The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of
South Africa said in a statement released on Wednesday that the automotive
industry, which contributes 6.9% to GDP, has recorded an almost 30% decline in
vehicle sales this March compared to the same month last year.

The industry saw a 29.7% decline in sales from 2019, having
decreased by 14 150 units year-on-year to 33 545.

This is largely due to “the recent developments around
the coronavirus and challenging economic conditions in the country”, said
the statement.  

The start of the national 21-day lockdown, declared by
President Cyril Ramaphosa from March 26 to April 16, impacted the March 2020
results as three days were lost, causing a decline in both domestic and export
sales.

Export sales saw a 21.5% decline (7 905 units) year-on-year.
  

Naamsa said South Africa was facing an “unprecedented”
struggle, as countries all over the world faced similar challenges as lockdown
strategies were implemented.  

“The automotive industry across the world is currently
experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the global lockdowns implemented
across all major auto manufacturing countries and cities to flatten the Covid-19
curve,” it said.

Helping hand

Despite the steep decline in sales, the automotive industry
is joining forces to fight the pandemic locally and globally.

Collectively, we are working with our
respective governments to support our country’s essential services, such as
offering factories to produce ventilators and other medical equipment urgently
required to fight against Covid-19,” Naamsa said.

Further discussion by the Naamsa executive council is
expected, to brainstorm ways in which the automotive industry help
“flatten the curve” or slow the rate of infection.   


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