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The Automotive Business Council has paid a special tribute to all South African workers, and in particular to more than 33,000 men and women within the vehicle manufacturing hubs, more than 83,000 workers within the auto component sector, plus more than a million other workers across the entire auto value chain in South Africa.
“We celebrated Workers Day on May 01, and we want to take this time to pause and say thank you to all those workers who continue to make our industry proud every day,” said Mikel Mabasa, naamsa CEO. For every single job on the OEM’s factory floor, there is a multiplier effect of 14 jobs for both the upstream and downstream of the automotive value chain, totalling over 460,000 highly skilled and direct jobs across the auto sector.
The South African workforce has remained committed and serves as a bedrock of the automotive manufacturing, with resilience that has thrived through a century of existence covering diverse technological iteration from internal combustion engine [ICE] to future technologies like New Energy Vehicles [NEVs], charging infrastructure expansion and the production of new battery technologies.
In releasing the April 2023 new vehicle statistics, naamsa notes the continued constraints as a result of ongoing subdued economic conditions. The International Monetary Fund [IMF] announced that SA’s real GDP growth is expected to decelerate sharply to 0,1% for 2023, citing load-shedding, amongst other related supply shocks. These observed economic turbulences and the record high headline inflation are likely to trigger a further SARB Monetary Policy Committee interest rates hike in May 2023. For this reason, naamsa expects the domestic vehicle market to remain reserved for the greater part of 2023.
Noting the importance of domestic investment to enhance economic growth and generate full and productive employment for the country, the automotive industry pledged substantial investments to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 5th SA Investment Conference in April 2023, with specific focus on renewal energy projects, vehicle production, infrastructure and industrial zone developments.
Aggregate domestic new vehicle sales in April 2023, at 37,107 units reflected a decline of 88 vehicle units, or 0,2%, from the 37,195 vehicles sold in April last year. Overall, out of the total reported industry sales of 37,107 vehicles, an estimated 33,492 units, or 90,3%, represented dealer sales, an estimated 5,2% represented sales to the vehicle rental industry, 2,8% to industry corporate fleets, and 1,7% sales to government.
On the segmentation side, the April 2023 new passenger car market at 24,174 units had registered a decline of 1,561 cars, or a loss of 6,1%, compared to the 25,735 new cars sold in April 2023. The car dealer accounted for the largest segmentation pool of passenger cars at 21,528 units or 89,1%, with car rental, individual corporate fleets and government sales accounting for 6,2%; 3,1%; and 1,7% respectively.
Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini-buses at 10,611 units during April 2023 had recorded an increase of 1,049 units, or a gain of 11,0%, from the 9,562 light commercial vehicles sold during April 2022. Medium commercial sales were recorded at 563 units, which is an increase of 95 units or 20,3%, compared to April 2022.
Heavy commercial segments also reflected a positive performance during the month, recorded at 1,759 units, which reflects an increase of 329 units, or 23,0% compared to the previous month last year.
For the year-to-date vehicle statistics, the domestic vehicle sales for YTD April 2023, at 175,678 units, recorded an increase of 2,291 units, or 1,3% compared to the same period last year. In terms of the month-on-month comparison, April 2023 increased by 13,007 units or 26,0% compared to 45,198 new vehicle sales units recorded for March 2023. Export sales recorded an increase of 3,639 units, or 13,4%, to 37,107 units for April 2023 compared to the 27,117 vehicle exports recorded for the corresponding period last year. The year-to-date vehicle exports at 115,567 units, reflected an 87 units or 0,1% marginal increment compared to April 2022, recorded at 115,480 units. The month-on-month export sales reflected a decline of 2,380 units or 7,18% for April 2023 at 30,756 units, compared to the 33,136 export vehicle units recorded for March 2023.