The automotive industry across the world is currently experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the global lockdowns implemented across all major auto manufacturing countries and cities to flatten the COVID-19 curve. South Africa is not an exception and the local automotive industry supports all measures announced recently by President Cyril RAMAPHOSA during the implementation of the country’s 21-day lockdown.

Export sales at 28 883 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 last year. 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.

Overall, 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, 5,8% to government, and 4,4% to industry corporate fleets. The March 2020 new passenger car market had registered a sizeable decline of 8 139 cars or a fall of 26,8% to 22 200 units compared to the 30 339 new cars sold in March last year. The car rental Industry’s contribution accounted for 8,4% of new car sales in March 2020.

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. 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.

The performance of exports would remain a function of the performance and direction of global markets. The fall in global vehicle demand as a result of restrictions on consumer movement would become clearer in the industry’s export sales over the short term.

Download the full NAAMSA media press release below as well as the March 2020 Industry New Vehicle Sales.