Commercial vehicle market defies economic downturn
By Engineering News

Friday, 12th October 2018

The South African new-truck market has increased overall sales by 2.3% year-on-year for the first nine months of the year, defying a slew of negative economic indicators.

According to the latest sales statistics released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa, Associated Motor Holdings and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors, 19 939 new trucks and buses have been retailed from January to the end of September this year.

“The initial growth seen in the extra-heavy commercial vehicle (XHCV) segment has now started to filter down to the heavy (HCV) and medium commercial vehicle (MCV) segments,” says UD Trucks Southern Africa MD Gert Swanepoel.

“Sales to operators in the distribution industry, including long-haul, are driving growth, while demand from the mining, agricultural and construction industries has declined.”

Sales in the MCV segment are slightly down by 2.3% so far this year, for a year-to-date total of 5 730 units.

HCV sales are up 1.7% year-on-year, to 4 039 units, while sales in the XHCV segment have increased by 5.9%, to 9 391 new-vehicle sales so far this year.

Bus sales have declined to 779 units – a 1.9% drop.

“The sharp increase in diesel prices is a source of great concern to the transport industry,” notes Swanepoel.

“As a manufacturer we have for several years now put cost of ownership as our central focus, assisting customers to keep fuel expenses low through measures such as driver training, advanced engine technology and fuel coaching through telematics.”

Swanepoel adds that it is encouraging to see that government and the automotive industry are currently formulating a roadmap to implement stricter emission regulations.

“Customers are looking towards more environmentally friendly transport solutions, and even though we as truck manufacturers can offer these technologies, local infrastructure needs to adjust to support it at this stage.

“With government and industry stakeholders taking hands to come up with workable solutions for the region, we believe the future of smart modern technology has arrived.”

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