Car makers continue to prosper as vehicle sales fall

Don Robertson

Don Robertson

New vehicle sales are continuing to decline, but motor manufacturers are not that concerned as rising export sales of fully built-up cars are keeping them afloat.

In the first four months of the year, new car sales were down 15,4percent and light commercials by 6,5percent.

Medium and heavy commercials were 27,7percent better.

Without the push from infrastructure projects and exports, the slide could threaten jobs in an industry that employs close to 260000 people in car and component manufacture.

Motor manufacturers, however, are benefitting from increased exports of vehicles.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa reported this week that in the first four months of this year exports had increased by 45,5percent.

Toyota expects to export 147000 Corollas and Hilux vehicles this year to various countries, while Ford exports well over 200000 engines a year and this week announced that it had been awarded a contract to export the Ford Ranger bakkie to the rest of Africa. It is expected that 10000 Rangers will be exported this year, 24000 next year and 40000 by 2010, taking its export programme up to 60000 units a year.