Brandon Cohen, Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), commends South Africa’s franchised motor dealers for their new vehicle sales performance amidst exceptionally challenging market conditions in March.

Retail dealers, the majority of whom are NADA members, demonstrated extraordinary resilience by achieving sales of 39,016 units, comprising 88.2% of the total sales volume of 44,237 for the month. This achievement, bolstered by robust sales incentive programmes and the introduction of new models, underscores the strength of these businesses and the dedication of their workforce.

The remaining sales were distributed among the vehicle rental industry (6%), government (3.5%), and industry corporate fleets (2.3%).

Cohen provided insights on the latest new vehicle sales figures released by naamsa | The Automotive Business Council on April 2. “March witnessed a decrease of 11.7% from the 50,114 vehicles sold in March 2023. Furthermore, the export of built-up vehicles experienced a decline of 27.1%, with 24,162 units exported in March 2024 compared to 33,136 in the previous year.”

“March presented additional challenges with three public holidays, disrupting operations for both dealers and manufacturers. This period coincided with school holidays, further impacting consumer behaviour. Additionally, as March marked the fiscal year-end for many companies, purchasing decisions were influenced by budgetary considerations, resulting in varied trading patterns,” said Cohen.

Although the sector is under strain, year-to-date Heavy Commercial Vehicles and Buses increased sales volumes compared to last year. Looking further afield, the holding of interest rates for the fifth consecutive time by the SARB and the announcement that e-Tolls would be “switched off” at midnight on the 11th of April are green shoots that hopefully will start to turn sentiment slightly more positive.

“Despite the challenges faced in March, the consistent resilience and adaptability demonstrated by South Africa’s franchised motor dealers are indicative of their enduring strength in navigating dynamic market conditions. While the month marked a continuation of declining retail vehicle sales, insights suggest promising fiscal performances for several industry stakeholders. As we move forward, our focus remains on building momentum and driving growth within the retail automotive sector,” concluded the Chairperson.

NADA is a constituent association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).