Total South African new-vehicle sales declined 29.6% in July to 32 396 units, compared with the 46 042 vehicles sold in the same month last year.
The new-passenger-car market fell by 35.8% to 18 905 units.
With the tourism sector still in lockdown, the car rental industry comprised only 1.4% of the market, compared with the nearly 20% in July last year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and minibuses declined by 19.7% in July to 11 123 units.
Medium truck sales, at 698 units, were down 12.9%, compared with July last year, while the heavy truck and bus market declined by 13.3% to 1 670 units.
July new-vehicle export sales, at 24 706 units, fell by 29.6%.
Some positive news is that the domestic automotive industry’s major export destinations are starting to ease their lockdown restrictions, with many actively stimulating their new-vehicle markets with large financial government incentives, says Naamsa.
“Most worrying to note is that July was a very long trading month, and new-vehicle sales were still almost 30% down on the previous year,” says National Automobile Dealers Association (Nada) chairperson Mark Dommisse.
“July was a very difficult trading month and we don’t see a quick recovery from this new reality any time soon. In fact, we’re looking at a minimum of one to two years before we see any significant improvement in new-vehicle sales.
Consumers are still under massive pressure to meet their monthly household expenses, and cautious when making big-ticket vehicle purchases and committing to large financial payments,” adds Dommisse.
“While there is some reprieve from recent interest rate cuts, rising fuel prices and general inflation will continue to pinch wallets into the foreseeable future.
“On the positive side, many consumers will have resumed paying deferred instalments in July and, considering the pressure they are under and that there is still an appetite for new cars in the current environment, a flat month from June to July is very encouraging.”