NAAMSA vehicle sales statistics for December reflect 46 016 new vehicle deliveries for the month, an increase of 1.8% on December 2011. This brought total sales for the year to 623 914 units, up 9.2% on 2011.
“The motor industry went into 2012 facing two psychological break points in terms of growth targets for the year,” says Malcolm Gauld GMSA’s Vice President Sales and Marketing “The first was the volume challenge of 620 000 units for the year and which was realised with the release of the December numbers taking the total for the year to 623 914.
“The second was the possibility of double digit growth, a goal that seemed destined to be easily exceeded going into the third quarter but was hampered by a drop-off in sales, particularly in the light commercial sector, during the last three months of the year. The passenger vehicle market performed well above the ten percent growth benchmark for most of the time ending the year 11.3% up. However, the light commercial sector lagged – impacted by a crisis of confidence amongst commercial buyers which saw the LCV sector decline by 13.1% month on month December 2012 vs 2011. Growth in this sector for the year was inhibited to just 4.6%, but was still a welcome plus for the industry.”
“For the GM franchise in South Africa 2012 was an exciting year which saw the expansion of both the Chevrolet and Opel brands with the introduction of a number of exciting vehicles. The image building Astra GTC and the Meriva MPV boosted interest in the Opel brand while the main events for Chevrolet were the introduction of the Trailblazer SUV and the Cruze Hatch. The Chevrolet Utility continued its leadership in the competitive sub-1 ton market segment to once again end the year as the top selling vehicle in its class. GMSA ended 2012 with total sales of 69 968 vehicles and a full year market share of 11.2%.
“Looking ahead through 2013 the GM franchise once again has a lot to offer South African vehicle buyers starting off with the introduction of the most powerful Astra yet from Opel, the new Astra OPC, which is set to raise the stakes in the performance car sector with its 206kW/400 Nm power-plant. This exciting hot hatch is due in the market in February. The all-new Isuzu 1-ton pick-up range is set to transform our LCV line-up with significant styling and technology improvements over the existing Isuzu KB range towards the end of the first quarter.
“There has been a marked shift in buying patterns towards smaller vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark in recent times. GMSA is unique in this market as the only manufacturer to produce a vehicle in this class locally. We will take advantage of the flexibility that this gives us to add value and contemporary styling to the Spark with a significant update due in the early part of the year.
“Our forecast going into the new year is for a virtually flat market. The buying down trend in the passenger market will continue as vehicle operating costs continue to come under pressure and buyers look for overall cost efficiencies.
“It is probable that there will be some consolidation in the passenger vehicle market with private buyers perhaps retreating a bit. This trend will likely be countered by a renewal of buyer interest and activity in the light commercial sector – no ground shaking trend expected but rather a reversal of the downward trend seen in the last quarter of 2012. Whilst the past year has produced welcome growth in the industry contrary to global trends, the coming year the focus will be on preventing any erosion of that growth.”
STORY BY GENERAL MOTORS