While local sales weren't great, South Africa saw a record breaking 56% jump in vehicle exports in December 2018, compared to the same month in 2017.
According to data from the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the official body representing new vehicle manufacturers, 31,437 vehicles left South Africa. That is compared to just 20,107 vehicles exported during December 2017.
Naamsa release monthly data on vehicles from major importers and distributors of new vehicles as well as local manufacturers and assemblers.
“South Africa exports to almost 149 different countries. Europe has by far remained South Africa’s main export market, with close to 52%, about 190,000 of some 350,000 passenger and light vehicles moving to Europe,” said Norman Lamprecht, executive manager at Naamsa.
According to Naamsa tracking, the United Kingdom followed by Japan and then the United States are the traditional destinations for most of SA's exported vehicles, although Germany trumps all three when measured by the value of exports.
The “Big 5” exporters (BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, and VW) aided by a few others in much smaller volumes, delivered 351,154 locally assembled vehicles to foreign owners in 2018, according to numbers tracked by Wheels24.
This is more than half the total domestic sales for 2018, indicating manufacturers are cashing in on the weakness of the rand while the local economy struggles.
Total automotive revenue in South Africa amounted to over R500 billion in 2017, with exports of automotive products accounting for R164.9 billion – equating to 13,9% of South Africa's total exports.
52.1% of this was with the European Union, SA's biggest vehicle export market.
“In terms of trucks and buses we sell about 20,000 locally and overseas. Of this our main export is to SADC countries under the free trade agreements, with about 1,000 a year," said Lamprecht.
While SA's export market in this category is relatively small, it sold 19,579 in comparison to 2017’s 18,382.
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