Forecasting 2012

With the world economy in turmoil, how many new trucks and buses will be sold in South Africa in 2012?

With the world economy in turmoil, it is not an easy task to forecast new truck and bus sales for 2012. However, manufacturers and distributors have to be as accurate as possible to ensure they have sufficient stock to meet demand whilst ensuring they do not over stock.

The world economy is highly volatile and the present situation in Europe could have a negative effect on the South African economy. These negative economic conditions must be balanced against the current local trading and economic situation as we plan ahead. To forecast, the recent truck and bus sales history and the current economic situation must be taken into account.

The growth in the 2011 truck market was extraordinary, especially in the extra heavy vehicle segment. Total medium commercial vehicle (MCV), heavy commercial vehicle (HCV), extra heavy commercial vehicle (EHCV) and bus sales exceeded the original FOCUS 2011 forecast by approximately 10%. Based on the number of vehicles sold up to November 2011, indications are that 26 500 MCV, HCV, EHCV and buses would be sold in 2011.

There are many positive factors that indicate that the South African 2012 truck and bus market will remain stable and financially healthy.

The South African government’s commitment to continue with infrastructure spending to provide the basic needs like housing, water and electricity as promised to the public, will continue to drive strong truck sales. Added to this we have the recent announcement by minister of finance Pravin Gordhan to introduce a business support package to help local businesses weather the economic storm if the world economy stutters in 2012.

We may see a slight decline in the transportation of luxury goods, but the transport of essential goods will continue and with more that 90% of goods transported by road, the demand for trucks in all the market segments will remain steady.

In an effort to lower the cost of doing business in South Africa to attract overseas interests to start new ventures in this country, the South African government is well aware that there is a great need to move more freight back onto rail. However, due to the massive resources needed to make rail competitive, I see no immediate threat to road transport and do not believe that road transportation will lose any freight to rail in 2012.

Stock shortages in 2011 due to the tsunami that hit Japan meant many fleet owners were unable to replace older vehicles, which has created a pent-up demand that will drive sales in 2012.

Analysing these market factors and balancing these conditions against the volatile world market, my 2012 forecast for the sale of new medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicles plus buses is 27 000 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.

Published by

Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
Neil Hattingh, chief executive officer of Skygistics, aims to make the company a one-stop-shop for all communication needs.
Prev Taking the lead
Next What does 2012 hold?