Sales of trucks, buses and vans during July have further improved the year-to-date growth of the market in comparison to its performance levels of a year ago.
A total of 2 442 trucks, buses and vans with gross vehicle mass (GVM) ratings of more than 3 500 kg were reported to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) last month, resulting in cumulative year-to-date market growth of 6,0%, when compared to the equivalent January to July 2011 performance.
This improves on the 5,5% year-on-year rate of growth that was achieved during the first half of 2012. All volumes quoted here include NAAMSA's estimates, by segment, for deliveries by Mercedes-Benz South Africa, who, in line with a global directive from Daimler AG in Germany, have continued to report only aggregated sales data to the local organisation.
Business mood is lifting
As published, the market composition was made up of 823 medium commercial vehicles (GVM ratings between 3 501 kg and 8 500 kg), 474 heavy commercials (GVM ratings between 8 501 kg and 16 500 kg), 1 074 extra heavy commercials (GVM ratings above 16 500 kg) and 71 passenger buses with GVM ratings above 8 500 kg. While aggregated July sales for all segments were 3,9% off the final audited total of 2 541 units recorded in June 2012, they still comfortably occupied the upper end of the range between 2 074 units and 2 581 units that had been established over the preceding six-month period.
"The most recently published positive outlook of the Kagiso Purchasing Managers' Index, in concert with strong light vehicle sales recorded during the month of July, suggest some lifting of the business mood in South Africa," comments Dr. Casper Kruger, vice president of Hino in South Africa.
Rail transport will not have immediate impact
"This may well have been encouraged by the recent, unexpected decision of the Reserve Bank to lower the local prime lending rate, together with a more positive purchasing index outcome in China, South Africa's largest trading partner, which bodes well for export prospects. Although the truck market result in July was slightly down on its June performance, it is logical to expect a slight lag in its potential response to improved local business sentiment, in view of the longer time taken to process commercial vehicle deliveries."
Dr. Kruger concludes: "The fact that the truck market has maintained its recent upward growth path, despite uncertainties in the macro economy, is most encouraging. This is likely to persist as the government rolls out its infrastructural investment programmes. Recent evidence of increased emphasis on rail transport, reflected in the purchase of new locomotives by Transnet, and the initiation of the process to buy large quantities of additional motive units and rolling stock, is not likely to impact on this market in the short term, but may influence its future shape when the various transport modes are called upon to integrate their service delivery."
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