The automotive sector has recorded a 25 percent decline for the year to date compared to the same time last year.

The automotive industry was in decline even before the COVID-19 crisis, due to environmental concerns and a reduced demand for vehicles as the economy shrunk. The whole industry value chain, from manufacturers to dealerships, had to find innovative ways to stay afloat during lockdown. But motor manufacturer Isuzu spokesperson Denise van Huyssteen says the sector is picking up and they performed better than expected.

“Last month was our best Isuzu Dmax sales in 14 years, on the truck side, out share of the medium and heavy vehicle market is currently tracking at 13 percent year to date, so far we have retained our number one position in this segment of the market and plan to retain this position in 2020. These positive sales performance despite the current downward trend in domestic sales in South African can be attributed to the Isuzu team’s flexibility and resilience to proactively respond to change.”

The drop in new vehicle sales is putting the squeeze on dealerships.

CEO of the National Automobile Association, Mike Mabasa, says smaller players are the hardest hit.

“Our biggest priority now is to be able to assist those particular companies so that they are able to restore their operation fully because most of the restrictions have now been lifted. Secondly, we are also looking at how best we are able to stimulate demand for brand new cars in our country because a lot of people are not buying cars and we will be certainly be talking to government so that we can be able to jointly look at alternatives to that we can really be able to stimulate demand for new vehicles.”