Truck Sales Climb Continues
By the end of February 2010, the countdown of days leading up to the Soccer World Cup (SWC) had reduced to double-digits and feverish efforts were being made to complete construction work on stadiums, roads, airports and hotels to accommodate some 400 000 soccer tourists.
Commercial vehicles were at the epicentre of these efforts, particularly heavy-duty trucks. Despite the pressure, depressed global economic conditions continued to dampen the South African commercial vehicle market, resulting in negative growth in the Heavy Truck sector and a mere 10% year-on-year growth in the Extra-heavy Truck category during February 2010.
February 2011 presents a much more positive picture for the heavy-duty truck market, with NAAMSA reporting year-on-year increases of 21.5% in the Heavy CV sector and 40.1% in the Extra-Heavy CV category, compared to February 2010. Bus sales however, while enjoying spectacular rises in sales during 2009 and 2010 as a direct consequence of SWC, plummeted by 60.7% during February 2011, compared to the corresponding month in 2010.
With bus fleets across the country having expanded capacity to meet temporary increased passenger demand during SWC, the drop in bus sales over recent months comes as no surprise. The truck market however, continues to show signs of returning to pre-meltdown volumes and suggests that the global recession may well be in its death throes.
Sales of MAN Heavy and Extra-Heavy trucks during February 2011 were well ahead of overall market performance in each sector with a 100% rise in sales of MAN Heavy Trucks and 95% rise in sales of MAN Extra-Heavy Trucks during February 2011, compared to February 2010. These phenomenal figures are a result of both macro economic conditions and internal efforts at MAN Truck & Bus SRM (Sales Region: Middle East & Africa) to meet specific market requirements via its multibrand truck portfolio, which includes Volkswagen Heavy Commercial Vehicles.
While bus sales may be down on 2010 figures, MAN bus sales during February 2011 were by no means disappointing, registering a year-on-year drop significantly smaller than its competitors. With 36 units sold during February 2011, MAN retains its market leadership position in the heavy-duty bus market, its nearest competitor selling just 26 units during February this year.
The months ahead look set to sustain the rise in truck sales figures while bus sales will no doubt remain muted for some time. Nonetheless, 2011 could not have started better for MAN Truck & Bus SRM and the local CV market at large. For all players in this market, continued growth will depend very much on product customisation and enhanced customer service that delivers tangible return-on-investment.