New Vehicle Sales – March 2018

A total of 1,142 new vehicles were sold in March, a 9.9% m/m increase from the 1,039 vehicles sold in February. This is, however, 18.7% lower than the 1,404 new vehicles sold in March 2017. Year-to-date 3,061 vehicles have been sold of which 1,456 were passenger vehicles, 1,491 light commercial vehicles, and 114 medium and heavy commercial vehicles. This is a 11.4% decline in the total number of new vehicles sold during the first quarter of 2018 when compared to 2017. On a twelve-month cumulative basis, vehicle sales continue to wane with a total of 12,809 new vehicles sold as at March 2018, representing a contraction of 18.6% from the 15,742 sold over the comparable period a year ago.

A total of 517 new passenger vehicles were sold during March, increasing by a slight 0.8% m/m. From a year on year perspective however, March new passenger vehicle sales were 25.5% lower than the 694 units sold in March 2017.  On a rolling 12-month basis, passenger vehicle sales are at their lowest level since January 2012.

625 Commercial vehicles were sold in March, representing an increase of 18.8% m/m, but a contraction of 12.0% y/y. 576 light commercial vehicles, 14 medium commercial vehicles, and 35 heavy commercial vehicles were sold in March. On a year-on-year basis, light commercial sales have declined by 11.4%, medium commercial sales contracted by a substantial 36.4%, and heavy and extra heavy sales have declined by 7.9%. On a twelve-month cumulative basis light commercial vehicle sales continue to be depressed, contracting 20.1% y/y, while medium commercial vehicle sales contracted by 2.1% y/y and heavy commercial vehicle sales was flat on a year-on-year basis.

Toyota continues to lead the market for new passenger vehicle sales in 2018 with 37.2% of the passenger vehicle market followed by Volkswagen with a 28.2% share. They were followed by Hyundai and Mercedes, each with a 5.1% share, 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 57.6% market share with Nissan in second place with a 16.0% share. Ford and Isuzu claimed 7.7% and 6.6%, respectively, of the number of light commercial vehicles sold in the first quarter of 2018. In the heavy category, Scania have thus far sold 14 heavy or extra heavy vehicles, while Mercedes and Volvo Trucks have sold 13 vehicles each this year.

The Bottom Line

Cumulative new vehicle sales continued its declining trend in February and it seems this trend will continue well into 2018. Lower government spending, specifically on capital assets, continues to have a direct effect on the number of vehicles sold. The Bank of Namibia’s announcement last week that the MPC has decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.75% means that consumers and businesses are not provided with slight cost of debt relief, and coupled with tighter credit controls introduced in March last year means that the demand for vehicle finance will in all likelihood remain limited. The continued slowdown in commercial vehicle sales remains worrisome as it is an indication of lower capital expenditure by corporates and lower business confidence in general.

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