Vehicle sales recovery slower than expected

Car dealer sales recovery still hampered by global stock shortages

Reuben Van Niekerk
Vehicle sales
car dealer sales
dealer sales

The total automotive dealer sales counter for the month of May stopped on 38 344 units, compared to the 35 616 vehicles sold in the month of April which represents a 7,6% improvement, albeit with April being a soft month due to public holidays. Although this is an improvement, sales are still a way off the figure achieved in March, when 43 428 vehicles were retailed through the dealer channel.

 

“With interest rates remaining at an all-time low, it is currently more affordable to finance a new vehicle, however continued stock shortages and the resulting rising prices are really hampering market recovery,” says the CEO of Motus Retail and Rental SA, Corné Venter.

 

The top selling passenger vehicles for the month were the Volkswagen Polo (1 748) followed by the Volkswagen Polo Vivo (1 432), Toyota Fortuner (872), Toyota Urban Cruiser (717), Suzuki S-Presso (682), Renault Kwid (681) and Hyundai i20 (658).

The biggest winner in terms of market share was Toyota who grew with 9,6%, followed by Haval with 2,1% and Suzuki with 1,7%. The biggest losers were Volkswagen, who lost 7,3%, followed by Hyundai and Mercedes who lost 3,9 and 2,1% respectively.

 

In the Light Commercial segment the Toyota Hilux once again walked away with the laurels, retailing 3 700 units, and gaining 10,6% market share. In second spot was Ford Ranger (1 972), followed by Isuzu D-Max (1 540), Toyota Hi-Ace (1 346) and Nissan NP200 (914). A brand to keep an eye on is Haval who grew its share of the LCV segment by 3,3%.

 

The Motus import and distribution brands continue to show steady growth despite the tough trading conditions. Hyundai Automotive retailed 2 507 vehicles through the dealer channel, compared to 2 344 in April, placing them convincingly in third place in the passenger vehicle segment. A big contributor to this growth was the introduction of the i20, which went on to retail 658 units despite being launched mid-way through May. The momentum is expected to continue into June, as the sales of the i20 really get up to speed. Hyundai will also be launching the new Kona towards the end of June.

 

Kia had a great month too, with dealer sales of 1 412 vehicles, compared to the 1 033 of last month. The recently launched Kia Sonet was a big contributor to this number, with 440 vehicles rolling off showroom floors. Kia is expected to retain this momentum as they continue their new product offensive, with the launch of a budget sedan under the Pegas moniker.

 

Renault sold 1 508 units compared to 1 423 last month while Mitsubishi Motors retailed 188 vehicles in comparison to the 150 in April. All-in-all a good month for the Motus Distributors.

 

Looking ahead

For the month of June, pre-owned retailer Auto pedigree expects a similar sales performance. Factors such as a public holiday in the middle of a week, rising COVID-19 infections and WesBank’s recent weeklong technical difficulties all contribute to a challenging trading environment.

Motus Toyota dealers report that new vehicle stock remains an issue, even for locally manufactured models. Whatever comes in is sold almost immediately and clients are not always able to get the vehicle in the specification that they originally wanted.

 

“Although dealer sales have recovered nicely when we look back over the past 12 months, it has not been without its challenges. The continued stock shortages of new vehicles are a real issue and is of course driving up the demand for pre-owned vehicles. The knock-on effect is that high-quality pre-owned vehicle stock is increasingly difficult to come by and prices are very often well above market value. The tightening of COVID-19 restrictions is also expected to damper consumer enthusiasm,” concluded Venter.