Strong January sales suggest further recovery for truck and bus markets
Following the release of NAAMSA’s official vehicle sales figures for January 2011, commercial vehicle suppliers have every reason to predict a steady return to pre-2008 sales volumes.
According to the NAAMSA release: “Sales of vehicles in the Medium and Heavy Truck segments of the industry started the year on an exceptionally strong note with January 2011 sales at 636 units and 959 units, respectively, recording a gain of 180 units or 39.5%, in the case of medium commercials, and 153 units or 19.0% in the case of Heavy Trucks and Buses – compared to the corresponding month last year.”
These figures will do much to lift sentiments in the commercial vehicle market in general and, coupled with government’s multi-billion rand investment in its New Growth Plan (NGP), both commercial vehicle operators and suppliers can now perhaps adopt a more bullish approach to procuring/supplying new vehicles, considering the key areas addressed by the NGP, namely; economic growth at 7% in six key sectors: infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and the ‘green economy’. All these sectors rely heavily on the deployment of commercial vehicles.
For suppliers of heavy and extra-heavy trucks, January 2011 produced positive results, an increase of 3.2% and 32.6% respectively on January 2010 figures. Export sales of heavy trucks rose by a staggering 200% compared to January last year. Local bus sales were disappointing however, dropping by 13.8% on January 2010 figures. This could be attributed to the fact that last year, bus operators were expanding their fleets in preparation for SWC 2010, and traditionally, January is a quiet month for bus suppliers.
Despite the market-wide low bus sales figures, MAN buses sold an impressive 30 units in January 2011, compared to 10 units in January 2010. Improved credit facilitation and improvements in fleet replacement cycles are largely responsible for this boost in bus sales.
On the truck front, MAN heavy and extra-heavy derivatives sold well in January 2011, recording unit sales of 10 units and 79 units respectively, compared to one unit and 83 units respectively in January 2010.
MAN Truck & Bus Africa’s multi-brand portfolio of trucks and buses, which includes Volkswagen heavy commercial vehicles, continues to hold a top-three market position in South Africa, with market leadership in the bus segment. Exports into Africa of its flagship MAN TGS-WW and the MAN TGA remain strong, with eight and 10 units respectively, moving north of our borders during January 2011.
With ongoing enhancements to its many derivatives, including uprated axle specifications and extended warranties on the VW Constellation truck range and extended warranties on the MAN TGS range of trucks, MAN Truck & Bus Africa is confident its efforts to meet specific market requirements will sustain its market position and help improve sales performance throughout the year.