The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent three week lockdown called by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month, has seen the sales of new vehicles plummet in March with the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) recording an unsurprising drop of 29.7% from 47 685 unit last year to 33 545 this year.
Representing the third straight month of sales ending in the red, all of the individual segments were down with new passenger vehicles dropping by 26.8% from 30 339 to 22 200 and light commercial vehicles by a steep 37.1% from last year’s 14 995 to a scant 9 425 this year.
The star performers throughout last year, the pandemic also hit the sales of medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles, with the former falling by 18.8% to 631 units and the latter by 18.6% to 1 289. Third hardest hit as a result of the various factories closing and the ripple effect that followed, exports dropped by 21.5% from 36 788 to 28 883.
“COVID-19 has a huge macro and micro economic impact globally as well as in South Africa. In line with the temporary closure of global facilities, the entire domestic motor industry also suspended production in view of the nationwide lockdown imposed on midnight, 26 March 2020,” NAAMSA said in a statement. As a result, the industry lost three working days during the month impacting negatively on the March 2020 domestic new vehicle sales and export sales,” NAAMSA said in a statement.
“South Africa was already in a recession before the COVID-19 had any significant impact. In exacerbating the situation further, the Moody’s rating downgrade during March 2020 comes at a time that the country is in the midst of pulling all its resources and capacity together to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 across the economy”.
Note: Lack of model sales provided means no top 50 best sellers are included.