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Outlook for the car market

That's the view of various market leaders whose comments come in the wake of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa's (NAAMSA) report stating there was a 0.9% decline in new car sales in 2014.

“Overall, 2014 growth disappointed us, and the mid-December power issues – with the possibility of load shedding early in the new year – combined with the very poor performance of the rand, have made the start to 2015 look shaky,” said Imperial Fleet Management’s CEO Nicholas de Canha.

He said the outlook for 2015 was fairly negative, owing to the economy experiencing significantly lower growth than expected at the beginning of 2014. That said, he pointed out the ‘C’ segment and bigger vehicle classes have been, and would probably remain, relatively unaffected by the general strain placed on credit approvals.

Echoing De Canha’s sentiments, Park Village Auctions’ (PVA) Graham van Niekerk says 2014 was also a fairly tough year for the car auction market due to prevailing economic conditions.

Demand for “clean”, quality cars remained strong throughout the year.

As for 2015’s prospects, he is holding out for a turnaround and says bakkies and affordable cars will continue to dominate the “best-seller” list.

Meanwhile, price increases have been more muted than expected, with increases from local manufacturers having averaged almost 4%.

Imported brands were in the seven to eight percentage point ranges.