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New car sales continue to fly in March

With 50,607 units it was the highest monthly total since pre-pandemic October 2019

01 April 2022 - 16:43
Car sales are over 25% up on the first three months of last year.
Car sales are over 25% up on the first three months of last year.
Image: welcomia / 123rf

Despite supply constraints caused by global component shortages, new vehicle sales in SA continued to fly in March.

The Naamsa automotive business council reports that 50,607 new cars, light commercials and trucks were sold in the country last month — an increase of 7,184 units or 16.5% from the 43,423 vehicles sold in March 2021. Naamsa said it exceeded expectations and was the highest monthly total since the pre-pandemic October 2019 sales total.

Passenger cars experienced the biggest gain and year-to-date 93,377 units have been sold — a 25.4% rise over the same period last year. Light commercials improved by a more modest 2.9% to 35,888 units in the first three months of 2022.

“The positive new-vehicle market performance during March 2022, reaching a level last achieved pre-Covid-19, could be attributed to pent-up demand aligned with the increasing normalising of business conditions as well as enticing new model choices in the domestic market,” said Naamsa CEO Mikel Mabasa.

“The temporary R1.50 per litre reduction in the general fuel levy from April 6 to May 31, to curtail the record fuel prices to some extent, as well as further relief measures to follow as announced by finance minister [Enoch] Godongwana, have been welcomed by motorists.”

However, he said that escalating inflation risks, ongoing record fuel prices, low and stagnant economic growth and a rising interest rate cycle will impact the new market negatively going forward.

“The SA Reserve Bank has raised interest rates in November 2021 as well as in January and March 2022 and the upward trend is set to continue over the balance of the year in an effort to subdue inflation. Upward pressure on food, fuel and electricity prices will adversely impact all households over the short to medium term and consumers should brace themselves for ongoing cost of living increases.”

Toyota again took the lion’s share of sales in March, with 15,008 units finding new owners. Volkswagen was second with 6,433 sales ahead of Hyundai (3,816), Suzuki (3,347), Nissan (3,132), Renault (2,600), Ford (2,235), Kia (1,910) and Isuzu (1,723) rounding out the top ten.

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