The South African new-vehicle market grew by 3% in June, to 46 678 units, compared with the same month last year.
The newest sales numbers, released on Monday, show that June new passenger car sales gained 4.4%, to reach 29 886 units.
Sales of new bakkies, minibuses and vans, at 14 261 units, declined by 0.4%.
Sales of medium trucks, at 731 units, decreased by 2.9%.
Sales of new heavy trucks and buses performed better, increasing by 10.1%, to 1 800 units.
June export sales, at 26 790 vehicles, declined by a substantial 15.2%.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) says in a statement that the latest domestic sales figures have exceeded industry expectations, but that export sales have been disappointing.
“The improvement in domestic sales, particularly new car sales, is encouraging, given recent weak economic growth and investment numbers,” notes the association.
“It appeared that the new car market has been supported by improved business and consumer confidence.”
The association continues to project growth in export sales over the balance of the year, despite the June decline.
“However, the industry’s export performance is likely to be affected by current protectionist policies in the United States, which have increased the risk of a global trade war. This could impact on international trade flows, including vehicle exports,” states Naamsa.
At the half-way market for 2018, the outlook for the domestic market was of some growth in new-vehicle sales, even if marginal.
“Historical trends have shown that sales in the second half of a calendar year are generally higher than the first,” says WesBank sales and marketing executive head Ghana Msibi.
“Consumers are generally more cautious with big ticket purchases early in the year, often because of lingering December spending hangovers. Shorter months and fewer working days due to public holidays over the first six months also contribute to less sales activity.”
Standard Bank retains its forecast of 2% growth in new-vehicle sales for 2018, to yield a market of around 568 000 units for the year, says Standard Bank dealer automotive retail head Cyril Zungu.
However, he adds that there appears to be some pressure on motoring budgets owing to the recent sharp increases in fuel prices.
These increases could shift buying behaviour towards smaller-car segments.
Top-selling cars, bakkies and vans in June:
1. Toyota Hilux 3 936
2. Ford Ranger 2 613
3. VW Polo Vivo 2 285
4. Nissan NP200 1 847
5. VW Polo 1 844
6. Toyota Quantum 1 376
7. Isuzu KB 1 372
8. Toyota Corolla/Auris/Quest 1 226
9. Toyota Fortuner 1 190
10. Renault Kwid 1 023