Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

1 February 2013

Namibia: Disappointing End for 2012 Vehicle Sales

Jingle Bells rocked at a minimum during the December period with vehicle sales showing a 20-month low. Sales figures provided by the National Association of Automobile Manufactures of South Africa (NAAMSA) provide an overview of the vehicles bought within Namibia.

These monthly sales figures reflect all sales of all vehicle across manufacturer and model categories. Namibian sales are recorded separately.

December showed a 16% drop in car sales compared to November. November sales recorded a high of 1060 units with December sales only amounting to 887 units. The break down of the sales shows that passenger vehicles sold 419 units, the light commercial vehicle category had a total of 425, medium commercial vehicle sold 18 units and heavy commercial vehicles sold 25 units.

According to Simonis Storm's Securities report "Namibia New Vehicle Sales", December often delivers a meagre sales performance due to seasonal factors. An important indicator can be seen in the total number of commercial vehicles sales, light, medium and heavy, which came to 468 units. This was 24.9% lower than the year's average of 623 units.

Overall, the picture is worrying as the monthly totals for the last four months of 2012, September to December, were lower than monthly sales recorded during the first eight months of 2012.

Light commercial vehicles sales were 24.6% lower in December 2012 compared to December 2011.

Industry experts project that the declining trend in sales figures, which started in September 2012, will continue well into 2013 as a result of general subdued economic activity.

According to Simonis Storm, aggregate new vehicle sales for 2012 came in at 13,692. This was a 10.3% increase over 2011 levels despite the poor performance from September to December. 45.8% of 2012 sales came from passenger vehicles while 47.5% came from light commercial vehicles. 67.1% of all vehicle were sold in Windhoek alone. Simonis Storm said as a result of the low sales in December, their annual forecast for year on year sales, was off by 2%.

The NAAMSA compilation of December sales for Namibia, delves into specifics. It shows that the big sellers for December were the Toyota Hilux and the Volkswagen (VW) Polo Vivo with 160 and 63 units sold respectively. Other big sellers include the Chevrolet Chev Utility and the Ford Ranger each selling 49 and 37 units respectively. VW seems to be the preferred passenger vehicle marque with a total of 188 units sold. Preference for the Subaru seems to have declined over the years with a recorded sale of 1 unit. Among the popular German cars, Mercedes leads the pack with a total of 24 units sold, the most popular type being the Mercedes C class with 11 units. Audi took second position with 8 units, and BMW had a particularly poor month with only 3 units leaving the showroom.

In the heavy vehicle category, the Scania R-series sold 3 units in December.

In general, Volkswagen and Toyota had the lion's share of the market, together claiming 56% of passenger vehicle sales for the year.

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