New-vehicle sales fell by 30% in March, to 33 545 units, compared with the same month last year.
South Africa is in a lockdown since March 27 as it works to curb the spread of Covid-19.
New-passenger-car sales plummeted by 26.8%, to 22 200 units.
Sales of light commercial vehicles, such as bakkies and taxis, saw a decline of 37.1%, to 9 425 units.
Medium-truck sales dropped by 18.8%, to 631 units, with heavy-truck sales declining by 29.3%, to 333 units.
Extra-heavy trucks saw a drop of 12.7%, to 902 vehicles.
Bus sales fell from 80 units in March last year, to 54 units in March this year.
New-vehicle exports had an equally bad month in March, falling by 21.5%, to 28 883 units.
Vehicle plants have shut down globally, with billions of civilians in lockdown as countries around the world work to curb the spread of Covid-19 – removing both vehicle supply and demand from the equation.
“The automotive industry across the world is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges owing to the global lockdowns implemented across all major auto manufacturing countries in order to flatten the Covid-19 curve,” comments the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).
“South Africa is no exception and the local automotive industry supports all measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the implementation of the country’s 21-day lockdown.”
South Africa was already in a recession before Covid-19 could have any significant impact, adds Naamsa.
Exacerbating the situation further, Moody’s March downgrade comes at a time when the country is pulling all of its resources together to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19.
A glimmer of good news is that the Reserve Bank cut interest rates during March by the biggest margin in more than ten years, in support of an already fragile economy and to ease the financial burden on households and businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, says the association.
TOP SELLERS IN SOUTH AFRICA IN MARCH:
Toyota 8 715 units
Volkswagen 5 499 units
Nissan 2 775 units