By: Leo Kok
Motor industry commentator, and director at Mediaserve, Leo Kok gives us a breakdown of SA new vehicle sales for October 2018.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa) says that October was the best month of the year to date, with 51 866 new vehicles sold.
Of these new vehicles, Toyota and Volkswagen represent the lions share. Toyota sold 13 342 vehicles, giving it a quarter of the overall market and the leading position in both the passenger and light commercial vehicle market. Volkswagen follows in second place with 8 983 vehicles sold, of which 3 009 units were Polo Vivos.
In the upper echelon, Bentley took a surprise lead with 10 new vehicle sales. Of these, seven were Bentayga SUVs. Ferrari, in turn, sold four Portofinos and one 488 Spider and Maserati matched them with five Levantes.
For the last couple of months, Porsche has declined to report their detailed sales figures. Like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, they now only report an aggregate figure. In October, this combined figure was a very impressive 178 units, placing them ahead of some mass-market brands such as Tata and Mitsubishi.
Naamsa says that much of the growth in the market came from the light commercial vehicle market, with the Hilux leading the charge with 3 352 units sold. The passenger vehicle market was flat, but it is interesting to note that all of the brands in the top 10 sold more than 1 000 units, including Suzuki with a very impressive 1 111 sales.
While the light commercial vehicle market performed very well, it was the vehicle rental companies that drove much of the sales growth. These rental companies replenish their vehicle fleets before the busy Christmas season and their purchasing patterns are a good indicator of the overall health of the market.
In October, the vehicle rental companies purchased over 20 per cent of all of the vehicles sold, which is a very positive indication of their expectations for the rest of the year and for the holiday season.
According to Naamsa and several of the market watchers, the market will regain most of the sales it lost in preceding months. This will however not be enough to end the year on a high note and analysts expect at best a flat market or one with marginal growth.