January saw a welcome improvement in sales of light commercial vehicles. This segment is up by 20% versus January last year with 13 346 vehicles sold compared to the 11 120 last year. GMSA showed growth of 39,3% here, largely attributable to the popularity of the Chevrolet Utility. The Isuzu KB also sold in excess of 1 350 units as we eagerly await the arrival of the 6th Generation Isuzu next month.
Motor vehicle sales statistics for January came in with higher than expected volumes to start the new year. The 55 007 sales reported are up by 14,1% (6 800 units) on January 2012 with some anomalies evident.
“The new year has certainly got off to a bumper start with surprisingly high sales,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President, Vehicle Sales Service and Marketing. “A welcome start to the year but we remain cautious about the sustainability of any high level of growth over the next 11 months. It is our view that growth will be constrained by economic conservatism through the year with demand levelling out and single digit growth the real prospect by year-end.
“A key driver of sales in January was increased demand by the vehicle rental industry. Sales to this market channel were up by 51,4% over January 2012 in a marked change in the normal seasonal buying pattern as purchases were brought forward into January. We anticipate that demand in this sector will average out over the coming months.
Passenger vehicle sales show an increase of 12,3% over January 2012. Overall sales through the dealer channel are up by 11,4%, which would indicate continued support from private buyers.
Within the GMSA model line-up the Chevrolet Cruze featured as the number ten best seller with 551 sales supported by the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Sonic, all just outside of the top ten listing. The all-new Trailblazer continues to establish itself in the market after its launch towards the end of last year with 297 sales for January. In the light commercial segment the Chevrolet Utility continues as a popular choice with 1 528 deliveries for the month.
We expect that sales will be supported by new model activity through the first quarter with a number of new and revised passenger models entering the market. Major focus will however be on the light commercial sector through March, led by the introduction of the latest 6th Generation Isuzu KB