New vehicle sales in South Africa grew 15.6% year on year in June with vehicle exports also up by 7% according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa).

Domestic sales rose by 7,015 units from 44,876 units in June 2011 and were 105% ahead for the first half of the year.

Naamsa said: “Assisted by new model introductions, aggregate industry new car sales during June 2012 remained relatively strong and, at 35,918 units, reflected an improvement of 4,480 units or 14.3% compared to the 31,438 new cars sold during June 2011.”

Sales of industry new light commercial vehicles, bakkies (pick-ups) and minibuses reflected strong growth at 13,421 units in June 2012, up 2,425 units or 22.1% compared to the 10,996 light commercial vehicle sales during June 2011.

Naamsa added that the momentum of industry export sales should improve over the balance of the year as various vehicle export programmes were ramped up.

“Vehicle exports into Europe were likely to continue under pressure as a result of the recession in the eurozone but these could be offset by higher exports to African countries and Australia," it noted.

Although there were indications of further slowing in the domestic economy, new vehicle sales continued to perform remarkably well, with several factors expected to support the domestic market.

These include historically low interest rates, continuing improvement in vehicle affordability in real terms, improving demand for credit by households and businesses, as well as further pre-emptive buying by consumers in response to the weaker exchange rate in recent months.

Naamsa added that in terms of domestic sales, the industry remained on track during 2012 for single digit growth in the range of 8% to 10% over 2011.