A total of 1,039 new vehicles were sold in February, which represents an 18.1% m/m increase from the 881 sold in January. This is however 10.0% lower than the 1,155 new vehicles sold in February 2017. Two months into 2018, 1,919 new vehicles have been sold of which 939 were passenger vehicles, 915 light commercial and 65 medium and heavy commercial vehicles. This is a 6.3% decline in the total number of new vehicles sold during the first two months of 2018 when compared to 2017. From a rolling 12-month basis the statistics look even worse, a total of 13,071 new vehicles were sold as at February 2018 representing a contraction of 17.7% from the 15,873 sold over the comparable period a year ago.
A total 513 new passenger vehicles were sold during February, taking cue from January’s month on month improvement and increasing by 20.4% m/m. From a year on year perspective however, February 2018 new vehicle sales were 15 units lower than the 528 sold a year ago. The rolling 12-month vehicles sales continue to reflect weakness in the number of passenger vehicles sold, declining 16.3% as at February 2018. For the past 12 months, passenger vehicles have, on average, made up 43.0% of the total number of new vehicles sold.
526 Commercial vehicles were sold in February, representing a 15.9% m/m and 16.1% y/y contraction. 488 light commercial vehicles, 19 medium commercial vehicles, and 19 heavy commercial vehicles were sold in February. On a year on year basis light commercial sales have declined by 15.4%, medium commercial sales contracted 5.0% and heavy and extra heavy sales have declined by a hefty 36.7%.
Year to date Toyota and Volkswagen continue to hold their market share in the passenger vehicle market based on the number of new vehicles sold, claiming 37.0% and 27.0% of the market respectively. They were followed by Mercedes at 5.2% and Ford at 5.0%, while the rest of the passenger vehicle market was shared by several competitors.
Toyota also remained the leader in the light commercial vehicle space with a 58.0% market share with Nissan in second place with a 14.0% share. Ford and Isuzu claimed 7.8% and 6.6%, respectively, of the number of light commercial vehicles sold so far in 2018, swapping places they held for the same period in 2017. In the heavy category, Hino and Mercedes started have thus far sold 7 heavy or extra heavy vehicles each representing 22.0% of the number of heavy commercial vehicles sold this year.
The Bottom Line
Cumulative new vehicle sales continue its downward trend in February, the reduction in government spending does have a direct effect on the demand for new vehicles. Government’s commitment to fiscal consolidation in the current recessionary environment dims prospects for new vehicle sales in 2018. Individuals are purchasing almost as many units as corporates and this is worrying in that corporates are not investing in capital goods, which is an indication of the weakened business confidence carried forward from 2017. Tighter credit controls introduced in March 2017 have limited demand for vehicle finance. Consumers currently account for almost 90% of the private sector credit issuance and are heavily indebted. Given that individuals make up almost half of the total vehicles purchased and with corporates buying less and less vehicles, the slowdown in new vehicle sales is very likely to continue well into 2018.