Truck market battles amidst tough economic conditions

THE local trucking industry recorded a decline in sales for the fifth month in a row, according to the latest statistics released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), Associated Motor Holdings (AMH) and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors (AAD).

On a year-to-date basis, total truck sales were down by 2.64% to 11 928 units at the end of May. The Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle (EHCV) segment also lost more traction over the first five months of the year, declining by 3.8% to 5 210 units.

Meanwhile, sales in the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment continued its upward trend, growing by 6.68% so far this year to 2 171 sales. UD Trucks captured 25.64% of this market segment making it the top-selling brand once again, with year-to-date growth of 12.15%.

Medium Commercial Vehicles continued its slow recovery to record a 6.75% decline to reach 4 049 sales. Bus sales once again outperformed the market, growing 8.73% year-to-date to 498 units.

“The buying-down trend from Extra Heavy to Heavy Commercial Vehicles are continuing, leading to the further decrease in sales in that segment,” said Rory Schulz, Managing Director of UD Trucks Southern Africa. “This trend is a reflection of local fleet owners’ lack of confidence in the market, mostly as a result of continuing poor economic growth over the past five months.”

Schulz said that the outlook for the rest of the year remains moderate.

“We are expecting marginal growth in the local truck market, subject to a slight improvement in economic conditions and relative stability in interest rates and labour relations. However, if current conditions persist, 2015 sales would, at best, match last year’s sales performance,” concluded Schulz.