In a world that has not yet fully recovered from a financial recession, how many new trucks and buses will be sold in South Africa in 2011?
In 2010 the total number of units sold was 22 022 vehicles, which is very close to the number that we forecast in last year’s Transport Manager’s Handbook.
Medium commercial vehicle (MCV) sales remained steady during the year and the heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) segment showed a little growth. The big surprise was the growth in the extra heavy commercial vehicle market (EHCV), which increased substantially.
The increased demand for EHCVs was driven by the requirement for high horsepower truck tractors that were used to pull side-tipping trailers, and truck tractors that were used in long and medium distance operations moving goods around the country.
To forecast this year’s truck and bus sales we need to examine last year’s performance and anticipate the future economic health of the South African and global economy.
Despite early indications and expectations for a sustained global recovery in truck and bus sales for 2011, there are many indicators illustrating that the world has not yet recovered from the recession.
The American economy still remains a major concern. For example, in the housing sector especially, low sales and high foreclosures are still causing alarm.
I support the theory that has been spelled out by many economists that until the American housing market stabilises and improves, the American and western global economies will not improve.
In Europe with many countries struggling financially and with government spending and subsidies being reduced, it makes the outlook look a little gloomy for their economies and the motor industry.
The Japanese economy is also faltering with little sign of a recovery in 2011.
The Chinese and Indian economies have slowed down and their growth rates for 2011, although still positive, will be slower than in the previous few years.
However, in South Africa there are many positive indicators that illustrate that the local economy is in a more positive position compared to the rest of the western world.
The government recently published its new growth plan to grow the economy and create five million jobs over the next ten years. And the South African government is still fully committed to providing housing, electricity and the basic necessities to its entire population. This commitment is good for truck sales as you cannot build power stations, dams, houses and provide all the other promised services without trucks.
Truck and bus sales performed well during the first 11 months of 2010 with major increases in the number of vehicles sold compared to 2009.
In November 2010 MCV sales improved by 47,9% and HCV sales improved by 54,29% compared to November sales in 2009.
Sustained low interest rates and slightly easier bank lending conditions should support potential buyers of new vehicles in 2011.
Taking into account the negative international economic conditions and balancing them against the more positive and healthy local conditions, I come to the conclusion that new truck and bus sales will show a slight improvement in 2011.
My forecast for new medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicle sales for 2011 is a total of 23 500 units.
One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for 45 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel, 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.