Americans into rallycross

Rallycross is picking up the pace in drawing new competitors and teams, the latest being Volkswagen and it returns to competition this year in partnership with the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team in the newly launched Americas Rallycross series.

The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team will continue to campaign the Beetle Supercars that have earned the team multiple championships over the past four years. Drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust hope to add to their previous success in this exciting new series.

The season begins May 25-27 in Silverstone, England, at the brand-new Silverstone Rallycross circuit during the Speedmachine Festival. The Americas Rallycross opener will be held in conjunction with the British round of the 2018 World Rallycross Championship (WRX).

“I’m excited to compete with ARX,” says Scott Speed, driver of the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle. “The competition is going to be tough, but our Beetles are ready. I think this new series will be a great place to push our team and the cars in 2018.”

Tanner Foust is ready to return to the world stage at Silverstone, having won races in the 2011 and 2012 European Rallycross Championship, the first American to do so.

“Having World Rallycross expand its reach to the US is going to make the competition so much more accessible for fans to better understand the sport,” says the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle driver. “ARX will be a great platform to find new fans and spread the word about rallycross.”

The pair will continue to race in the Beetle Rallycross vehicles, which are built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Europe. The cars have been updated to improve their handling characteristics, but will race with the same 2,0-liter turbo-charged engines that propelled the team to success in 2017.

“Our team has been able to achieve great success in rallycross and we look forward to continuing that legacy with the new ARX competition,” says Michael Andretti, CEO Andretti Autosport. “Scott and Tanner are some of the finest drivers on the planet in this motorsport discipline, and our cars are ready and better than ever.”

For information on the livestream of the first round of the 2018 Americas Rallycross on CBSsports.com on May 25, visit www.arxrallycross.com.

After Silverstone, the series will continue with three events:

  • July TBD, Austin, TX – Circuit of the Americas
  • August 4-5, Trois Rivieres, Canada
  • September 29, Austin, TX – Circuit of the America

South Africa hosts the final Round of the World Rallycross Championship in November at the Killarney circuit in Cape Town.

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All eyes on Killarney

Following a very dramatic opening round at Kyalami, the Sasol GTC circus heads to Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town this weekend for round two – hoping it will be a less bruising encounter.

The Sasol GTC Racing Team workshop has been a hive of activity as the team prepares to defend and grow championship leader, Gennaro Bonafede’s points gap.

Bonafede, behind the wheel of his BMW GTC racing car has a five point lead over Simon Moss (Audi) after the opening race where he claimed one victory and a second place finish.

kill2

“I expect the other guys, especially Michael Stephen, to come back strongly,” Bonafede predicts. “I had tremendous pace at Kyalami, so I am confident of a good performance as I have traditionally done well at Killarney.

“I claimed my first GTC victory and started last season with a double win, which makes Killarney a special race track for me.  Given the new power we have, it will be like driving on a new track.  The fast back straight will be ‘hair raising moment’ as we are likely to top 250 km/h before hitting the bumpy braking zone into Cape Town Corner.

“Cape Town race fans can look forward to some great racing and I hope to be right at the front of it. I doubt it will be a two-horse race as the Volkswagen team has benefitted from significant improvements and will be fielding two highly competitive race cars. Johan Fourie is always a threat at his home track, so I expect any us to be racing for podium honours. The front of the grid is going to be a very busy place!”

Robert Wolk will have his work cut out for him after his Sasol GTC racing car required a complete rebuild after Kyalami, following a massive accident that saw the driver experience in excess of 4G.

“It was a big one,” admitted Wolk, who walked away unharmed. “The team has worked day and night to rebuild my car. I am really looking forward to a competitive car which will give me the edge to challenge for the lead as I did at round one. I enjoy racing at Killarney in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic motorsport fans and hope to put on a good show for them.”

Volkswagen Motorsport heads to Killarney confident the learnings from Kyalami and the hours of subsequent preparation will ensure that both the Jetta GTC’s and the Golf GTI GTC2’s are race ready for a competitive outing at  the famous Western Cape track.

The opening round of the series at Kyalami last month demonstrated the raw speed inherent in Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe’s Jettas as Hodges raced to a superb second place in the first race while Rowe clawed his way back from the tail of the field after being knocked into a spin by a rival.

The Volkswagen Golf GTi duo also set the timesheets alight when the current GTC2 champion Keagan Masters drove into the distance while newcomer Adrian Wood showed strong race performance.

Hodges feels he has one of the best cars in the field and is excited to be challenging for wins at the front of the field.

“I think we opened quite a few people’s eyes at Kyalami with our pace. I expect to be as fast  in Cape Town as I was at Kyalami although Killarney poses its own challenges with several fast sweeps and big braking zones. The track is quite bumpy so the team and I will work on our set-up to suit the circuit’s unique characteristics.  Qualifying is a game-changer in terms of how your day progresses so that’s another key area we will be focusing  on”.

Rowe is really excited to race the new specification Jetta GTC at one of his favourite tracks: “I reckon we could nudge the 250 km/h mark down the back straight which will be quite interesting.  Over the years I have learned how to avoid the worst of the bumps, especially under braking for Cape Town corner. My confidence is high after experiencing how competitive our car  is and while everyone is out to win –  myself included –  I am hoping for a weekend where we are racing at the front and a pair of podium finishes would be the cherry on top”.

Keagan Masters ably demonstrated why he is the GTC2 champion after a polished drive at Kyalami and relishes the prospect of continuing his form at the tricky Cape Town track where he estimates the new slick tyres will shave around 1,5 seconds off his lap times.

“It will be like going to a new track”, Masters says. “The extreme grip from the tyres means I can carry more speed into the corners and get on the power earlier. The key will be finding a comfortable set-up during free practice and then maximising my car’s performance. Although Killarney is not my favourite  track, I am excited to be racing there with a clear goal of taking at least one win to get back to the top of the leader board.”

Signature Motorsport is brimful of confidence and the season got off to a great start for the Ferodo-backed MINI John Cooper Works after Brad Liebenberg took a win and second place at Kyalami last month.

Kill1.jpg

Although not blessed with the best of luck at Killarney, Brad rates the circuit as his favourite in the country.

“Killarney has a great mix of very fast and technical sections which really brings out a driver’s skill,” says Brad. “The Cape Town crowd is usually the biggest we have anywhere in the country and the MINI team resonates with them; we enjoy great fan support.”

Devin Robertson’s debut in the Champion MINI John Cooper Works did not go quite as planned at Kyalami after technical difficulties but he says: “Killarney has been good to me in the past and I have many fond memories of racing there. The circuit demands a high level of commitment and I know winning won’t be easy but I will give my best as ever and hope the fans enjoy the racing.”

 

 

Multi-row Tiguan launches

First shown as a concept at the Detroit Show in 2016, the 7-seat addition to the Tiguan range, now available locally, answers the need for a practical seven-seat family car with plenty of high-tech touches.

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is longer and taller than the five-seat Tiguan and a more upmarket alternative to the likes of the seven-seater Skoda Kodiaq (not available in SA) and Nissan X-Trail – reflected in the pricing that kicks of a R463 000 and rises to R604 800.

There are loads of soft-touch plastics, glossy metal-effect trims and soft-close cubbies, but sadly its design will not get your pulse racing.

The Tiguan Allspace has a longer wheelbase with design modifications in the front (new hood and radiator grille) and an expanded range of standard equipment.

Tiguan Allspace vehicles are also all equipped with granite grey underbody protection as standard. The roof itself has also been redesigned with structural lines used for the first time instead of a smooth roof surface – in homage to classic SUVs.

It is also available in on-road and off-road versions. Both the Tiguan NWB and the Tiguan Allspace can be ordered with an optional ‘off-road package’ together with special engine underbody protection that extends to the bumper for off-road driving.

The longer body significantly alters the side proportions of the Tiguan Allspace. The wheelbase is 110 mm longer and now measures 2 791 mm. The vehicle’s total length has increased by 215 mm to 4 701 mm, which make the Tiguan Allspace a space giant among SUVs of its class.

It offers an extra 60 mm of knee room for rear passengers and an additional 115 litres of cargo volume. There is a 230 litre boot behind the third row. Fold the third row seats flat and the boot space increases to 700 litres, fold the second row flat and you have 1 775 litres of boot space – however, this does fall short of some comparable SUV boot sizes.

The vehicle can be ordered with an Active Info Display (fully digital instruments) and a Head-up Display. In addition to that, three different infotainment systems are available. As standard, Trendline and Comfortline models are fitted with the Composition Colour infotainment system. The Composition Media system is available as an option (standard on Highline).

In addition, Volkswagen is also offering the Discover Pro navigation system.

With driver assistance systems such as ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) with Front Assist (including City Emergency Braking function), the NWB Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace offer semi-automated driving features.

The Allspace is available in three trim lines –  Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. The entry Trendline has a 1.4 TSI 110 kW engine and offers LED daytime running lights, Light and Visibility Package (Auto dimming mirror, rain sensor and auto headlight control and High Beam Assist), chrome trapezoidal panels for exhaust system tailpipes and privacy glass on rear and side windows.

Tiguan Allspace Comfortline is available in 2.0 TSI 132kW 4MOTION or 2.0 TDI 110kW 4MOTION variants, gaining and electrically opening and closing tailgate, ED headlights with dynamic cornering lights and Hill Descent Assist.

The top-of-the-range model is the Tiguan Allspace Highline configured with the 2.0 TSI 162 kW engine with 4MOTION. Even on the NWB Tiguan, the Highline features already include 18-inch alloy wheels, a silver front spoiler, silver roof rails, LED headlights with dynamic cornering lights, ambient lighting and Composition Media infotainment.

Over and above this, the Tiguan Allspace Highline has keyless access (locking and starting system), Easy Open sensor controlled boot opener and App-Connect and Voice Control.

The 2.0 TDI with 110 kW power output is the only engine of the diesel range. The four-cylinder diesel engine has 340 Nm of torque that is available between 1 750 r/min and 3 000 r/min. The combined fuel consumption is 6,6 l/100 km and is vailable with a 7-speed DSG transmission.

As an alternative to the Off-road package, the R-Line package is available as an option on Comfortline and Highline models. It features a lowered sports suspension with uniquely shaped body-coloured front and rear bumpers, gloss black front air intakes and body-coloured side skirts.

Distinctive styling includes 19 inch ‘Sebring’ alloy wheels on Comfortline or 20 inch ‘Suzuka‘ alloy wheels on Highline. Sporty refinement continues with the inclusion of a black rooflining in the interior.

Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)

1.4 TSI 110kW Trendline DSG R463 400

2.0 TSI 132kW Comfortline 4MOTION DSG R523 800

2.0 TDI 110kW Comfortline 4MOTION DSG R571 100

2.0 TSI 162kW Highline 4MOTION DSG R604 800

The new Tiguan Allspace comes standard with a 5 year/90 000 km Service Plan, 3 year/120 000 km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15 000 km.

Cry of the Woolf

Jeffreys Bay surfer Kai Woolf made the Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro presented by Billabong all her own at the weekend, winning both the women’s and junior women’s titles, while David van Zyl (Glenashley) won the men’s event and Dillon Hendricks, also from Jeffreys Bay, captured the junior men’s crown.

The first of 13 events on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Africa regional tour, the Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro featured Qualifying Series (QS) events for men and women alongside Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) events for men and women aged 18-and-under.

Woolf, 16, was unbeatable in the beach break conditions, winning every heat she contested in both events while racking up double digit heat scores with her impressive repertoire of high performance manoeuvres.

In the QS 1000 women’s event, the teenager defeated reigning WSL Africa champion Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) in the one-on-one final, catching two waves early in the final and delivering scores of 6,25 and 7,25 (each out of 10). A howling SW ‘wind that sprang up midway through the heat altered the lineup significantly and Pallet was left the near impossible task of finding an excellent 8,50 in the deteriorating conditions.

Earlier Woolf was equally dominating in the four-person JQS 1000 women’s final. She again posted her best scores early in the encounter to leave Sophie Bell (Salt Rock), the 2017 WSL Africa junior women’s champ, requiring a solid 7,0 when the siren sounded to end the heat. Anna Jellema-Butler (Cape Town) and Olivia Izzard (La Lucia) took third and fourth places respectively.

Van Zyl justified his top seeding for the QS 1500 men’s event in PE and was in a class of his own, averaging heat scores of 13,56 (out of 20) during his first event of the year. Ranked No. 67 on the QS at the end of 2017, and No. 2 on the WSL Africa leaderboard, van Zyl narrowly overcame Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) in their quarter-final duel and posted an outstanding 8,75 to pip Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) in their semi clash.

In the final van Zyl opened his account against Adin Masencamp (Strand) with a well ridden 7.50 and surfed with power and flow to consistently add to his total in the testing conditions. He earned three scores in the six-point range before a 7,0 closed the door on his opponent hopes and saw van Zyl pocket the R40 000 winner’s cheque and 1 500 precious ranking points.

Masencamp, in his rookie season in the open ranks following a stellar junior career, had a confidence-boosting run in the event, but could not match van Zyl’s finesse in the final.

The 18-year-old from the Strand defeated Australian Ty Watson in the quarters and then 2017 Ballito Pro Trials winner Richard Kidd (Ballito) in the semis to set up his first man-on-man QS final in South Africa.

Hendricks, 17, came into the event seeded outside the top 10 but cut a path through his more fancied opponents to earn his first JQS title. He outpointed Daniel Emslie (East London) and Luke Slijpen (Hout Bay)  to reach the final where he relegated multiple event winner Max Elkington (Kommetjie) to the runner-up spot by the narrowest of margins.

Both surfers scored heat totals of 13,50 out of 20, but Hendricks got the nod thanks to a highest single score of 7,75, which he earned on a mid break wave where he belted the lip multiple times. Elkington’s best of 7,50 was enough to see finish ahead of Koby Oberholzer (Warner Beach) and Bryce du Preez (East London) who had to settle for third and fourth places respectively.

The Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro, which is also the first of five events on the 2018 City Surf Series , enjoyed great conditions for Saturday and Sunday before experiencing four seasons in eight hours on the final day.

Alongside the red hot surfing action, Surfing South Africa, the national controlling body for the sport, ran activities coordinated by SSA Development Officer, Danielle Powis, designed to foster and encourage surfing among young people, regardless of their background. Other onsite activities included a kids’ ‘Trash to Treasure’ craft section, a group Clean-the-Beach activity and a plastic awareness talk.

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Big money up for grabs

The 2018 surfing calendar in South Africa has been firmed up with the confirmation Volkswagen South Africa is continuing the headline sponsorship of the City Surf Series with more than R1-Million in prize money up for grabs in the race to Nelson Mandela Bay.

“For us, getting involved with the City Surf Series was a no-brainer as the Volkswagen brand has been associated with surfing for many years with surfers using their camper vans and Kombi’s to go on surfing tournaments,” says Matt Gennrich, General Manager for Group Communications.

The second edition of the City Surf Series (CSS) will see six events, culminating in the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing presented by Hurley, taking place in different cities along South Africa’s coastline from March to June.

Each of the CSS events will feature Qualifying Series (QS) rated men’s, women’s junior men’s and junior women’s competitions, Surfing South Africa (SSA) longboard men and women and Stand-up Paddling (SUP) men and women’s categories.

A major change from last year’s series is the upgrading of the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing women’s event to a QS3000, making it the biggest women’s QS in Africa. The Nelson Mandela Bay Pro men’s event has also been upgraded to a QS1500.

“Another exciting addition is the launch of a new event, the Port Alfred Classic, which will feature men’s and women’s QS Longboard events with the two disciplines also added to the Volkswagen SA of Surfing presented by Hurley,” says Johnny Bakker, Surfing South Africa president.

“As Nelson Mandela Bay is the home of Volkswagen, we are also proud that the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing has relocated from Durban to Nelson Mandela Bay,” added Gennrich.

The Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing events being hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay are expected to bring in an estimated 4 000 to 6 000 visitors and an R18-million cash injection for the city.

Not only will the CSS events support the local economy, all events will give back to the community and environment by incorporating Learn to Surf Initiatives as well as Community Clean-the-Beach programmes.

In the 2017 edition of the CSS, more than 300 previously disadvantaged children across the five events were taught to surf.

2018 City Surf Series Event Schedule:

  • Volkswagen Nelson Mandela Bay Surf pres. by Billabong: 30 March to 2 April
  • Royal St Andrews Port Alfred Classic pres. by Quiksilver (Inaugural event): 6 to 8 April
  • Mitchum Buffalo City Surf Pro pres. by Reef Wetsuits: 13 to 15 April
  • ZigZag Durban Surf Pro pres. by G-Force: 18 to 20 May
  • Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres. by O’Neil: 14 to17 June
  • Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing pres. by Hurley: 19 to 24 June

 

Rwanda a go for VWSA

Volkswagen South Africa’s previously announced plans for an operation in Rwanda kicked into high gear in the capital, Kigali, today with the formal registration of the company Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda.

This means the roll out of Volkswagen’s integrated automotive mobility solution, a first for the Volkswagen Group, under the auspices of Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA), which is responsible for the Sub Saharan African Region.

Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, says: “In December 2016 Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to conduct a detailed study to develop a business case for Volkswagen to introduce an integrated automotive mobility concept in Rwanda, which would be a first for Volkswagen worldwide.

“Our studies are complete and we believe we have a business case that will work and we are now ready to commence with the implementation of our plans for Rwanda. In short after today there is no going back, we are now fully committed to implementing our unique integrated automotive mobility solution in Rwanda together with Rwandans.”

VWSA chose Rwanda as the country in Africa to study the feasibility of an integrated automotive mobility solution for the following reasons:-

  • There is political stability and zero tolerance for corruption
  • There is dynamic economic growth of some 7% per annum
  • There is a young and tech savvy population
  • Rwanda is a leader in innovation and technology
  • Volkswagen have received strong support for our plans from Government and had great cooperation and support from the RDB
  • There is a real need for modern mobility solutions
  • Kigali is spearheading the smart city agenda

Volkswagen will adopt a phased approach in the implementation of the integrated automotive mobility solution and the first phase will focus on:

  • Establishing a local Mobility Services company
  • Oversee the establishment of a Volkswagen manufacturing and sales entity
  • Set up a vehicle assembly operation
  • Establish a sales and service structure
  • Set up a training centre
  • Offer the new mobility solution

“The production facility will have an initial annual installed capacity of up to 5 000 units, with 2018 being our start-up year. The Volkswagen product portfolio will initially include the Hatchback Polo, the Passat, a sedan and possibly the Teramont, a large SUV,” says Schaefer.

Volkswagen will run the production and retail operations, which will include the importation of other Volkswagen models to be sold on the Rwandan market.

The current business plan assumes employment of between 500 and 1 000 people in Kigali in phase one for Mobility Solutions admin, production, training, sales and service and the drivers..

A Rwandan software development start-up company Awesomity Lab has been appointed to develop the mobility App. Volkswagen is also in negotiation with other potential Rwandan suppliers.

The first service to be offered will be community car sharing, which will launch in quarter two, with around 150 vehicles in service within a few months. This will be followed by a ride hailing service with some initial 150 vehicles planned in the medium term still in 2018.

In 2019 public car sharing with some initial 250 cars planned will be launched and this will be followed by a shuttle service and lastly a peer to peer car sharing service is envisaged.  These numbers are based on assumed market demand, as such an innovative integrated mobility solution is a first for the automotive industry.

All the mobility services will be accessed by the custom developed App through which all bookings and payment will be made. Services will also be able to be booked online or via a hotline to cater for people who do not have a smartphone.

Some US $20-million (R246-million) will be spent in Rwanda by VWSA during phase one of the integrated automotive mobility solutions.

“We are delighted with the progress that has been made since we signed the MOU with Volkswagen in 2016. We are ready to partner with Volkswagen as they implement their integrated automotive mobility solutions as well as vehicle assembly operation in Rwanda.

“Our country is determined to become the leading innovator in Africa.  This project is in line with Rwanda’s policies to protect the environment, create jobs, and reduce our trade deficit. We are confident that this partnership will help create countless opportunities for young Rwandans not only in terms of employment but also in terms of skills transfer,” says Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the RDB.

Slight improvement

For the first time in four years total vehicle sales in South Africa for the year have gone up with 2017 showing a 1,8% percent improvement over 2016.

The new vehicle industry ended 2017 on a positive note, according to the annual sales data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).  Despite December 2017’s year-on-year sales declining 2,4%, the year-to-date new car sales for 2017 still grew 1,8%. In total, 557 586 new vehicles were sold in South Africa during 2017.

“The new vehicle market’s positive performance for the last year was almost exactly in line with our forecast of 1.74% growth,” says Rudolf Mahoney, Head of Brand and Communications, WesBank. “This can be attributed to the Rand being resilient in the face of volatility and the South African economy performing better than anticipated. However, the economy is still underperforming and faces a long road to recovery.”

In the second half of 2017, OEMs were able to stave off price increases as the Rand firmed against foreign currencies. This allowed manufacturers to pass value back to consumers through very attractive marketing incentives when purchasing new vehicles.

WesBank’s data for 2017 also reflected the continued shift back to the new vehicle market, especially when measuring demand through the number of vehicle finance applications received. Demand for new vehicles rose 6,4% in December, while demand for used vehicles slowed 0,2%. Overall, demand for new vehicles grew 3% in 2017, while demand for used vehicles declined 1,5%.

Since the introduction of the Polo and Polo Vivo in 2010, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has been passenger market leader every year. The Volkswagen Group ended the year with 80 308  sales giving VWSA a total market share of 21,8%, with the Volkswagen brand achieving 18,9% share in a run out year of its volume models.

“The Polo Vivo and Polo remained the first and second best-selling passenger cars in 2017, which is also for the seventh consecutive year – this is an incredible achievement for the Volkswagen brand considering that we effectively ran out of supply in December of the key models which is illustrated by the unusually low 14,8% market share we achieved in December,” says VWSA Chairman and Managing Director Thomas Schaefer.

“I am delighted by the performance of both the Volkswagen and Audi brands in 2017 and know that we will do even better in 2018”,

Volkswagen will be launching the new Polo later this month which will be followed by the Polo Vivo still in this quarter.

According to Naamsa, export sales recorded a decline in December, 2017 and at 17 374 units reflected a fall of 1 333 vehicles or 7,1% compared to the 18 707 vehicles exported during December, 2016.  This was largely attributable to the effect of model run out and new model introduction of the new VW Polo range in 2018.

Annual aggregate annual industry sales by sector, since 2014, were as follows –

 

Sector

 

2014 2015 2016 2017 2017 / 2016

% Change

Cars 438 938 412 478 361 264 368 068 +1.9%
Light Commercials 173 492 174 701 159 283 163 346 +2.6%
Medium Commercials 10 780 10 394 8 315 7 785 -6.4%
Heavy Trucks,  Buses 20 534 20 075 18 685 18 387 -1.6%
Total Vehicles 643 744 617 648 547 547 557 586 1.8%

Source:  Lightstone Auto, NAAMSA

Whilst the modest improvement was welcome, the figures should be seen in the context of industry sales 11 years ago when the domestic market recorded an all-time high sales number of 714 314 units of which the new car market had represented 481 558 vehicles.

2017 Vehicle exports represented the third highest annual Industry export figure on record and total vehicle exports at 329 053 units were down on the 344 820 vehicles exported in 2016 – a decline of 15 767 units or a fall of 4,6%.

2017 Industry export sales data, compared to previous years, were as follows –

  2015 2016 2017 2017 / 2016

% Change

Cars 229 723 238 547 221 928 -7.0%
Light Commercials 103 000 105 219 106 126 +0.9%
Trucks & Buses 1 124 1 054 999 -5.2%
Total Exports 333 847 344 820 329 053 -4.6%

Source:  Lightstone Auto, NAAMSA

South African financial markets have reacted positively to the outcome of the December, 2017 ANC elective conference.  However, economic and fiscal policy uncertainty, political challenges, the risk of further credit rating downgrades and increasing geo-political tensions make forecasting difficult.

On the positive side, several recent economic indicators support the view the South African economy is performing better than anticipated despite low levels of business and consumer confidence.  Barring a further credit rating downgrade, an improvement in economic growth from about 1,0% in 2017 to around 1,9% in 2018 remains possible and this would lend support to new vehicle sales in the domestic market.

The substantial improvement in the Reserve Bank’s leading indicator of economic activity heralds improved economic prospects. Also on an encouraging note, the positive global economic environment – with International Monetary Fund projections of 3,7% global expansion – will lend support to industry export sales.

Faster economic growth remains an imperative to address South Africa’s socio-economic challenges and to take pressure off strained public finances and overburdened taxpayers.  In this context, concerted steps are needed by Business, Government and Labour to create a more investor-friendly environment as a means of boosting growth.

NAAMSA anticipates further modest improvement in domestic new vehicle sales during 2018 as well as further growth in vehicle exports and industry production numbers.

The outlook for 2018 in terms of Industry domestic vehicle sales by sector

 

Sector

 

2015 2016 2017 2018 Projected
Cars 412 478 361 264 368 068 375 000
Light Commercials 174 701 159 283 163 346 170 000
Medium Commercials 10 394 8 315 7 785 8 000
Heavy, Extra Heavy, Commercials, Buses 20 075 18 685 18 387 19 000
Total Vehicles 617 648 547 547 557 586 572 000