Used Vehicle Sales Plunge, Dragging South Africa’s Motor Trade Down

Used Cars
  1. Motor trade sales in South Africa decreased by 1.5% year-on-year in February 2023, with used vehicle sales experiencing the largest decline at 11.4%.
  2. In the three months ended February 2023, motor trade sales decreased by 0.7% compared to the same period in 2022, primarily due to the drop in used vehicle sales.
  3. New vehicle sales emerged as the largest positive contributor, increasing by 7.6% and contributing 1.8 percentage points, but were not enough to offset the overall decline in motor trade sales.

According to a recent publication by Stats SA, motor trade sales in South Africa experienced a decrease of 1.5% year-on-year in February 2023 when measured in real terms (constant 2019 prices). The report revealed several areas of negative growth, with used vehicle sales witnessing the largest decline at 11.4%, followed by convenience store sales at 8.0% and workshop income at 4.5%.

Used vehicle sales played a significant role in the overall decline, contributing a negative 2.5 percentage points. However, when compared month-on-month, seasonally adjusted motor trade sales increased by 1.2% in February 2023, following declines of 0.6% in January 2023 and 0.1% in December 2022. Despite the month-on-month increase, seasonally adjusted motor trade sales decreased by 1.0% in the three months ended February 2023 compared to the previous three months.

Motor trade sales experienced a 0.7% decrease in the three months ended February 2023 when compared with the same period in 2022. The primary factor for this decline was the decrease in used vehicle sales, which plummeted by 11.2% and contributed -2.4 percentage points.

On a positive note, new vehicle sales emerged as the largest positive contributor to motor trade sales, increasing by 7.6% and contributing 1.8 percentage points. However, this growth was not enough to offset the overall decline in motor trade sales.

The downturn in used vehicle sales and other sectors of the motor trade industry may reflect shifts in consumer preferences and economic conditions. Industry stakeholders will likely be closely monitoring these trends in order to adapt their strategies and respond to the changing market landscape.

Table 1: Motor Trade Sales Key Findings, February 2023

CategoryGrowth RateContribution to Decrease
Used Vehicle Sales-11.4%-2.5 percentage points
Convenience Store Sales-8.0%
Workshop Income-4.5%
Overall Motor Trade Sales-1.5%
Caption: Table 1 presents the negative growth rates for various categories and their contribution to the overall decrease in motor trade sales.

Table 2: Motor Trade Sales Comparisons

PeriodMotor Trade SalesUsed Vehicle SalesNew Vehicle Sales
February 2023 vs. February 2022 (YoY)-1.5%-11.4%7.6%
February 2023 vs. January 2023 (MoM)1.2%
Three months ended February 2023 vs. 2022-0.7%-11.2%
Caption: Table 2 highlights motor trade sales comparisons between different periods, as well as the performance of used and new vehicle sales.
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