Johannesburg – Engines are firing, and the gears have slowly started turning in the auto sector as several dealerships rolled up their garage doors for business last week amid a risk-adjusted level 4 lockdown in the country.

Since the start of the nationwide lockdown more than six weeks ago, showrooms have been closed with limited access to parts and service counters for essential services operators.

It’s no secret that the automotive retail market has all but stalled, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Last month’s new vehicle sales were effectively dormant as the country endured its first full-month of lockdown. With most dealerships closed, businesses forced to work remotely and endure their own commercial challenges, and consumers stuck at home, traffic was at an all-time low, never mind vehicle sales.

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the market recorded a volume total of 574 units, down a whopping 98.4%. 105 units were passenger cars, and 318 were light commercial vehicles, impacting the year-to-date volumes of those segments downwards to 28.1% and 38.5% respectively.

*This article first appeared on IOL Motoring