Figures released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) and produced in association with Response Group Trendline show that the South African car market declined by 7.3% over last year to 20,126 units in October. Light commercial vehicle sales – including ‘bakkies’ (pick-ups) – fell by 14.2% in October to 9,334 units.

In the first 10 months of the year South African passenger car sales reached 196,214 units, 2.7% below the same period in 2001.

NAAMSA said that the slow down in car sales this year could be attributed to the effects of interest rate increases this year, general inflationary pressures and pressures on real disposable income. The association also warned that the industry’s domestic trading environment was expected to remain challenging in coming months, reflecting the impact of new vehicle price increases and higher costs of finance.

However, NAAMSA also reported that medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle sales continued to improve in October, reflecting a ‘generally positive investment sentiment’.

South African vehicle exports slowed in October, but at 86,427 units in the first ten months remained 24.1% ahead of the corresponding period last year.

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