Truck  |  Corporate 

Heavy truck sales continue steady climb

Despite subdued May 2011 performances in the passenger car and light/medium commercial vehicle segments of the market compared to previous months this year, heavy and extra-heavy truck sales figures continued their steady year-on-year growth trajectory, substantiating sentiments of improved investor sentiment in the South African economy.

According to Naamsa, heavy trucks and buses recorded a gain of 227 units or 19.1% during May 2011, compared to the corresponding month last year.

“New bus sales had however, as expected, been particularly weak and reflected a fall of just under 57% compared to May last year when bus sales had been boosted in the run up to World Cup soccer (SWC) event,” states the official Naamsa release.

Total industry sales of heavy trucks rose by 9.6% compared to April 2011 and by 18% compared to May 2010. Year-on-year growth of heavy truck exports rose by a massive 267%.

The extra-heavy truck segment recorded a gain of 46.5% compared to May 2010, and increased marginally compared to April 2011. Bus sales rose by 13.6% compared to April 2011 which suggests a gradual return to pre-SWC-build-up figures.

“Continued recovery on the consumption side of the economy, largely driven by the 6.5% decline in interest rates since end-2008, has contributed to an improvement in the financial position of consumers and businesses through reduced debt servicing costs on the part of households and companies,” reports Naamsa.

Global heavy commercial vehicle supplier, MAN Truck & Bus, which enjoys a top-three market position in South Africa, recorded month-on-month growth in the three sectors it competes in. MAN heavy truck sales rose by 30% compared to April 2011. Extra-heavy MAN trucks recorded a rise of 9.3% compared to April 2011 and a rise of 7.9% compared to May 2010.

MAN bus sales rose by 35.7% in May 2011 compared to the previous month this year, selling 58% more units than its nearest competitor.

According to Bruce Dickson, management board member: marketing communications, MAN Truck & Bus SRM: “Both private and public sector investment in capital equipment is improving, particularly with the procurement of trucks for applications such as construction, mining, waste management and FMCG distribution.

“Furthermore, MAN Financial Services SA, in partnership with MAN Truck & Bus SA and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), has launched a financing initiative to promote empowerment transactions. The financing initiative entails financing of new and used vehicles for small transport operators countrywide. MAN Financial Services will provide 100% of the funding required and the IDC will underwrite 50% of the risk arising from transactions financed under this initiative. The maximum amount available under this financing scheme is R100 000 000.00.”

Dickson adds that, “the good news is that globally, the heavy commercial vehicle industry looks to be firmly on the road to recovery. MAN Group revenue for the first three months of fiscal year 2011 increased by 19% to €3.7 billion, compared to €3.1 billion in the prior-year period. MAN Truck & Bus in particular, profited from the continuing upturn in the market and generated revenue of just under €2.0 billion, up 35% year-on-year. The positive trend in the Commercial Vehicles business area is therefore continuing and MAN Group forecasts a 10 to 15% revenue increase in this sector in 2011.”