The latest data from the National Automobile Association (Naamsa) shows that the new vehicle market declined by 3.5% during December 2021.

The new passenger car market and light commercial vehicle market reflected a mixed performance.

Sales of light commercial vehicles declined, medium commercial vehicles increased year-on-year by 17. 5% while heavy commercial vehicles and buses were marginally down.

Naamsa says despite the challenges the sector faced during the year, the overall performance is satisfactory.

The automobile sector had to deal with many challenges which include global supply chain disruptions, insufficient model availability, load-shedding, escalating logistics cost, and other domestic shocks.

The association says fortunately the industry dodged the bullets of the July Civil unrest, the cyber-attack on Transnet and the three-week strike in the steel industry. It says this and record fuel prices and interest rate increases did not affect sales as much.

Renewed activity in the vehicle rental industry, supported passenger car sales during the second half of the year. This, as the country’s economy started to open up to overseas visitors. This was also boosted by export sales that ended the year on a positive note recording a 19.4% increase.

In 2022, Naamsa expects the COVID-19 pandemic to have a significant impact on the economy and the industry. It says increasing interest rates and fuel prices will impact household budgets which may impact their vehicle affordability.