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Following a surprisingly strong showing during the first half of 2011, the South African Truck Market has kicked off the remainder of the year by carrying a substantial level of momentum into the month of July. Total sales of 2 253 trucks, buses and vans with Gross Vehicle Mass ratings of more than 3 500 kg were reported during the month just completed to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, this being 7,7% fewer than the final audited volume of 2441 units recorded during June, and the third best individual month result recorded thus far in 2011.
The July, 2011 market composition was made up of 765 Medium Commercial Vehicles (GVM ratings between 3 501 kg and 8 500 kg), 389 Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings between 8 501 kg and 16 500 kg), 1 034 Extra Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings above 16 500 kg) and 65 passenger Buses with GVM ratings above 8 500 kg. (Please note that these volumes also incorporate sales recorded by Associated Motor Holdings and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors, presently made up exclusively of MCV class products). In the year-to-date comparison with the equivalent first seven month period of 2010, the overall market has grown by a margin of 22,9%, while in the case of the individual segments, MCV volumes have increased by 16,3%, HCV by 15%, and XHCV by 48,3%, while Buses, which were bolstered by deliveries ahead of the Soccer World Cup during the first half of last year, have declined by 42,2%.
Dr. Casper Kruger, Vice President of Hino in South Africa, comments: “The level of resilience exhibited by this market in July, 2011, is pleasing, given that there have been some recent signs of softening business confidence within the broader economy. The premium payload XHCV segment continues to dominate the market, and currently accounts for 44,6% of all year-to-date commercial vehicle sales above 3 500 kg GVM. This represents a considerable improvement over the 38,6% market share captured by extra-heavy vehicles in 2010, and confirms the continuing dependence of the country on long-haul road transport for the domestic and regional movement of freight, and the availability of asset acquisition financing ”.
Kruger continues: “The strong performance of the XHCV segment, together with the fact that the HCV market share, at 18,3% year-to-date, is slightly below its long-running traditional level of 20%, may suggest that product availability out of Japan is still exerting some influence on the shape of the market. During the first half of 2011, 81,5% of all HCV sales were accounted for by Japanese products, while in the XHCV segment the Japanese share was only 16,6%. This may imply that any restriction in the availability of Japanese trucks, whether in total or in respect of individual models and variants, has the potential to swing the overall market profile in favour of the XHCV segment, with its larger proportion of suppliers based in Europe and the United States”.
Kruger concludes: “With seven months of the current year now a matter of record, the potential of this market to return a measure of year-on-year growth appears to have been firmly established. If current trends are sustained, a final result in the order of 26 000 units appears to be attainable, which would be a somewhat better outcome than forecast by most industry participants at the beginning of the year, and the fifth best result in the history of this market. However, the attainment of this level will depend on the satisfactory performance of both the World and local economies during the August to December period, and there are widespread concerns that the recent recoveries in both remain fragile. Locally, there have also been a number of disruptive labour actions, lasting several weeks, which have the potential, both individually and collectively, to retard economic activity. The challenge to the commercial vehicle supply industry, in the months ahead, will be to continue balancing supply against customer demand, and to ensure that orders for new vehicles are processed with expediency, by-passing any short-term effects of industrial action”