Slow but steady recovery in new vehicle sales


The country reeled in the face of rising fuel prices and interest rates during July, but seemingly without effect on new vehicle sales.

“It would be easy to get over-excited about July sales when looking just at the numbers,” said Lebogang Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communications at WesBank. “However, the context of July last year is critical to appreciating the slow and steady growth being experienced in the market.”

But growth it is, which remains reassuring. According to naamsa | the Automotive Business Council, new vehicle sales grew 30.9% to 43,593 year-on-year, the fourth consecutive month of sales growth since the market’s slow April performance.

In similar vein, July 2021 sales were the lowest recorded last year due to heightened COVID-19 restrictions to Level 4 and the KZN unrest that also interrupted logistics. As a result, year-on-year comparisons are skewed, although July sales still grew 6.3% month-on-month to record the third-best sales month this year.

"The significant increase in interest rates during the month may dampen August sales as new deals confront an affordability challenge or consumers simply delay purchase decisions,” said Gaoaketse. “Nevertheless, interest rates remain relatively low, continuing to make a new vehicle purchase an appealing financial opportunity currently.”

WesBank expects further interest rate hikes for the remainder of the year, providing an opportunity for the market to conclude deals before these expected increases and capitalise on savings to be made in the early part of the contract.

Passenger car sales jumped 50.2% during July to 31,455 units. Relatively, this represented a 6.5% growth month-on-month, which was still ahead of the whole market growth. The segment was buoyed by 4,150 rental sales units.

Light Commercial Vehicle sales declined 6.9% year-on-year but actually showed a 7.6% growth compared to June sales. This segment sold 9,547 units during July.

"Affordability remains a key driver in the vehicle purchase journey,” said Gaoaketse. “WesBank’s average deal size on new sales financed by the bank were lower during July than a year ago, despite price increases. Deals financed with a balloon payment have also increased substantially, indicating a need to lower the monthly instalment to suit household budgets.”

Year-to-date sales continued to show growth off a similar context to July’s sales. The first seven months of the year have delivered a 13.9% growth in sales to 297,133 units, making it possible for the new vehicle market to exceed 500,000 sales in 2022.

View Latest Stats Here


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Iconic McLaren’s chequered history   

By Graham Duxbury @TheRealDux


On this day in 1974, Dave Charlton won the Rand Winter Trophy race at Kyalami driving a McLaren M23. This was the car that had won the 1973 British Grand Prix with Peter Revson at the wheel. 

Purchased by Charlton’s Scuderia Scribante team and in his hands it remained a tremendously successful car, winning eight races and South African Drivers’ Championship titles in 1974 and '75.

In 1975 Dave set the outright lap record at Kyalami. The record stood through six SA Grands Prix until broken in the ground-effect era of the 1980s.

After the ’75 season, the McLaren was sold – without its three-litre Cosworth Ford DFV engine - to Australian racer John Mc Cormack. He installed a five-litre Repco Leyland engine allowing the car to race in the Australian Gold Star championship for Formula 5000 cars. He won the championship and secured the Australian champion driver’s title with the venerable McLaren in 1977 (pictured).

Looking for further adventures, McCormack used the McLaren M23 chassis as the basis for a Can-Am sports car which he campaigned in the US in 1979 before returning the car to F5000 specifications for the 1980 Australian GP. Sadly, the car never raced in this guise as John was badly injured in a road accident enroute to the event. He did not compete again.

In 1982 the car was sold to the McLaren factory, converted back to F1 specifications and presented in Yardley livery commemorating Revson’s British GP win. This much-travelled M23 currently resides in the museum at McLaren’s headquarters at Woking in the UK.

Photocredit: Pinterest


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