two years ago.
NAAMSA reports that passenger car sales are at 50 600 units, meaning a decline of 23 969 units or 32,1% compared to the 74 569 new cars sold during the corresponding quarter of 2008. Combined commercial vehicle sales during the second quarter of 2009 at 29 290 units reflect a fall of 25 666 units or a decline of 46,7% compared to 54 956 units sold during the corresponding quarter of 2008.
The impact of the global financial and economic crisis and the resulting reduced demand in South Africa?s major export markets is reflected in the sharply lower industry new vehicle export sales which, during the first half of 2009, declined by 36,0% in aggregate volume terms.
The outlook for the remainder of 2009
2009 is turning out to be an extremely difficult year for the entire South African automotive industry. All sectors of the South African automotive industry ? retail, auto parts manufacturing and vehicle production ? continue to experience severe and unprecedented viability challenges.
The operating environment in all three sectors of the industry, during the first half of 2009, deteriorated substantially and is only expected to show modest improvement, domestically, during the second half of the current year and, internationally, once the severe global financial and economic crisis dissipates.
Improvement in the domestic environment is dependent on a revival in consumer expenditure, lower inflation, aggressive interest rate reductions and fiscal stimulation. Internationally, any improvement is dependent on a return of confidence and the stabilisation of financial institutions and markets. This is only likely to occur in 2010, according to NAAMSA.