PRETORIA, South Africa — The new vehicle market ended the first half in good shape, 6,8% ahead of the first six months of 2012, and in line with expectations and broad forecasts of 7%.
But the outlook for the remainder of the year is expected to feature a slightly softer outlook as motorists experience record high fuel prices and the exchange rate continues to slide, creating inevitable price hikes.
“First half sales have performed largely to expectation, but the next six months will display a much more consolidated picture of sales,” says Dr. Azar Jammine, Director and Chief Economist of Econometrix. “The motor industry continues to defy other market indicators with exceptional growth. One of the biggest contributors to this growth has been driven by an emerging middle market that has contributed a large number of additional customers to the industry, effectively amplifying the size of the market.”
Ford continued to forge ahead during the first six months of the year, increasing sales 27,8%, four times the market growth during the same period. The demand has come largely through the dealer channel – indicating strong consumer sentiment for the products – and across the range of existing models and exciting new product introductions.
“Turbo charged EcoBoost models have made an indelible mark on Ford customers and the passenger car market,” said Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa General Manager, Rob Crouse. “Our innovative 1,0-litre motor which has won The International Engine of the Year award for the last two years has attracted immense interest for its combination of outright economy and practical performance available in Fiesta, while the 1,6-litre engine has accounted for significant portions of Fiesta ST and new Kuga sales.”
The Ford Fiesta ST accounted for 184 units of Fiesta sales, 79% ahead of the best previous generation Fiesta ST sales month. In this application the engine has been lauded by independent review for its performance and overall dynamic fun-factor.
“Yet in the Kuga application, turbo charged EcoBoost’s prowess in economy and tractability have brought immense demand for the SUV, so much so that it sold a third more than its closest competitor,” continued Crouse.
Ford sold record numbers of the Kuga during June (585) as demand for the SUV continues to grow. This has been driven by the Ford’s competitive price-point, innovative features, quality and safety.
New vehicle sales ended June on 53,562 units, 3,3% ahead of June last year and marginally down on May. Passenger car sales contributed 3,2% to the growth, while Light Commercial Vehicles grew 2,3%.
“The second half will continue to be a strong one for Ford as we introduce EcoSport to market,” said Crouse. “With the rental market showing a 70% increase so far this year, we also expect to reap some reward from that segment’s replacement demand.”