New Car Sales in SA: September 2020

Toyota Hilux GR 061

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) has released new vehicle sales figures for September 2020.

The SA vehicle market remains under pressure but continues on its steady recovery as lockdown levels have begun to ease.

Compared with August 2020, 4 148 more vehicles were sold in September 2020. A total of 37 403 vehicles were sold in stark contrast to September 2019 where 49 140 vehicles were sold. This is the first real sign since the lockdown was eased 2 months ago that vehicle sales have shown month on month double-digit increase.

Light commercial vehicles appear to be recovering faster than other segments with LCV sales not too far off levels seen in 2019.

New Car Sales Summary: September 2020

  • Aggregate new vehicle sales at 37 403 units down by 23.9% (-11 737 units) compared with August 2019

  • +11.1% (4 148 units) up on August 2020

  • New passenger car sales of 22 798 units down by 31.2% (-10 322 units) compared with August 2019

  • +15.2% (+4 148 units) up on August 2020

  • Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) sales of 12 267 units down by 8.9% (-1 202 units) compared with August 2019

  • +7.5% (925 units) up on August 2020

  • Exports of 28 704 units down by 23.9%% (-7 566 units) compared with August 2019

  • +19.8%  (+5 676 units) up on August 2020

Top-Selling Car Brands in South Africa for September 2020

  1. Toyota - 9 175 units

  2. Volkswagen - 4 948 units 

  3. Ford - 3 679 units 

  4. Hyundai - 2 623 units

  5. Nissan - 2 442 units

Top-Selling Vehicles in South Africa for September 2020

  1. Toyota Hilux - 4 252 units

  2. Ford Ranger - 2 188 units

  3. VW Polo Vivo - 1 621 units

  4. VW Polo - 1 299 units

  5. Nissan NP200 - 1 118 units

* Polo Sales number on infographic should read 1 299 units.

Sales outlook

“Some momentum is gathering as economic stimuli slowly return,” says Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank Vehicle and Asset Finance. “The month-on-month increase in sales is more reassuring in real terms than the gradual improvement in year-on-year performance over the past three months. There are clear signs of recovery, although there remains a long road to full recovery.”

As much as those nearly 4 000 additional units of volume will have been welcomed by dealers and brands, the harsh reality remains a market 11 737 units less than September last year. “Relatively, September sales down 23.9% compare favourably to the year-to-date performance, which is now 33.4% down from the same period last year,” says Gaoaketse. “That’s a very sobering 132 878 units less so far this year than pre-Covid-19 levels of market activity.”

In contrast to actual sales activity, WesBank Vehicle and Asset Finance data indicates an increase in applications compared to September last year. “Whether it remains pent-up demand or merely more consumer and business optimism in the market, there are reassuring levels of demand,” says Gaoaketse. “While this isn’t currently translating into sales, it bodes well for the continued recovery of the market as affordability slowly improves.”

WesBank Vehicle and Asset Finance has also experienced an increase in its average deal duration, indicating the knock-on effects of lockdown delaying purchase decisions, as well as the continued stress on household incomes that is translating into current market performance.

Naamsa suggests further tax cuts should be made for new vehicles during this time: "An important avenue for government to support this key coronavirus-hit sector of the economy is to reduce taxes on new vehicle purchases to stimulate new vehicle sales. Combined with record low interest rates and low inflation, the automotive industry and the economy in general could hugely benefit should the tax burden on vehicles be reduced during this time."