South Africa's New Car Sales in April Dented By Spate of Public Holidays


New car sales in South Africa fell by 17.6% in April compared with March, the Automotive Business Council said on Monday. Compared with April of last year, they soared over 6,000%, but that is not a useful comparison.

In April, 35,779 new vehicles were sold in South Africa, compared with 43,428 in March, the Automotive Business Council said in a statement. That was a decline of 17.6%. Vehicle exports fell more sharply by 32.2% compared with March to 26,522 units.

The council said this was largely attributable to April's spate of public holidays - three in total. The four-day Easter long weekend probably also meant few people were visiting dealerships on that Saturday. South Africa's relative fondness for public holidays does have economic consequences, both good (for the tourism and Easter egg sectors in this case) and bad (for things like car sales and overall productivity).

"Renewed activity in the rental market, interest rates remaining at their low levels, the easing of the lockdown restrictions, as well as all five subcomponents of the Absa Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) being in positive terrain for the first time since early 2012, will support business and consumer sentiment and subsequently the new vehicle...

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