The South African new-vehicle market expanded by 2.6% in July, to 47 881 units, compared with the same month last year.
The newest sales numbers, released on Wednesday, indicate that July new-passenger car sales gained 4.3%, to reach 32 108 units.
The car rental industry acquired about 18.8% of all new cars sold during the month.
Sales of new bakkies, minibuses and vans, at 13 458 units, declined by 2.3%.
Sales of medium trucks, at 701 units, grew by 15.9%.
Sales of new heavy trucks and buses also delivered positive results, increasing by 6.7%, to 1 614 units.
Export sales again disappointed after a 15.2% drop in June, to decline by 19.2%, to 28 063 units.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said in a statement that the improvement in domestic sales, specifically new-car sales, was encouraging when viewed against the background of recent weak economic growth.
“The new-car market continues to be supported by steady consumer confidence and improved new vehicle affordability, with average price increases of new cars remaining well below inflation for the fourth consecutive quarter.
“Second-half calendar year new-car sales normally show an improvement on first half sales and this suggests a modest annual improvement in 2018 domestic sales volumes compared to 2017.”
The bad news, however, was that Naamsa said it would be forced to revise its 2018 expectations for new-vehicle exports from South Africa downwards. One complication was the risk of growing global trade disputes that could impact further on international trade flows, including vehicle exports.
The association said in March that it expected 10% growth in new-vehicle exports from South Africa.
The association on Wednesday did not quantify its revised export expectations for 2018.
Top-selling cars, bakkies and vans in July:
1. Toyota Hilux 3 373
2. VW Polo 2 817
3. Ford Ranger 2 499
4. VW Polo Vivo 2 321
5. Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest 2 047
6. Toyota Quantum 1 460
7. Nissan NP200 1 356
8. Isuzu KB 1 165
9. Hyundai Grand i10 1 141
10. Nissan NP300 1 108