Local vehicle sales in May, at 38 337 units, reflected an increase of 25 463 units, or 197.8 percent, compared with the number sold in May last year, although the prior year’s sales were distorted by Covid-19-related lockdowns.

The Automotive Business Council said yesterday that vehicle export sales had also recorded a gain of 23 425 units, or 196.8 percent, to 35 326 units in May, compared to the vehicles exported in May last year.

Of the total reported industry sales of 38 337 vehicles, an estimated 33 642 units, or 87.8 percent, were sold by dealers, 8.2 percent represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 2 percent to corporate fleets and 2 percent sales to the government.

The car rental industry accounted for 11.4 percent of car sales in May.

New light commercial vehicle, bakkie and mini-bus sales, at 11 930 units, represented a gain of 288.5 percent from the number of light commercial vehicles sold in May last year. Medium truck sales increased by 256 units, or 84.5 percent, and heavy truck and bus sales increased by 223.2 percent compared with the corresponding month last year.

National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) chief executive Mike Mabasa said the automotive industry had shut down in April last year under the level 5 lockdown restrictions, and vehicle production and retail sales only started easing back into operation in May last year, so month-on-month comparisons were distorted.

For the first five months of this year, however, vehicle exports were now 67.2 percent above the corresponding period last year and remain key to the viability of the local automotive industry, he said.


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