Business News 16.3.2017 12:57 pm

Wesbank forecasts car sales growth for 2017

WesBank was confident that South Africa’s economy would see positive but subdued growth going into 2018, says De Kock.

WesBank, one of South Africa’s leading vehicle and asset finance providers, has said it forecasts that 2017 will see minor growth in the new vehicle sales industry.

The past three years saw sales decline, with 2016 sales falling a massive 11.4 percent, based off WesBank’s prediction that sales would tumble 12 percent. For 2017, WesBank said it expected to see overall growth of 1.74 percent.

WesBank chief executive Chris de Kock said the forecast was based on a holistic view of the new vehicle sales market.

This includes considering economic factors such as the strength of the rand, interest rate stability and moderate GDP growth and inflation falling back within the target zone.

“We expect overall sales growth to be driven by government buying, as there are a number of large tenders set to be awarded in the coming months. This will account for 3.29 percent growth in light commercial vehicle sales and help limit the sales decline for commerce vehicles,” De Kock said.

“Additionally, tourism will drive the sales growth in the rental market, which will ensure 1.3 percent growth for passenger car sales.”

De Kock was speaking at the 32nd South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) WesBank South African Car Of The Year awards on Tuesday evening.

The Opel Astra was crowned the winner, while Audi’s A4 and Volkswagen’s Passat were the first and second runners-up, respectively.

De Kock also forecast that dealer sales would remain suppressed, especially in passenger and commercial vehicle segments, despite total industry sales expected to reach 557 000 units for the year, – a 1.74 percent increase on 2016’s sales.

Despite a difficult past 12 months and a challenging year ahead, De Kock said WesBank was confident that South Africa’s economy would see positive but subdued growth going into 2018.

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