Total truck, bus and van sales retreated slightly from their levels of the past two months during November 2011, but deliveries of the heaviest payload models continued to provide the main impetus in the market, which has returned substantial growth over its equivalent 2010 performance.

Hino Trucks

The total sales volume of 2 300 commercial vehicles 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) fell short of the final audited October result of 2 515 units by a margin of 8,5%, but was still better than the year-to-date monthly average of 2 276 units recorded since January, 2011.

The November, 2011 market composition was made up of 844 Medium Commercial Vehicles (GVM ratings between 3 501 kg and 8 500 kg), 372 Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings between 8 501 kg and 16 500 kg), 1 013 Extra Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings above 16 500 kg) and 71 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).

Dr. Casper Kruger, Vice President of Hino in South Africa, comments: “As we approach the end of the 2011 calendar year, the local truck market has continued to exhibit a level of momentum well ahead of expectations prevailing at the beginning of the year, and in spite of restricted product availability affecting a number of key suppliers to the market.

At this point, total aggregated deliveries are running 22,2% ahead of the equivalent year-to-date outcome in November 2010, and, if this level of growth can be sustained through the abbreviated business month of December, a final year total well in excess of 26 000 units can be expected when the final 2011 result is tallied up ”.

Kruger continues: “The segmentation profile of the market has continued to be dominated by the premium payload XHCV category, which has accounted for 45% of all vehicles over 3,5 tons GVM sold in the NAAMSA reporting area during the January-November period.

This is the highest level of market share ever achieved by this category, and reinforces the growing importance of road freight transport to the South African economy. The latest published results of Business Day’s ‘Mooi River Index’, which records the absolute number of five- or more-axled rigs that pass through the Mooi River toll plaza on the N3 between Durban and the interior, in both directions, each month, reflect year-on-year traffic growth of just less than 20% in September, 2011.

The majority of XHCV units are taken up by medium-to-long distance hauliers, and the healthy order books currently held by suppliers to this category suggest that its sales momentum will be sustained into the early months of 2012”.

“The entry-level MCV category has also staged something of a revival since September, with monthly sales volumes exceeding 800 units, whereas these had languished below that level since April.

This reflects both a more positive recent environment in the wholesale and retail arenas of the domestic economy, and also some easing of earlier supply constraints on the Japanese-sourced light trucks that predominate in the chassis/cab element of that segment. The year-to-date market share of HCV category vehicles, however, which primarily consist of the heavier 4×2 units used in the distribution trade, remains locked at 18% of the overall market, some two percentage points lower than their traditional level of 20%, with some important suppliers continuing to be hamstrung by restricted deliveries of vehicles and knock-down components from Japan.

Heavy-duty bus sales remain understandably subdued while substantial volumes of the luxury coaches imported for Soccer World Cup 2010 are still awaiting more regular and productive employment, and this category will be largely dependent on events such as the further rolling out of Bus Rapid Transport systems for future growth”.

Kruger concludes: “While the global economic environment remains unstable, and key factors such as currency exchange rates and the oil price threaten continued volatility, the South African truck market will end 2011 on a satisfactory note, with a volume approaching that recorded in 2005.

This will represent a significant recovery over the most recent results of 2009 and 2010, and bring considerable relief to manufacturers, importers, dealers, and suppliers dependant on the market for their livelihood. The prospects for the early part of 2012 remain positive, especially in the heavier mass classes, but predicting the overall picture for next year will represent a significant challenge”.