Business: March 2009 NAMSA Retail Sales
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March 2009 new vehicle sales showed substantial gains against February according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), sparking some reassurance in the market. New vehicle sales finished March on 36,331 units compared to the 32 613 units sold in February, a significant 10,3% increase.
Growth in sales during March is encouraging, but it is traditionally a strong month also supported by manufacturer quarterly programs and pre-price increase purchasing. Passenger and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) drove sales last month, showing 12,6% and 10,5% growth respectively over February. The Medium, Heavy, Extra Heavy, and Bus markets continued to be depressed.
However, compared to March 2008, the market continues to show a 30,3% decrease in performance.
“The recovery versus the year to date tracking rates is encouraging, but the market continues to be down 30% versus 2008,” says Vice President Sales and Marketing, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Jacques Brent. “We are beginning to see some stimulation from interest rate cuts and the revision of credit vetting scorecards by the banks.”
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa had its second successive month of growth, once again out-pacing the industry. FMCSA passenger sales grew 25,8% to 2,630 units over February spurred by an excellent sales month for Fiesta (1,072 units sold). Top seller for Mazda was the Mazda3 with 406 units registered in March. LCVs remained stable, Ranger accounting for 582 sales for FMCSA.
“While March sales have been a spark of hope, the SA motor industry will remain under pressure in the coming months,” says Brent. “Consumers will experience fuel price hikes and April sales will be pressurised by public holidays and resulting fewer selling days, so the coming month’s figures are expected to be lower. But the indication of renewed confidence is there and provides a strong case for further interest rate cuts.”
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