The South African truck and bus market ended 2014 on a high note in December with total sales up 10,5% for the month, compared to the same month a year previously. However, the annual sales total of 31 554 units was only 2% ahead of the 2013 total and the outlook for 2015 looks rather flat.
Buses were up a welcome 19,8% for the year, and showed a massive increase of 73% month-on-month in December, admittedly off a low base
The medium truck market slipped 4,9% last year, with the heavy segment up marginally by 0,1%. However, the extra-heavy segment made up for these rather unimpressive performances with a 20,8% increase month-on-month in December and growth of 7,7% for the calendar year.
Export figures for trucks and buses disappointingly low with growth of 17% in the commercial vehicles sales
Buses were up a welcome 19,8% for the year, and showed a massive increase of 73% month-on-month in December, admittedly off a low base. Export figures for trucks and buses continue to be disappointingly low and in 2014 growth was 17% – but volume only rose to 1 411 units from 1 206 in 2013.
The year also ended on a sour note with Mercedes-Benz SA declining to provide the Department of Trade and Industries with detailed sales results for November and December, which made it difficult to compile the attached annual sales tables, as MBSA provided only aggregate figures for “commercial vehicles” with no splits into the different categories or various brands in their stable – Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, Mitsubishi Fuso and Western Star.
We can only hope this impasse does not last as long as it did in 2012. The outlook for 2015 remains uninspiring according to NAAMSA, with the best case scenario, at this stage, one of marginal volume growth in domestic sales.
New commercial vehicle sales volume growth during 2015 could improve by around 4,0%
NAAMSA’s projections are based on expectations of an improvement in South Africa’s economic growth rate to between 2% and 2,5% in 2015, relative stability in automotive industry industrial relations, stable interest rates and credit ratings, as well as prospects for moderating consumer price inflation.
These expected positive factors will be offset to some extent by higher than inflation new vehicle price increases as a result of the weakness in the Rand against major international currencies for most of 2013 and during 2014.
Provided the expectations materialised, aggregate new commercial vehicle sales volume growth during 2015 could improve by around 4,0%, with total truck and bus sales expected to rise by almost 5% to 21 500 in 2015.
This would represent a commendable performance in relation to the fairly high sales base established over the past few years.
TOTAL SOUTH AFRICAN TRUCK AND BUS MARKET AT THE END OF DECEMBER 2014
- End of 2014 – 31 554
- End of 2013 – 30 924
- Increase of 2% between end of 2013 and end of 2014
MEDIUM TRUCK MARKET
(3 501-8 500kg GVM)
- End of 2014 – 11 021
- End of 2013 – 11 584
- Decrease of 4.9% between end of 2013 and end of 2014
HEAVY TRUCK MARKET
(8 501-16 500kg GVM)
- End of 2014 – 5 476
- End of 2013 – 5 474
- Increase of 0.1% between end of 2013 and end of 2014
EXTRA-HEAVY TRUCK MARKET
(OVER 16 500kg GVM)
- End of 2014 – 13 804
- End of 2013 – 12 820
- Increase of 7.7% between end of 2013 and end of 2014
(OVER 8 500kg GVM)
- End of 2014 – 1 253
- End of 2013 – 1 046
- Increase of 19.8% between end of 2013 and end of 2014
TOTAL TRUCK AND BUS EXPORTS
- 2013 – 1 411
- 2012 – 1 206
Increase of 17% between total truck and bus exports at end of 2013 and end of 2014.
These retail sales figures were supplied by Lightstone Auto, the independent provider of South African new vehicle sales information to the Department of Trade and Industry and the automotive industry.
NOTE: These figures include aggregate figures in the various vehicle categories for Mercedes-Benz SA and Associated Motor Holdings (AMH).
For the time being Mercedes-Benz SA will only report aggregated sales data. For the month of December 2014, MBSA reported a total of 3 344 passenger vehicles, 614 commercial vehicles and 7 086 vehicles exported. The MBSA commercial market split volumes are estimates based on historical trends and forecasting techniques.