Data released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) shows a 2.8% year-on-year decline in new vehicle sales in April. At 42,359 units, NAAMSA said the total was down despite the fact that April of last year was a very low base for comparison.

NAAMSA reported new car sales in April at 24,094 units, some 7% below the year-ago level. NAAMSA said demand in the new car market had weakened substantially in recent months as a result of the cumulative effect of interest rate increases, pressure on disposable income due to rising energy, food and fuel costs and negative consumer sentiment and business confidence.

For the balance of 2008, the new domestic car and light commercial vehicle sectors were expected to remain under pressure as a result of tight monetary conditions, rising inflationary pressures, high levels of household debt and a further modest slow-down in economic activity levels.