JOHANNESBURG – South Africa new-vehicle sales totaled 50,056 units in June, a 12.1% decline from year-ago’s 56,927, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa reports.

New-car sales fell 19.1% to 30,839 units from like-2006’s 38,115. Compared with May new-car deliveries of 31,497 units, June’s decline was a relatively modest 2.1%.

NAAMSA Director Nico Vermeulen says the downturn was due to a number of factors, including higher interest rates and rising fuel prices.

Sales of new light-commercial vehicles, pickup trucks and minibuses tallied 15,853 units, a 1.0% uptick from prior-year’s 15,692.

Medium-duty truck sales grew 5.8% to 1,385 units from year-ago, while deliveries of heavy-duty trucks and buses increased 9.3% to 1,979.

New-vehicle export sales fell 1.2% to 13,022 units from 13,180 in like-2006. Export sales for the year’s first six months showed only a marginal improvement.

For the rest of the year, Vermeulen says the automotive sector will continue to be influenced by interest rates, new-vehicle pricing and the overall momentum of the South African economy.

“The new-car market could show further consolidation over the short term,” he says. “However, new commercial-vehicle sales should continue to receive support from infrastructural development spending and construction activity.”