Figures released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) on Friday showed that new cars sold in South Africa last month rose year on year by more than 28 percent to 35,770 units, the highest single monthly sales total on record.

Tony Twine, a motor industry analyst and director of Econometrix, said the level of new car sales reported last month was “excellent”, Business Report said.

However, it was noticeable from both Naamsa and Associated Motor Holdings figures that entry-level car sales did not do well relative to July this year, the report noted.

“This might suggest that the suspected re-entry of pure private buyers might be getting to saturation level,” Twine reportedly said.

Tata, the diversified Indian group that has made impressive inroads into the local new vehicle market since it launched its first vehicles on the market in November last year, reported total sales last month of 1,532 vehicles.

Twine said Tata had been enormously successful since entering the passenger vehicle market and had built its overall monthly sales to more than 1,000 units in a very short space of time.

Naamsa reported that GAZ Motor Corporation SA, the joint venture that distributes products manufactured by the Russia-based vehicle manufacturer and Mahindra SA, part of the Indian auto giant, had joined the organisation, and both would be reporting their monthly sales figures.

GAZ reported 43 unit sales of its 16-seater taxi vehicle and Mahindra a total of 203 sales, including 101 Scorpio 4×4 special utility vehicles.

Brand Pretorius, the chairman of McCarthy Motor Holdings, told Business Report said the total new vehicle market of 58,329 units last month was another all-time high and this record represented a significant milestone in the history of the local motor industry.

“As recently as 1999, the average monthly sales were only 24,648 units, and the industry sold 27,362 units in August 1999. This means that sales in August this year were a significant 113 percent higher if compared to the same month six years ago.”

Pretorius said year-to-date new vehicle sales trends indicated that total sales for the year, including sales by Associated Motor Holdings, were likely to reach 590 000 units, double the 295 775 units sold in 1999.

“This remarkable growth clearly illustrates the elasticity of vehicle demand in our country, with enhanced affordability delivering disproportionate growth in vehicle sales.

“The conclusion is clear. Enhanced vehicle affordability taking place against a backdrop of a favourable economic climate is the key that unlocks growth in the passenger vehicle market,” Pretorius said.