The South African Truck Market has followed up on its strong performance in September, 2011 with a virtually identical overall result in October.

The total sales volume of 2 518 trucks, buses and vans with Gross Vehicle Mass ratings of more than 3 500 kg reported last month to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) finished within six units of the final audited absolute total of 2 524 units recorded during the previous month, and was the third best monthly total recorded thus far in 2011.

Hino Truck Sales

The October, 2011 market composition was made up of 829 Medium Commercial Vehicles (GVM ratings between 3 501 kg and 8 500 kg), 427 Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings between 8 501 kg and 16 500 kg), 1185 Extra Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings above 16 500 kg) and 77 passenger Buses with GVM ratings above 8 500 kg. (Please note that these volumes include aggregated MCV sales recorded by Associated Motor Holdings and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors, presently made up exclusively of Hyundai-branded products). It was particularly notable that the October XHCV result was the best recorded by this premium payload segment since September, 2008, when 1 335 unit sales were registered.

Dr. Casper Kruger, Vice President of Hino in South Africa, comments: “With some issues relating to product availability still at large in the market, it was gratifying to see that October’s result had consolidated the increased sales momentum that was evident in September.

At the end of its tenth month, the cumulative year-to-date 2011 market volume remains 24,4% ahead of the equivalent result of one year ago, which is essentially the same margin of year-on-year growth measured at the end of September, and it is worth noting that this year’s market total, at 22 742 units, has already exceeded the full-year 2010 aggregate of 22 021 units by a margin of 3,3% ”.

Kruger continues: “As the year has progressed, the market “mix” has steadily enriched in favour of the largest and most expensive goods vehicles, and the level of dominance of the XHCV segment has continued to grow. In the year-to-date analysis, this flagship category, has accounted for more than 45% of all vehicles over 3,5 tons GVM sold in NAAMSA’s reporting area.

In the absence of any meaningful evidence of momentum gain in the construction sector, this situation continues to reinforce the absolute and growing dependence of the South African economy on road transport for the long-distance movement of goods and commodities, both within and across the country’s borders.

Although October volumes in both the MCV and HCV segments were slightly reduced in the month-on-month comparison with September, these goods vehicle categories, which mainly support the service and distribution sectors, continue to register monthly sales volumes substantially above their average for the year thus far, and are also contributing meaningfully to the growth trend in the overall market”.

Kruger concludes: “This sustained momentum in the Truck Market has come at a time when conditions in the global and broader national economies have not been generally favourable.

The recent volatility in the foreign exchange value of the Rand, and substantial daily fluctuations in the international oil price, have created a period of great uncertainty for local hauliers, making it extremely challenging to make rational decisions about future input costs, and, in the case of the commercial vehicle supply industry, to firm up vital indent commitments on overseas plants.

Added to this are some recurring concerns over product availability, firstly as a result of supply disruption lingering on from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami of March, and also stemming from more recent flooding in Thailand, which has already caused light vehicle production losses in a number of overseas manufacturing locations.

While it is pleasing to note that, with two months’ results still outstanding, the 2011 Truck Market has already surpassed its predecessor in terms of absolute volume sales reported, the final margin of year-on-year growth remains extremely difficult to predict with any reasonable expectation of accuracy”.