April’s 98.4% drop in vehicle sales not a surprise

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa [NAAMSA] said that the April new vehicle sales figures were not a surprise and were expected.

“The 98,4% spectacular drop in new vehicle sales is a true reflection of the South Africa economy at the back of a 35-day hard lockdown where economic activity was not possible because the country prudently elected to support the imperative to contain the COVID-19 virus and save lives. No one should be surprised because we didn’t sell nor export vehicles in April”, said Michael Mabasa, NAAMSA CEO.

New vehicle sales statistics for April 2020 reflects the expected decline of 98,4% [36 213 units] from the 36 787 vehicles sold in April last year to the aggregate domestic sales of 574 units in April 2020. Equally, export sales at 901 units also registered a huge fall of 31 928 units or a decline of 97,3% compared to the 32 829 vehicles exported in April last year. Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 574 vehicles, an estimated 275 units or 47,9% represented dealer sales, 37,8% sales to government, an estimated 12,4% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, and 1,9% to industry corporate fleets.

The April 2020 new passenger car market had registered a decline of 24 877 cars or a fall of 99,6% to 105 units compared to the 24 982 new cars sold in April last year. Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 318 units during April 2020 had recorded a significant decline of 9 494 units or a fall of 96,8% from the 9 812 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

“We are pleased that South Africa has now entered into Alert Level 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown. We have begun a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity under a “Risk-Adjusted Strategy”, which is a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of the hard lockdown restrictions. The automotive industry supports this strategy because we all need to balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and continue to save the lives of our citizenry’, Mabasa reaffirmed.