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Truck and bus market, some gains, some losses

hino_500Hino has overtaken its long-term Japanese rival, Isuzu, in retail truck and bus sales in South Africa for the first six months of 2016. Both companies’ totals were down on their sales totals at the halfway mark in 2015, in line with a drop of 9,4% in SA’s total truck and bus market.

Hino sales totalled 1 771 units compared to 1 665 units for Isuzu. At the end of June 2015 the gap had been 23 units in favour of Isuzu.

UD Trucks, with 1 022 units sold in the first half of 2015, retained third place in the list of truck and bus companies providing detailed monthly sales reports to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Mercedes-Benz SA, which remains the leading group of brands in terms of total sales, continues with its policy of not providing detailed sales figures to the authorities. MBSA retails MercedesBenz, Freightliner and Mitsubishi Fuso products, but declines to split total sales into the various brands. The MBSA Group’s total sales of 3 275 units in the first six months of 2016 was 7,1% below the 3 526 units sold in the same period last year.

Hino sales totalled 1 771 units compared to 1 665 units for Isuzu

Hino continued to lead the way in the medium truck segment, which has slumped in total by a staggering 19%. Hino held 27,4% of the segment compared to 24,6% at the same time in the previous year.

This big drop in medium truck sales is obviously linked to the ongoing downturn in the overall SA economy and the drop in business confidence, as most of these trucks are bought by smaller businesses or used for urban deliveries by the big companies.

Big drop in medium truck sales linked to the ongoing downturn in SA economy

Isuzu continued to set the pace in the heavy truck segment, well ahead of Japanese rivals UD Trucks and Hino. Notable in this sector was the fact that Chinese brand FAW almost doubled its sales in the six month period, selling 355 units YTD in 2016. Interestingly, the large truck segment remains fairly stable in a falling market. Sales in the first six months of 2016 at 2 605 units were less than 1% lower than at the same period a year ago.

isuzu_850The extra-heavy truck market, which is by far the largest segment in the overall truck and bus market, fell 6,7% YTD, with sales of 5 898 units compared to 6 321 units in the same period last year.

Discounting the MBSA brands we see the Volvo FH/FM series overtaking Scania at the top of the list. UD Trucks remains in third spot, with MAN languishing in fourth ahead of Iveco.

MAN, which used to be a major player in this premium segment, saw its sales fall 32% on a YTD basis. This resulted in its share of the segment falling from 9% to 6,6%. However, MAN is preparing to fight back with a restructuring of the local company and relocation to new premises in Modderfontein. In fact, it has invested R75 million as a demonstration of its long-term commitment to South Africa.

The large bus market was the only sector to show some growth, admittedly off a low base. Sales in the first six months of 2016 totalled 595 units compared to the 569 sold in the same period last year. Here MAN continued to hold the upper hand with 149 units sold, compared to the 143 sold by Scania. Both these brands belong to the Volkswagen Group.

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Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa
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