New vehicle sales for the first month of 2018 have declined 8.9% year-on-year despite a month-on-month increase of 12.9%.

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa)the number of new vehicle sold per trading day came to 2 086 units in January, much in line with 2 032 units sold per trading day in December last year.

In line with the declining trend new commercial vehicle sales contracted by 1.7% year-on-year and 6% month-on-month in to 13 246 units in January. Light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales were down by 2.1% year-on-year and 3.5% month-on-month to 11 689 units in January.

Marginal increase expected

Looking ahead Nelisiwe Baloyi Head: Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance says new vehicle sales are expected to show low single-digit growth in 2018 against the background of trends in and prospects for the economy, consumer and business sector finances and levels of confidence.

“Sales volumes are also expected to be driven by the demand for entry-level passenger cars, new model releases, manufacturer incentives and expected stable interest rates during the course of the year,” she adds.

Baloyi notes that new vehicle exports will continue to be driven by global economic growth and subsequent vehicle demand, local manufacturers’ export programs and vehicle export competitiveness on the back of rand exchange rate movements.

Some of the key factors that continue to impact the sector include vehicle prices, household finances, vehicle finance, transport costs, economic performance and vehicle demand and supply according to Baloyi.