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October’s sales figures were also the highest monthly total in the past three years, since October 2015.

Of the total vehicle sales, 74.1% represented dealer sales, 20.2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 3.2% to government and 2.5% to industry corporate fleets.

The South African economy continued to experience difficult conditions with consumers’ disposable income remaining under pressure. Continued weakness in the latest Purchasing Managers’ Indices and the Reserve Bank’s Leading Indicator suggested that business conditions would probably remain difficult over the short term.

On the positive side, new-vehicle affordability had continued to improve with new car price inflation remaining well below the Consumer Price Index for the past 15 months.

Automotive companies were also offering attractive sales incentives.

Naamsa noted that export sales had also registered strong gains, in line with industry expectations. The 34 134 vehicles exported represented a 20.9% year-on-year improvement.

The association said vehicle exports remain a function of the direction of the global economy which continues to reflect fairly robust growth despite rising protectionism and trade disputes.

The momentum of export sales had increased over the past few months and, taking into account relatively strong order books reported by most vehicle exporters, exports should improve further and reflect strong upward momentum in 2019 and subsequent years.

The projection of industry export sales for 2019 was at 385 000 export units compared with an estimated figure of about 340 000 for 2018.


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