Truck market grows despite unrest

Truck market grows despite unrest

The South African truck market has showed ongoing resilience despite recent political and economic events.

According to the latest results released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), the total truck market increased by a significant 16,9 percent month on month to record 2 618 new truck sales.

This brings the market’s year-to-date total to 6 416 new trucks for the first quarter of 2017, a 3,9 percent increase over the same period last year.

During the first three months of the year, sales in the medium commercial vehicle segment grew by 3,3 percent to 1 993 units compared to the first quarter of 2016. Sales in the heavy commercial vehicle segment increased by 11,9 percent to 1 355 units, while the extra-heavy commercial vehicle segment grew by 2,2 percent to 2 837 units.

Only the bus segment remained in the red with a 10,5-percent decline in sales; a total of 231 new units have been sold this year so far.

The effect of the credit rating downgrade to “junk” status by rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch, will determine wheter the small growth built by the industry so far this year will remain or be eroded.

Gert Swanepoel, MD of UD Trucks Southern Africa, says the next few months will be key in determining the path the country will follow. “Therefore, a consolidated road-freight industry is needed to drive reform and advancement in the sector, as well as in the larger economy.

“Even amidst all the turbulence, we believe that the dust will settle and the steady slog towards growth in the truck industry will begin once more,” comments Swanepoel. “We still expect the South African commercial vehicle market to grow marginally by an estimated three percent during 2017, to around 28 998 units.”

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