Vehicle sales numbers released by NAAMSA today provide a more realistic snapshot of market conditions with 2013 well on its way. February sales were up just 882 units on the same month last year with a total of 53 220 new vehicles delivered for the month.
“The new year had a bumper start with some growth in January in what many considered an overheated, or at least distorted market performance,” says Malcolm Gauld, GMSA’s Vice President Vehicle Sales, Service, and Marketing. “February delivered an expected cooling of market conditions that brought with it a more realistic view of current trading conditions.
“February 2013 showed an increase of just 882 units in total sales compared the previous year, an improvement of 1,6%. This brought the year-on-year growth back to 7,5%, a figure closer to most expectations of industry commentators but perhaps still on the high side of what we can expect at year-end.
“An encouraging aspect for the month was the relatively strong demand for light commercial vehicles with sales up 4,7% on February 2012 and a healthy 11,5% year to date. This market sector will continue to be driven by intense marketing support linked to new product arrivals. A key player here will be the exciting new Isuzu KB that will debut later this month. The Chevrolet Utility was a strong performer as segment leader in the Sub-1 Ton LCV segment with 1 484 deliveries for the month.
“By comparison, the passenger vehicle market grew by just 0,8% with sales of 36 666 new cars during February (304 units up on Feb 2012). Amongst passenger vehicles the new Chevrolet Trailblazer continued to establish itself in the medium sized SUV sector with 281 sales for the month.
“Private buyers were the dominant channel in February accounting for 82% of all sales compared to only 74% for January.
“The trend of buying down to smaller vehicles with lower total operating costs – an area where our Chevrolet brand is particularly strong – continues and is likely to be fed by spiralling fuel costs and secondary motoring cost inputs are also expected to build during the year. That said, the outlook for moderate growth in the motor industry to year-end remains on track although this may trend towards the lower limit of current forecasts.”