The South African Truck Market continued its recent pattern of steady and consistent growth during the month of June, 2012 with the second best single monthly result recorded thus far during the current year. A total of 2 552 trucks, buses and vans with Gross Vehicle Mass ratings of more than 3 500 kg were reported to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) during the month, resulting in cumulative year-to-date market growth of 5,6%, when compared to the equivalent January-June 2011 half-year performance.

This volume included NAAMSA’s estimates, by segment, for deliveries by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, who, in line with a global directive from Daimler AG in Germany, have continued to report only aggregated sales data to the local organisation.

As published, the market composition was made up of 819 Medium Commercial Vehicles (GVM ratings between 3 501 kg and 8 500 kg), 473 Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings between 8 501 kg and 16 500 kg), 1 144 Extra Heavy Commercials (goods vehicles with GVM ratings above 16 500 kg) and 116 passenger Buses with GVM ratings above 8 500 kg. (Please note that these volumes also include aggregated MCV sales recorded by Associated Motor Holdings and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors, which are made up exclusively of Hyundai-branded light truck models). The June outcome was notable in that all market segments, with the exception of the entry-level MCV category, experienced their best monthly performance thus far in 2012, and that the cruiserweight HCV segment has recorded a 1% margin of positive growth over its equivalent year-to-date cumulative performance in 2011, after having been in negative year-on-year growth territory one month earlier.

Dr. Casper Kruger, Vice President of Hino in South Africa, comments: “The steady growth currently being experienced in the overall truck market, despite a rather uncertain macro economic scenario, is most gratifying. The cautious mood in the local economy has been reflected in the most recent published result of the Kagiso Purchasing Managers’ Index. The PMI’s contractionary outlook is understandable, given the ongoing uncertainties surrounding the European debt crisis, the growth slowdown in emerging markets, continuing volatility in the Rand’s foreign exchange value, and the absence of firm local political direction emanating from last week’s ANC policy conference.”

Kruger continues: “However, on the positive side, the South African Government’s stimulatory programmes persist. The recent decreases in global oil prices, with the resulting reductions in the cost of fuel at local pumps, have been most welcome, and have released some pressure on the margins of transport operators. The Rand’s recovery from its recent lows has also been welcomed by enterprises engaged in the importation of supplies from abroad, and this has moderated fears of imminent steep increases in the local prices of imported items, including vehicles and spare parts. Financing prospects for capital goods has also remained favourable, given the continuing stability in the local interest rate scenario, and the reported magnitude of cash resources held in the private sector”.

“In the market, itself, June saw a welcome recovery in the absolute volume performance of HCV sales, indicating an improvement in the availability of the Japanese trucks that form the backbone of this segment. While this category’s year-to-date market share remains well below its long-term average at 17,4%, the distribution sector, which purchases the great majority of the heavier 4×2 units that make up the HCV population, is now in a better position to pursue normal fleet expansion and replacement activities. It is also notable that Bus volumes have recorded a year-to-date improvement of 9,1% when compared to their equivalent January-June 2011 performance. While some of this has been driven by a large-scale order for city buses placed by the Ethekwini Municipality, the general picture for Bus sales in 2012 has been more positive than in 2011, when the segment slumped sharply in the aftermath of Soccer World Cup 2010 stimulus ”.

Kruger concludes: “With the first half of the year now in the record books, the Truck Market appears to be on course for a full 2012 year total in excess of 27 000 units. Achievement of this result would take the market back to the level recorded in 2005, when it was still some way off its all-time record of 37 059 units set in 2007, but considerably better than the 18 934 units sold in the depressed global financial crisis conditions of 2009”.