PRETORIA, South Africa — The South African motor industry continues to defy surrounding market indicators as it continued to grow 7,5% to the strongest retail month in six years.
Price increases across the board, record high fuel prices, a weak Rand, and creeping inflation did little to curb market demand for new vehicles during July. According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), July sales closed at 58,140 units, indicating that 2013 will become the second or third best on record.
Ford continued to capitalise on the growth, out-performing the market by more than four times as it secured its second month this year of double digit market share. Ford sales are up 29% year-to-date and 33% year-on-year.
“Retail demand for new vehicles remains incredibly strong, while the rental market has begun offering rewards for big fleet deals,” said Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa General Manager Marketing and Sales, Rob Crouse. “Government sales have been softer due to delays and these are still expected to come on stream from August, which bodes well for potential future growth for the remainder of the year.”
The rental market was boosted by the start of replacement programmes and increased 24,9% on an already very strong June, representing a 37% increase year over year. This attracted Ford Figo into the mix to a particularly strong month of 1,313 cars.
But it was Ranger, Kuga and Fiesta that really created buzz. Fiesta enjoyed its best month since August 2010 with strong demand for its accessible diesel model and turbocharged EcoBoost derivatives attracting more than a third of sales. Ford’s turbocharged EcoBoost technology also helped Kuga remain the class-leading seller.
“EcoBoost’s success lies in its answer to global trends to move away from large capacity, multi-cylinder engines to more efficient, economical and clean powerplants,” says Crouse. “Ford’s turbocharged engines deliver many of the benefits diesel customers are looking for with the attraction of the perceived cleanliness and refinement of petrol engines.”
While the passenger car market increased 6,4% over July last year, Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) rose 9,2%. Ford’s Silverton plant ran efficiently to supply record numbers of Ranger yet again as demand for the one-tonner continues. Ranger remains the second-best selling LCV, even out-selling the popular half-tonners.
“The South African new vehicle market continues to defy the economic environment,” said Crouse. “The July daily sales rate is 3% up on the same month last year, meaning that 2,528 new vehicles were bought every day last month. That the industry is closing in on the hey days leading up to 2006 is testament to its strength and robustness and confidence consumers are enjoying currently – albeit in contrast to supporting economic indicators.”