New Vehicle Sales – December 2017

835 New vehicles were sold in December, a decrease of 18.9% m/m and 20.6% y/y. Year-to-date 13,202 new vehicles have been sold, a 20.1% decrease from December last year, the lowest annual vehicle sales figure since 2011. New vehicle sales are now down 41.7% from their peak, reflecting the pressures on corporates, individuals, as well as government in the recessionary environment that Namibia finds itself in. While the figures above are likely to change over the next few months as the data improves, it is unlikely that much upward revision can be expected.

A total of 373 new passenger vehicles were sold during December, down 7.9% m/m and 11.6% y/y. Year-to-date passenger vehicle sales rose to 5,590, reflecting lower annual sales than the preceding five years and a 18.8% decline from December 2016. Passenger vehicle sales have slowed dramatically as a result of tighter credit conditions, depressed government expenditure and low consumer confidence in the current economic climate. On a rolling 12-month basis new passenger vehicle sales were down 43.1% from the peak in April 2015.

Commercial vehicle sales declined to 462 units, a 26.0% m/m, and 26.6% y/y contraction. Year-to-date commercial vehicles sales are down 21.1%, and down 40.7% from the peak. For December, 402 light commercial vehicles, 11 medium commercial vehicles, and 49 heavy commercial vehicles were sold. On a year to date basis light commercial sales have declined by 22.3%, medium commercial sales are down 13.9% and heavy and extra heavy sales have decreased by 1.5%.

Toyota continued to lead the market for new vehicle sales in 2017 with 35.8% of the passenger vehicle market followed by Volkswagen with a 24.8% share. Toyota also remained the leader in the light commercial vehicle space with a 49.9% market share with Nissan in second place with a 16.8% share. In the medium commercial section of the market Hino led the pack with a 35.9% market share followed by Iveco at 25.1%. The heavy and extra heavy category was dominated by Scania with 36.3% of new vehicle sales.

The Bottom Line

Cumulative new vehicle sales fell to the lowest level in five years on a rolling 12-month basis. This is a consequence of the recessionary environment we find ourselves in, characterised by depressed business and consumer confidence, as well as lower government spending. Tighter credit conditions and indebted consumers further hampered new vehicle sales. The continued slowdown in commercial vehicle sales remains worrisome as this is an indication of lower capital expenditure by corporates and lower business confidence in general. While vehicle sales may not drop much further, a rapid recovery in these metrics will only be seen once government resumes normal expenditure patterns and business confidence improves. While the latter may have bottomed out, there is still great uncertainty regarding the former.

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