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South African Vehicle Sales Gain for Second Month in May

June 3 (Bloomberg) -- South African vehicle sales gained for a second month in May as an increase in car and light commercial-vehicle purchases compensated for a decline in truck sales, an industry group said.

Sales rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier to 53,997, the Pretoria-based National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa said in an e-mailed statement today. Growth slowed from 19.5 percent in April.

South Africa’s central bank has kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged at its lowest level in more than 30 years since July last year, to help support growth in Africa’s largest economy. That’s helped buoy vehicle sales, which have grown on an annual basis every month so far this year besides March.

“The outlook for the automotive sector for the balance of the year looks less promising than at the beginning of 2013,” because economic growth will probably slow and emissions taxes on new cars have increased, the industry association said. “The lower interest rate environment should continue to lend some support to the domestic market.”

Passenger-car sales rose 6.3 percent in May from a year earlier to 37,019, while sales of light commercial vehicles, such as pick-up trucks and minivans, climbed 11 percent to 14,301, the association said. Total sales for the first five months of the year of 268,210 vehicles were 7.5 percent higher than for the same period last year, it said.

Exports rose 16.5% in May to 26,325 vehicles, Naamsa said.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold the most vehicles in the local market last month with 10,370, followed by Volkswagen AG with 9,644.

RGT Smart compiles the data for the industry association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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