The quick and effective manner in which South Africa handled the COVID-19 pandemic is now showing economic benefits in terms of increasing new vehicle sales, although year-to-date we are still more than 30% below the sales volume of a
year ago. This is according to Mark Dommisse,chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’Association (NADA), who was speaking on a recent webinar organised by NADA to discuss with its members the question: “Are you ready for 2021?”

“The first two months of 2020 saw retail sales of over 40 000 units a month. Then, in March, the pandemic started to bite, and South Africa went into hard lockdown which impacted sales immediately, with total sales for the month falling to 33 546 units. The heavy blow came in April, when dealerships were closed under lockdown rules. Sales slumped to an all-time low of 574 units,” said Dommisse.

“Slight easing in the trading conditions saw sales rise to 12 874 units in May, but the big jump came with Level 2 in June, when sales reached 31 642 units. There were slight improvements
in July (32 330) and August (33 292), and then a sizeable jump of 12% to 37 403 units under Level 1 in September, which is a better and faster recovery than we had expected a few months ago,” he explained.

“The motor retailers are being given good support by the vehicle finance houses, which is a positive for our recovery, while growth in the spending power of the population’s middle class is also important for vehicle sales and this appears to be happening. “The comparatively strong sales of commercial vehicles are heartening, and this trend should be given a strong push when the proposed infrastructure development projects start kicking in.

Dommisse revealed that transformation is high on the list of action plans for NADA and is being led by the recently appointed national vice chairperson of the organisation, Marcia Mayaba, of Barloworld Motor Retail. He added that NADA would also be actively involved in the transformation drive emanating from Automotive Industry Transformation Fund.

The NADA chairperson emphasised that the organisation was fully aware of the technological changes taking place worldwide which is changing the automotive landscape worldwide and the impact it is having on the way dealers do business.

“We must realise that electric and hybrid cars are rapidly increasing market share in many first world countries and this will have a direct effect on the vehicles being manufactured here in South Africa, which are currently all powered by internal combustion engines using petrol or diesel fuel. “Here we need to think out of the box. One area of local component manufacture where the country is a major player is making catalytic convertors. Possibly, in the future, these manufacturing operations could switch to making batteries for battery- electric or hybrid vehicles as demand for the catalytic convertors drops under the growing pressures to further reduce vehicle emissions. At least a switch such as this could continue to provide work opportunities.

“I have full confidence in our members’ ability to adapt to the changes we are all being forced to make under the new normal, particularly in terms of making far more use of digital methodology, while still maintaining personal relationships with our customer base,” Dommisse concluded. Effective Handling of Pandemic Leads to Faster Recovery in Vehicle Sales Possibly, in the future, manufacturing operations could switch to making batteries for battery- electric or hybrid vehicles as demand for the catalytic convertors drops under the growing pressures to further reduce vehicle emissions. “The motor retailers are being given good support by the vehicle finance houses, which is a positive for our recovery.”
By Roger Houghton - Autolive Issue No. 136 | 29 October 2020

JM_K2_ABOUT_PROJECT

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.