McCarthy predicts a 11,6% growth in all vehicles sales for 2011, but others are more cautious.
MCCARTHY CEO Brand Pretorius is predicting a bumper year for the South African vehicle market this year.
Mr Pretorius, who steps down next month, said yesterday that McCarthy was forecasting growth of 11,6% in all vehicle sales this year. While conceding that the forecast was “optimistic”, especially in light of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA’s (Naamsa) forecast of 7,5% growth for the year, Mr Pretorius said various positive factors combined to paint a relatively rosy picture for the industry this year .
These included anticipated gross domestic product growth of 3,5%, a very low prime interest rate and a growing number of bank credit approvals . He also expected support from the car rental sector due to increased tourism since the World Cup .
Mr Pretorius said McCarthy expected business and consumer confidence to improve this year, assisted to some extent by the “wealth effect” of a strong JSE.
He said the industry faced challenges in a “brittle” environment , which included the current “age of uncertainty” and the fact that “what happened in 2008 may happen again”.
Mr Pretorius also noted the potential for significant energy price hikes, and that Gauteng’s imminent freeway tolling system would significantly affect disposable income — up to R1300 a month for a commuter travelling between Johannesburg and Pretoria every day. Household debt remained alarmingly high, and Mr Pretorius noted that 9-million McCarthy customers had “impaired credit records”.
He said extended repayment periods for new cars, which have grown from an average of 27 months in 2006 to 45 months in 2010, “takes buyers off the market for longer”.
His comments come after Naamsa released vehicle sales figures for last year, which showed a remarkable 24% growth year on year for all vehicles.
Passenger car sales grew 30,6% in the same period, driven by a slew of new entry-level models, such as the Volkswagen Polo Vivo; by low price inflation; and by attractive repayment options for private buyers.
Notable was the growth by Associated Motor Holdings, which imports the Kia, Hyundai and Chery brands. According to McCarthy’s figures, the company recorded sales growth of 73,7% for passenger cars last year.
Other notable growth in market share was shown by VW and Audi (increased 0,9% to 14,3%). In the same period Toyota, SA’s best-selling automotive brand, lost 2,4% of market share, down to 20,5%.