South Africa's automaker's association, Naamsa, says it expects new vehicle sales this year to decline by 25% compared with 2008.

The association reported in its quarterly review of business conditions that it anticipates an improvement in sales volumes of between 8% and 10% next year.

With exports down 45% during the first nine months of 2009 compared with the same period in 2008, Naamsa expects "modest upward momentum" over the next few months although doubts remain over the sustainability of a recovery in global markets.

The association adds that the general consensus is that the industry is in the process of emerging from the severe recession which started in mid-2006.

Naamsa said it expects projected capital expenditure by the local automotive industry to reach ZAR3.67bn (USD47m) in 2009, compared with ZAR3.28bn (USD$2m) in 2008.

Employment figures in the vehicle manufacturing industry, meanwhile, have declined by 7,062 jobs over the past 18 months, falling to the lowest level for 22 years.

See also: SOUTH AFRICA: October sales "encouraging improvement"