The digital easy

With only five lines of data to input and an instant response, the new WesBank digital finance application being launched at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami turns car buying into the digital easy.

WesBank will be launching its new digital journey at this year’s event under the theme ‘Fastest Finance Ever’. One of the components of this journey is the digital application that provides consumers with a quick and seamless method of applying for vehicle finance, comprising only five required data fields and providing an immediate outcome with further financial guidance on their application.

“We are excited to introduce our new digital journey at the Festival of Motoring, as well as our renewed three-year agreement of the largest and most prestigious motoring event of its kind in South Africa”, says WesBank Head of Motor, Ghana Msibi.

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Ghana Msibi

“Our new online application will revolutionise how consumers apply for vehicle finance, as well as how dealers interact with customers during the car buying journey. This is by far the fastest finance offered by WesBank, allowing for quality leads for our valued dealers and an increase in business prospects for our OEMs.”

The Festival of Motoring caters for both those who see cars as a practical solution for their transport needs and the more passionate crowd who want their vehicles to support their lifestyles and interests. The event is loaded with fun activations including kids’ zones, a braai area, and much more, making it a perfect family outing.

Visitors can expect an interactive showcase of both active and static content including supercars, classic cars and historic and modern motorsport activations, with a range of brand-new cars being showcased. They can also engage with leading industry-related aftermarket and accessory companies, as well as WesBank at its stand inside the Galleria.

 

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Car sales under pressure

With the impending R1,30 a litre petrol price increase due into play at midnight tonight (April 03), it is little wonder South African car buyers have been holding back on purchases – the petrol price, the falling Rand, increased taxes and general economic malaise a heavy burden to bear.

The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) said the declining trend in new vehicle market since the beginning of the year continued into March 2019, although the lower passenger car sales had again been offset by fairly strong commercial vehicle sales numbers.

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NAAMSA confirmed aggregate domestic sales at 47 718 units declined by 1 512 units or 3,1% from the 49 230 vehicles sold in March last year. Export sales again registered strong growth reflecting a substantial improvement of 7 135 vehicles or a gain of 23,7% compared to the 30 161 vehicles exported in March last year.

Overall, out of the total reported Industry sales of 47 718 vehicles, an estimated 41 235 units or 86,4% represented dealer sales, an estimated 6,6% represented sales to the vehicle rental Industry, 4,3% to government and 2,7% to industry corporate fleets.

The March 2019 new passenger car market registered a decline of 1 805 cars or a drop of of 5,6% compared to the 32 153 new cars sold in March last year. The car rental Industry’s contribution accounted for 8,8% of new car sales in March 2019.

“The weakening Rand and overall shadow of possible ratings agency downgrades did not help March new vehicle sales as consumer and business confidence continued to come under pressure.

“Household budgets also continue to take strain as a result, directly impacting demand for new vehicles as motorists continue to hold onto their vehicles for longer,” says Ghana Msibi, WesBank Executive Head of Motor.

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“Additional fuel price increases in April will continue to contribute to this burden, as will the continued impact and threat of load shedding.

“At least interest rates remained unchanged, providing some small form of relief for consumers,” says Msibi.

“WesBank data shows a slowly shifting trend away from fixed rate deals – good finance practice in a low-interest rate environment – towards linked deals, although linked deals remain the majority. With interest rates unlikely to decline in the short term, the opportunity to fix rates in your finance contract remains.”

Domestic sales of new light commercial vehicles, bakkies and mini buses at 14 994 units during March 2019 recorded an improvement of 275 units or a gain of 1,9% from the 14 719 light commercial vehicles sold during the corresponding month last year.

NAAMSA expected the light commercial vehicle market to continue to register growth over the medium term although sales in the medium and heavy truck segments of the industry had a mixed performance and at 775 units and 1 601 units, respectively, reflected a gain of 45 vehicles or an improvement of 6,2%, in the case of medium commercial vehicles, and, in the case of heavy trucks and buses, a decline of 27 vehicles or a fall of 1,7% compared to the corresponding month last year.

The March 2019 export sales number represented another admirable performance with export sales at 37 296 vehicles reflecting a substantial increase of 7 135 units or a gain of 23,7% compared to the 30 161 vehicles exported in the same month last year.

The momentum of vehicle exports over the course of 2019 should increase further and industry export sales for the year could reach close to 400 000 units compared to the record 351 139 vehicles exported last year.

Msibi remains optimistic for the market’s performance in the second half.

“While sobering, the market picture is not all doom and gloom, nor unexpected. We forecast first half sales to be slow with a better-performing second half,” he says.

“The market will remain under pressure during April, which will be impacted by public holidays and resultant fewer selling days, as well as a wait-and-see mentality heading up to elections in May.”

“The new vehicle market continues to perform within our expectations of a downward trend, as consumers find themselves increasingly under pressure,” commented Mark Dommisse, Chairperson of the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in South Africa.

“Many dealer principals within the NADA network have commented on noticeably slower foot traffic on showroom floors. This is clearly a sign of economic pressures on household budgets.

“The commercial vehicle market is showing encouraging signs of stability, which bodes well heading into the elections next month, especially considering the challenges being faced by the industry and economy. It appears that this segment of the market will continue to perform at these levels.”

Longer arms, shorter pockets

Every motorist, business or personal, has felt the impact of runaway fuel prices and the VAT increase – but just how much more are we paying?

The average costs of motoring have increased by approximately R940 a month, or 14% in the last year, and 31% since 2013 according to the latest data from WesBank.

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Despite prevailing interest rates remaining at low levels and favourable vehicle price inflation, the rising cost of petrol and an increase in VAT from 14% to 15% have resulted in higher overall costs when looking at the total monthly cost of motoring. Vehicle instalments and fuel spend remain the biggest components, accounting for 80% of monthly mobility spend.

These costs are reflected by the WesBank Mobility Calculator, a tool the bank uses to track and calculate historic motoring costs. The total mobility basket comprises all fees that are involved with vehicle ownership: a monthly instalment, the insurance premium, fuel and maintenance.

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Over time, these costs are updated to reflect prevalent inflation rates and fuel prices, with the sample vehicle price based on an average entry-level car that travels approximately 2 500 km a month.

“The past year has been a rollercoaster ride with drastic fuel price fluctuations making it difficult for consumers to keep track of monthly budgets,” says Ghana Msibi, Executive Head of Sales and Marketing, WesBank. “As a rule, we generally advise motorists to allow some breathing room in their budgets to help absorb these changing costs.”

WesBank’s data also indicates the change in vehicle price inflation for new vehicles has had a favourable effect on purchase prices. In July this year, WesBank’s average new vehicle financed deal was only 1,43% higher than the same time last year at R307 445, while the average used vehicle finance deal is 6,9% higher than that of last year at R216 309.

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“International oil prices and local exchange rates continue to play a direct role in the monthly budgets for motorists, in both fuel and vehicle prices,” says Msibi. “Although manufacturers are offering attractive marketing incentives to lure customers into dealerships, consumers still have to spend more on vehicles, fuel, insurance and maintenance than ever before.”

WesBank Mobility Basket % Split

Petrolheads delight

August will see the return of the WesBank-backed Festival of Motoring to Kyalami with organisers claiming additional involvement from automakers for this year’s event that starts on August 31.

With additional automotive brands already confirmed, visitors can again expect even more new car launches, latest model displays, supercars on track and an engaging 4 x 4 area. With the focus on interactive experiences, self-drive activities will now be available on each of the show days at the centrally located Kyalami Handling Track.

Various new models can be driven on the 1,1 km test track. Some additional features to look forward to this year include double the amount of OEM pit door displays, improved and varied catering areas, a wine garden, dedicated kid’s area and air displays.

High quality and varied content, both on and off track, will entertain show visitors. National championship motor sport will feature at FoM for the first time.

The Sasol GTC Championship and Investchem Formula 1600 Series will race in official championship rounds.

An interactive pit area, with full public access, will bring cars and drivers closer to race fans. Modern GT race cars and a selection of quality historic race cars will be located in a new pit lane behind the main pit building.

Historic motorsport content will include a tribute to cars of endurance racing, all with iconic liveries. The Pablo Clark Ferrari Challenge will have a dedicated pit and provide action on track with a selection of racing Ferraris.

Motor sport legends will once again be honored at FoM and Sarel van der Merwe will act as the Grand Marshall of the event.

“I am proud to be associated with this prestigious event held at such an iconic venue” said the multiple SA champion.

Fifty modern road going supercars can be seen both in a dedicated pit area and on track during the three show days, while Classic cars will once again be a major drawcard with a focus on a selection of 15 quality cars making up the ‘Best of the Best’ display.

Classic car clubs will also once again feature in a dedicated area. A display of cars celebrating the evolution of the automobile will showcase cars with a unique South African story.

A new focus on future technology will showcase the latest trends and innovations in the motor industry. Two retail areas will exhibit the motoring aftermarket, conversion and other specialist industries. The indoor retail area located in the lower pit complex with the outdoor area located on the upper platform.

General Access tickets for the event are available at www.itickets.co.za. Tickets will be available at the gate.

 

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