Stronger rand boosts car sales

Leseja Mokgata

Leseja Mokgata

Toyota led October's sales race with its models in the top three places. Corolla held its first place while the Yaris jumped passed the VW Polo to second followed by Toyota's Hilux bakkie, which knocked CitiGolf down to sixth position.

October saw overall vehicle sales rebound nearly 9percent from September. Higher interest rates, however, saw sales fall nearly 6percent when compared to October last year, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) statistics released on Friday showed.

Exports were 17228, nearly double the previous month's, which were sharply down due to a widespread strike in the auto industry.

The biggest export was the Toyota Hilux, followed by the BMW 3-Series and VW's A5 model Golfs and Jettas.

Vehicle manufacturers tend to focus on exporting one model to earn import credits under government's Motor Industry Development Programme.

The improvement from September was expected because October has three more selling days. But the uptick was nevertheless better than expected after the Reserve Bank's interest rate increases, Brian Riley, chief executive of vehicle financier Wesbank, said.

Standard Bank said the strengthening rand helped make cars affordable for South Africans despite higher interest rates. When adjusted for inflation, cars are 2,4percent cheaper than a year ago, the bank said.