The emerging black middle class, and women, have become increasingly important drivers of new car sales, it was reported on Friday.

Standard Bank asset and vehicle finance found a 19 percent growth in its black customers, between 2011 and 2012, compared to seven percent for white customers, according to Business Report. African, coloured and Indian borrowers were included among its black customers.

Sydney Soundy, the head of vehicle and asset finance at Standard Bank, said the number of female customers grew by 14 percent between 2011 and 2012, double the rate of growth of its male customers in the same period.

New car market sales increasing by 4.1%

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Soundy said the new car market was bucking the economic trend, with sales increasing by 4.1 percent to 163,092 units, in the first three months of the year, compared to the corresponding period last year. This is despite tough economic conditions and the SA Reserve Bank forecasting gross domestic growth of 2.7 percent this year.

He said the prosperity within the new vehicle market was notable compared with other sectors, which were feeling the brunt of reduced consumer spending because of a number of factors, including cost pressures, caused by high inflation and rising fuel prices. “Consumers seem to be taking advantage of the low interest rate environment and clearly still have an appetite for secured credit,” he said.

Author: SAPA