The South African premium new-car market will probably decline by around 20% in 2020, says BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa (BMW SA) CEO Tim Abbott.
Although he expects a slight improvement in the second half of the year from the first half, “we don’t see a recovery better than that”.
Abbott expects the overall South African new-car market to do somewhat better than the premium segment, with parts of the country returning to showroom floors, such as the Free State, where good rains have buoyed the farming community.
Export from BMW SA will be down by around 20 000 units in 2020, he adds.
BMW SA is currently running a two-shift operation at its Rosslyn plant, in Tshwane.
“That is sufficient,” says Abbott.
“One of our big markets, the UK, only just started going back into retail operations.
“The UK has two demand surges, one in March and one in September, and we missed March completely. But the figures coming through for June are pretty strong for the UK – stronger than we expected.
“What we still don’t know is if this is built-up demand because of the several weeks of closure, or if it is ongoing demand,” says Abbott.
“We also think the UK is going to get caught up with Brexit again once Covid-19 goes, so that will be the next big thing.
“France and Spain are down, but all indications are that they are beginning to bounce back a bit better than we expected.
“As normality returns we’ll see how demand goes. We are a very flexible organisation, so let’s see what the second half of the year brings.”
Abbott notes that the South African supply chain has been “very robust”.
“We had more of a supply issue with other continents. Take Mexico, for example –that supply chain did get going till end of May as they were on lockdown.”