Dealer sales battle against variety of global factors

Car dealer sales declined significantly during the month of April 2021

Reuben Van Niekerk
Dealer sales
Motus dealerships
Car sales

The month of April saw the total dealer sales including passenger, light commercial, medium and heavy commercial vehicles counter stop at 35 616 vehicles. This is a significant decline in sales compared to the month of March, where 43 428 vehicles rolled off dealership floors.

 

All segments of the South African new car market reported a decline in sales. The passenger car segment declined by 13,9%, the light commercial segment by 24,3%, the medium commercial segment by 24,2% and heavy trucks and buses by 17,5%.

The decline in sales can be attributed to fewer trading days due to public holidays as well as low stock across all models due to production delays caused by factors such as the global semi-conductor shortage and COVID-19.

“Factors such as the easing of lockdown restrictions, a continued low interest rate and the high number of new models launched in the last six months mean that buyer appetite is at an all-time high. The biggest hurdle at this stage though is getting customers the car they want in the specification they want,” says the CEO of Motus Retail and Rental SA, Corné Venter.

 

The top selling passenger cars for the month of April 2021 were the Volkswagen Polo Vivo (1849), Volkswagen Polo (1792), Toyota Urban Cruiser (796), Toyota Fortuner (615), Toyota Corolla Quest (655) and Suzuki Swift (652).

In the light commercial segment, the Toyota Hilux continues to dominate, retailing 3163 units for the month which equates to a 29,2% share of this segment, followed by the Ford Ranger (1705) Isuzu D-Max (1402) and Nissan NP200 (1081).

 

Winners and losers

The passenger car market continues to be dominated by local manufacturers Volkswagen and Toyota. However imported brands such as Hyundai have managed to gain market share over the last 12 months, despite the tough trading conditions.

In the passenger car segment, Volkswagen sold 5697 vehicles, claiming a 25,0% share of the segment Toyota 3885 vehicles with a 17,1% share. Third placed Hyundai sold 2344 units, claiming a 10,3% segment share. Fourth placed Suzuki sold 2170 vehicles which attributes to 9,5% of the segment.

 

In the light commercial segment, Toyota sold a total of 4745 units, followed by Ford (1767), Isuzu (1406) and Nissan (1292).

Showing a steady performance, the Motus import and distribution brands managed to buck the market sales decreases trend with only a very slight decrease in sales when comparing March to April.

 

Renault SA, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Motus, sold 1442 units in March and 1423 units in April and are looking forward to improving on this figure as their new products begin to arrive in coming months. Kia sold 1033 units compared to 1252 units in March and this figure should increase dramatically too as they have just launched their compact SUV contender the Sonet.

Hyundai showed a slight decrease month on month too but should bounce back nicely following recent launches of the new Santa Fe and Hyundai i20, which has traditionally been a volume seller for the brand. 

Mitsubishi Motors have remained consistent, selling approximately 150 units a month but are also expecting a couple of new models along with the announcement of special edition variants of current models.

 

Looking ahead

Good quality, low-mileage pre-owned vehicles are increasingly hard to find and prices on these units will continue to increase for as long as new vehicle supply remains constrained. 

“With many manufacturers struggling to keep up with the local demand for new vehicles, this shortfall is fuelling used vehicle demand and consequently driving up the prices of used vehicles,” added Corne Venter, CEO of Motus Retail & Rental SA.

 

Toyota franchised dealers are expecting an improvement in May despite ongoing stock shortages. It has become business as usual, in the past few months, that as new stock arrives it is immediately snapped up by the market.

Ford dealerships share these sentiments and added that demand for new vehicles remains robust and new vehicle sales for May could return good numbers, supply permitting.

”The outlook for the remainder of 2021 has deteriorated further in recent weeks with supply and demand imbalances now only expected to stabilise towards the end of 2021,” concluded Venter.