Toyota South Africa Motors maintained a strong sales pace in April 2014, despite the shortened sales month, in which the number of public holidays curtailed retail activity and slowed the production of popular locally produced vehicles.
In April 2014, Toyota delivered 8 828 passenger and commercial vehicles to customers, which, in a total market of 46 013 vehicles, represents a market share of 19.2% or nearly one in every five South African vehicle purchases. Tellingly Toyota has grown its market share over the past two years amidst increasing pressure and slowing vehicle sales growth, while comparative Toyota sales remained relatively stable in the general sales decline in the year to date.
“We are used to a short sales month in April, but this year it felt even shorter as many potential vehicle buyers extended their break to stretch across several public holidays. We believe many of those sales were pulled forward into March, which was a relatively good month and we will closely watch May to see if it benefitted from any postponed vehicle purchases of April,” says Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors.
Despite the holidays the vehicle market growth appears to have showed signs of slowing down.
Hamman explains that the holidays are a convenient excuse for the fewer visits to the showroom noticed by all car brands, but that the size of the decline in sales growth compared to April 2013 speaks of more substantial economic drivers.
“We considered the above-inflation pressure on disposable income in main vehicle markets, such as e-tolls in Gauteng, and the general consensus amongst market analysts that economic growth will slow down in our estimate of a marginal decline in vehicle sales in 2014,” says Hamman.
A general analysis of vehicle sales in April supports Hamman’s views, as the total market registered a decline of 10.6% from the 51 498 units sold in the same month last year. All major counters declined in comparison to April 2013, with passenger vehicle sales declining by 10.6% to 30 848 units, light commercial vehicle sales dropping by 11.5% to 12 796 units, while medium, heavy and extra-heavy commercial vehicle sales declined by 12.3%, 0.5% and 3.9% respectively.
In similar fashion vehicle exports declined significantly from previous months as many manufacturers scheduled production stoppages across these shorter weeks in order to perform plant maintenance or, in the case of Toyota, prepare the final production line of its fourth fully locally produced model, the Toyota Corolla Quest.
“The Corolla Quest is a unique new South African built vehicle that offers the design and technology of the previous generation Toyota Corolla, but combines that with South African ingenuity to offer a C-segment vehicle at a B-segment price. In mirroring what the Toyota Tazz of the past did in the B segment, to create a sub-B segment (B-segment size at A-segment prices), the Corolla Quest now creates a sub-C segment, offering family sedan proportions at city car prices,” says Hamman.
The Toyota Corolla Quest will reach show room floors in May and will offer very substantial value for money at only ZAR174 900.
In related news Toyota recently announced that the Toyota Corolla returned to the top spot as the world’s best selling car with 1.22 million units sold in 2013, while Toyota, with production of nearly 10 million vehicles globally, was crowned the best-selling vehicle brand in the world.
Toyota South Africa Motors also announced its 1 millionth locally produced Corolla in 2013 and it hopes to bolster local production with the introduction of the Corolla Quest.