Petrol price put a big dent on car sales last year

Leseja Mokgata

Leseja Mokgata

Vehicle sales last year declined compared to the previous year, and car makers globally have blamed rising fuel prices for the drop.

New car sales dropped to 380000 from record levels of 426000 in 2006, when interest rates were 4percent lower than they are now.

Total vehicle sales went down to 617000 from just under 650000 in 2006.

Ford Motor Company's 9percent slide in sales led the knock in sales experienced by most car manufacturers.

Peter Noke, national director of the South African Petroleum Retailers Association, said: "If you look at the way the petrol price has increased from 2005, you will find it quite shocking."

The price for 93 octane petrol has more than doubled from R2 in January 2005 to R4,40 per litre at the end of last year. But, petrol price hikes were not the only factor in decreasing car sales.

Noke said: "The interest rate hikes and the National Credit Act were the biggest dampeners."