South Africa’s domestic new vehicle sales in March 2021 stood at 44,217 units, up by 31.8pc as compared to 33,546 units sold in the year before (March 2020), according to data released by Naamsa – the Automotive Business Council.
The association said that the country had lockdown restrictions in March last year that resulted in the temporary suspension of vehicle production and sales towards the end of March 2020. Since the restrictions have eased this year, the sales figures are better than the prior year.
Of overall domestic vehicle sales in March, 85pc (37,572 units) represented dealer sales, while the vehicle rental industry sales and sales to the government represented 8.7pc and 3.7pc, respectively. Industry corporate fleet sales represented 2.6pc of the total sales in March.
|South Africa’s domestic vehicle sales in March 2021 (in units)|
|Type||Mar-21||Mar-20||YoY (pc)||Feb-21||MoM (pc)|
|Light commercial vehicles (LCVs)||14,375||9,434||52.4%||11,232||28.0%|
In March, South Africa’s vehicle exports grew by 38.6pc to 40,026 units as compared to 28,889 units exported in the same month in the previous year. The association said that auto exports gained significant upward momentum in March and will be supported by the rebound in global economic growth prospects for 2021.
A full recovery to pre-COVID-19 auto-export levels will depend on the ongoing path of the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe and its management by South Africa’s main auto importers.
Naamsa said that the South African auto industry is expected to start recapturing lost demand on its recovery path in 2021, considering the close correlation between new vehicle sales and the country’s anticipated annual GDP growth rate of over 3pc.
However, structural constraints, coupled with the growing debt of the country and the ongoing electricity capacity limitations that businesses may face in the future, do not bode well for a quick recovery, the association added.
New vehicle sales in 2021 may be hampered by stock shortages of some models in the coming months, caused by COVID-19-induced supply chain disruptions, including the current global shortage of semiconductors, or computer chips, the association projected.