April new vehicle sales were effectively dormant as South Africa endured its first full-month of lockdown.
With dealerships closed, businesses forced to work remotely and endure their own commercial challenges, and consumers stuck at home, traffic was at all-time low, never mind sales.
While little real insight can be drawn from April new vehicle sales, the market recorded a volume total of 574 units, down 98.4% according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).
Of that, 105 units were passenger cars and 318 were light commercial vehicles, impacting the year-to-date volumes of those segments downwards to 28.1% and 38.5% respectively. The industry total is 32.1% down year-to-date.
The motor industry has been significantly impacted over the past two months. It will have learnt and adapted just as the rest of the world has, and as this pandemic emerges, there is nothing to define what the right or wrong way is to deal with it. But it will be eager to return to operation, whether manufacturing or retail.
Manufacturers will be looking for renewed consumer demand before returning to full production capacity, however. This fine balancing act will rely on dealerships resuming activity, a relatively easy adaption for them to achieve social distancing protocols on showroom floors and across the buyer journey. Consumers and businesses alike will also be faced with the practical need for vehicle maintenance and parts as well as vehicle sales.