Reflecting on the new vehicle sales statistics for the month of January 2021, naamsa said that the gradual monthly recovery in the domestic new vehicle sales volumes continued during the month but that the decline, compared with the pre-COVID-19 first month of 2020, was in line with industry expectations.

The January 2021 the exports sales number at 22 771 units represented a noteworthy increase of 6 468 vehicles or 39,7% compared to the 16 303 vehicles exported in January 2020. The current upward momentum in vehicle exports bodes well for a much-improved performance this year compared to 2020.

For the first quarter of 2021 trading conditions in the new vehicle market are expected to remain challenging due to slow demand compared with the pre-COVID-19 first quarter comparison, exchange rate volatility and the negative impact on household expenditure by fuel and electricity price increases.

However, considering the close correlation between new-vehicle sales and the country’s GDP growth rate, the Reserve Bank’s forecast of a domestic economic growth rate of 3,6% for 2021 presents a favourable scenario for a sound rebound of the new vehicle market in 2021, from the exceptional low base in 2020. 

Vehicle export numbers have been regaining momentum but in terms of a recovery much will depend on an improvement in the economic climate of the South African automotive industry’s main trading partners.

Download the full NAAMSA media release below as well as the January 2021 Industry New Vehicle Sales.