Tough month for new car sales

The February 2016 NAAMSA new vehicle figures paint a rather gloomy picture.

The total tally stood at 32 826, which is a 6,1% decline compared to February 2015. The car rental industry accounted for 17,5% of these sales, which just goes to show how much strain the dealer networks are taking at this point in time.

With the rand weakening by the day, manufacturers have no choice but to delay new models. We kept a close ear to the ground this month and we’ve heard of at least three manufacturers who have opted to wait it out instead of launching products with exorbitant price tags. Given the economic, it seems like a logical decision.

Domestic sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 13 161 units during February, 2016 reflected a decline of 1 982 units or a fall of 13.1% compared to the 15 143 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

The outlook is bleak, but there is some good news from Toyota and Ford.

Ford’s massive product line-up helped it achieve its best February to date, with 6710 vehicles sold, which is a 5,5% increase over February 2015. In a month where declines are the norm, this is a stellar achievement.

There is strong demand for the locally built Ranger, as is proven by its 2770 sales figure. A total of 5066 Rangers were exported to Europe and Africa – the fourth largest monthly volume since Ford started producing and exporting.

The EcoSport dominated the compact SUV sector in its first full sales month in August 2013, and has retained that status ever since. A total of 1 003 units were sold in February 2016, giving it 31 consecutive months of segment leadership.

Toyota remains in the lead in terms of overall sales, posting an impressive 8743 new vehicles sold.

The launch of the all-new Hilux made things interesting. There was strong demand for the outgoing model and high demand for the new model. Even though it was only on sale for one week, Toyota sold in excess of 1000 (double-cab models only) of its new bakkie, which brings the grand total (including old and new) to 2260. We expect this figure to improve drastically by the end of March, as Toyota introduced the all-new Hilux at a retail price that its main rival simply cannot match.

“Our dealers have experienced an unprecedented demand for the new Hilux as buyers continue to respond to the way the newcomer offers improved value while inspiring go-anywhere confidence and delivering a compliant ride and advanced features. It’s been a remarkable and, dare I say, a fitting introduction to Hilux, which is nothing short of a South African icon. And, once it’s joined by its SUV stable mate, Fortuner, in April, the competition will get even more fierce,” said Glenn Crompton, vice president of marketing for Toyota SA.

Other strong contributions for Toyota in February included RAV4 (498), Land Cruiser pick-up (366), Prado (165) and Land Cruiser 200 at 70 units.

Premium brands continue to sell well, with BMW posting impressive sales figures for its X models. The new X1 matched the bigger X5 with 207 units, while Land Rover sold 102 Range Rover Sports. Porsche sold a grand total of 66 SUVs, which means the moneyed are still doing fine, despite the freefalling exchange rate.


Top ten for February 2016

  1. Toyota 8743
  2. Volkswagen SA 7595
  3. Ford SA 6710
  4. GMSA 3938
  5. Nissan SA 3778
  6. BMW SA 2470
  7. Renault SA 1283
  8. Mazda SA 1148
  9. Honda SA 1001
  10. Jaguar Land Rover SA 498