By Daniel Itai, Johannesburg, South Africa
Some of the major stakeholders in the automobile industry have expressed optimism in the prospects of the sector despite the current COVID-19 pandemic which has since left many of the country’s sectors in shambles.
“The demand for second-hand vehicles has sharply increased. There is a 26 percent decline in new car demand but that doesn’t really mean that the overall market is struggling.
Moreso, in the beginning of the lockdown people were relatively buying low cost vehicles but now people are now buying those high cost vehicles, we pretty much back to those pre lockdown market sales,” said George Mienie, CEO of Auto Trader, the largest digital automotive place in South Africa.
Moreover, Mike Mabasa, CEO of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), said they were now manufacturing cars based on orders to curb losses.
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“We are still manufacturing cars in the country. We have seven automobile multinational companies in South Africa, and we are operating at 100 percent.
60 percent of the cars we manufacture are for exports. We have started manufacturing cars based on orders to avoid manufacturing cars that are not going to be used in the market. We are carefully managing our supply and demand curve,” said Mabasa.
However, Layton Beard, spokesperson of the Automobile Association, said there was now need for government to invest more in public transport due to the current economic woes that the country is currently facing.
“The current economic situation in South Africa is making people to keep their cars a little bit longer. There is also a need for government to investigate the public transport sector and tax cuts. Regardless, the demand for vehicles will not diminish,” said Beard.