Figures released by NAAMSA show that the South African vehicle market declined by 13.8% over last year to 47,707 units in November.

The decline was described by NAAMSA as sharp and shows a deteriorating trend following October's smaller year-on-year drop of 5.9%.

Passenger car sales in November declined 15.7% to 29,335 units.

On a year to date basis, NAAMSA reported new car sales were 9.2% below the corresponding January to November sales of 2006.

NAAMSA said that trading conditions generally, particularly in the new car market, remained under severe pressure under the cumulative impact of interest rate increases, record high levels of household debt, pressure on disposable incomes due to rising inflation and deteriorating business and consumer sentiment.

NAAMSA added in a statement that looking ahead to 2008, the automotive industry faced the prospect of a weak market for at least the first half of the year.