Vehicle sales down by 30% due to COVID-19 pandemic

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The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said the new vehicle sales statistics for March 2020 reflects a substantial decline of 14 150 units or 29.7% from the 47 695 vehicles sold in March 2019 — This is essentially a whopping 30% drop due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Naamsa’s statement, the automotive industry, across the world, is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the global lockdowns in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 — and South Africa is no exception. Equally, export sales units also registered a huge fall of 7 905 units or a decline of 21.5% compared to the 36 788 vehicles exported in March 2019.

“The performance of vehicle exports over the course of 2020 is linked to the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy,” it said. 

Here’s the breakdown of vehicle sales 

According to the statement, the total reported industry sales were made up of the following.  

Out of the total reported industry sales of 33 545 vehicles: 

An estimated 28 042 units or 83.6% represented dealer sales; An estimated 6.2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry; An estimated 5.8% went to government, and An estimated 4.4% went to industry corporate fleets. 

“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,” it said.  

“The country’s resources and capacity are being stretched in addressing this extraordinary situation and the downgrade opens another major challenge for South Africa,” it added. 

Saamsa says the automotive industry is doing what it can to fight COVID-19

The global automotive industry is contributing immensely with several initiatives during lockdown period across the world. 

Collectively, it is working with respective governments to support the country’s essential services, such as offering factories to produce ventilators and other medical equipment urgently required to fight against COVID-19. 

The Naamsa CEO Council will be meeting on Thursday 2 April to consider what else the South African automotive industry can do to support government efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in South Africa.

The automotive industry, including the manufacturing of vehicles contributes 6.9% to GDP (4.4% manufacturing and 2.5% retail). The total automotive revenue in South Africa amounted to R503 billion in 2018. 

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