Bucking the trend in June’s new vehicle sales results, a stand-out Suzuki Auto South Africa surprised the market with both a full post-lockdown sales recovery and record dealer sales.
Suzuki’s robust performance emerged despite challenging market conditions in the first month of trading after lockdown regulations were eased and generally soft June 2020 new vehicle sales.
‘Stellar’ June sales performance
Swiftly announcing what it described as a “stellar sales performance in June” on Thursday 2 July, a buoyant Suzuki Auto said its sales figures for the first full month of post-lockdown sales had returned to pre-lockdown levels.
In addition, the company – which last year celebrated its 10th year in the South Africa market – reported that its dealer network had broken all of its existing records.
Furthermore, and citing the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa) June report, Suzuki reported a leap “up the sales charts by selling 1 433 units, with all but one unit sold through the dealer network”.
Praise for Suzuki Auto dealer network
“This not only ranks Suzuki seventh overall in the sales rankings, but gives it a 4.49% share of the total vehicle market and a 7.17% share of the passenger vehicle market,” said divisional manager for sales and marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa divisional manager for sales and marketing André Venter.
He credited Suzuki Auto’s national dealer network for the work it put into reopening its sales floors, while simultaneously meeting all requisite sanitation and safety requirements.
Pent-up demand for quality affordable vehicles
“Their rapid action allowed us to meet the pent-up demand for good quality, affordable vehicles, such as our new S-Presso and popular Swift,” commented Venter, adding that the S-Presso had performed particularly well, attracting 555 unit sales.
He attributed the success of the model to its pricing, design, market fit and appropriate sales incentives.
Interestingly, Venter also revealed that demand for the compact SUV in June had materialised despite that Suzuki had cancelled its in-person launch programme and instead had launched the model digitally shortly before the start of South Africa’s national lockdown.
Other Suzuki models which attracted demand after sales restarted, included the Swift, with sales of 297 units, the Ignis with 86 units and the Jimny 4×4 , of which 249 units found new homes.
“While the entire automotive market has not recovered in step with Suzuki, it is heartening to see a return of general sales activity,” said Venter, pointing to the total industry sales of 31 867 vehicles in June.
June’s total reflects a significant improvement on the 12 874 vehicles sold in May 2020 and remains well below the 45 953 units sold in June 2019 and it is a full 105 054 vehicles fewer than in the first six months of last year.
Glimmer of hope for auto industry
“It was impossible to predict the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown or to fully gauge its impact on dealer health, but based on June’s sales it looks like there is a glimmer of hope for the auto industry.
“We will support our dealers as they continue to trade under difficult circumstances and will fully support the industry, which remains a very significant investor and employer in South Africa,” said Venter.
He said Suzuki Auto, which also enjoyed a strong 2019 sales year, hoped to maintain the brand’s momentum by moving into new corporate offices, with adjacent parts storage in Johannesburg, as soon as it was safe to do so.