STRONG GROWTH IN COMMERCIAL VEHICLE MARKET TO COME UNDER SPOTLIGHT AT AUTO AFRICA 2004
Bus and truck market grew by 19% in 2003; anticipated growth of 10% in 2004.
South Africa’s truck and bus market grew by 19% in 2003, fuelled by spectacular sales of extra heavy commercial vehicles (over 16.5 ton GVM), which climbed by nearly 36%. The surging sales environment was supported by strong growth in both the medium commercial vehicle and heavy commercial vehicle markets.
And, says Auto Africa 2004 exhibition director Pula Dippenaar, sales are expected to grow across the market by 10% in 2004.
Dippenaar says the strong growth in southern Africa can be attributed to three key factors:
Gross Domestic Fixed Investment grew by 8,3% in SA during 2003, and is expected to grow by 5% in 2004. Major infrastructural projects such as Coega near Port Elizabeth, Durban’s Ushaka Island Marine Park and the planned developments ahead of the 2010 soccer world cup have driven, and will continue to drive, this growth.
Vehicle replacement buying has returned as a major force in SA’s commercial vehicle sector.
Vehicle sales will continue to grow on the back of the declining popularity of SA’s rail network. The SA road transport industry finds itself at new levels of regional and international integration, with SA-registered trucks regularly plying the transport routes of sub-Saharan Africa. Locally-sourced and equipped vehicles have penetrated deep into markets north of the Zambezi, and local importers and assemblers are fully integrated with their global parent networks.
“The success of the heavy commercial vehicle sector – on show in hall nine as well as in various outside displays – will be mirrored at Auto Africa 2004. To date trucking and bus companies have taken 22 000 m2 of space which equates to 30% of the total floor space available,” says Dippenaar. “In anticipation of this, a series of high level conferences focusing specifically on South Africa’s heavy commercial vehicle manufacturing industry will form part of Auto Africa 2004, which runs from 25-31 October at NASREC, south of Johannesburg,” she says.
Dippenaar says since its launch in 1996, Auto Africa has established itself as an interactive platform to encourage automotive discourse through product display, networking, conferences and workshops.
Dippenaar points out that there are over 20 brands of trucks and busses available in South Africa – more than on any other continent. This is largely because South Africa has become the heavy commercial vehicle hub of the sub-Saharan Southern Africa and vehicles are exported to neighboring countries via South Africa.
Another development that has contributed to growth in the commercial vehicle industry – particularly relating to smaller trucks and vans – is the introduction of the just-in-time concept where smaller loads are being requested with the expectation of high-speed delivery. Since the semi-privatisation of the commuter bus industry five years ago, this sector has also experienced dramatic growth. The tourism industry has also stimulated some demand for smaller luxury coaches.
Auto Africa Expo 2004 has been officially endorsed by NAAMSA, the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM). National Association of Automotive Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) CEO, Nico Vermeulen, says NAAMSA has endorsed Auto Africa for three consecutive years. “We are fully behind Auto Africa Expo 2004 and privileged to be associated with this world-class event which provides a platform for showcasing, amongst others, the South African trucking and bus industry,” says Vermeulen.