TOTAL new car sales grew 9.4% in August when compared with the same month last year, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) said on Tuesday.

This suggests consumers are taking advantage of low interest rates, and increased affordability of new vehicles in real terms.

An additional 4,153 new cars were bought last month compared with the year before. Total domestic sales for the first eight months of the year were 11.3% ahead of the corresponding eight months last year.

Some of this strong growth could be attributed to sales to rental companies, which bought 11.5% of all new vehicles, and 15.2% of all new cars, last month, according to Naamsa’s numbers.

Notable performers were Toyota’s Hilux, of which nearly 3000 were sold in the month, as well as Volkswagen’s Polo Vivo, of which more than 3700 were sold.

The country’s exporters continued to hold level year on year despite economic concerns in Europe, managing to dispatch 25,024 new vehicles, a marginal growth of 0.8%, Naamsa said.

Naamsa said in a statement that this number – especially with the ramp up of various government production incentives – would grow significantly in the next year.