The heavy commercial vehicle segment has declined 4.9% year on year to 3,345 units. Picture: SUPPLIED
The heavy commercial vehicle segment has declined 4.9% year on year to 3,345 units. Picture: SUPPLIED

Though truck sales showed year-on-year growth at the end of August, it has been tough going for the SA commercial vehicle market over the past months. 

According to the latest year-to-date sales figures released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa), new commercial vehicle sales increased 3.1% compared with the first eight months of 2018.  This brought the total of new trucks and buses sold in 2019 to 17,919 at the end of August. 

Looking more closely at the various segments in a year-on-year comparison, the bus segment took the biggest hit, with sales in this segment decreasing 11.8% so far this year to a total of only 570 units. 

The heavy commercial vehicle segment has declined 4.9% year on year to 3,345 units, as well as a noticeable drop of 28.5% in monthly sales from July to August 2019.

Even as passenger vehicle sales continue to decline, the medium commercial vehicle segment has been buoyant and has recorded 12.1% growth year to date, to reach a total of 5,632 units by the end of August. Sales of extra heavy commercial vehicles increased 2.1% to 8,372 units.

“The economy is being negatively impacted by numerous global and local factors, which of course have an adverse effect on the local truck market,” said Gert Swanepoel, MD of UD Trucks Southern Africa. 

“We are anticipating a tough couple of months ahead, even though the market has shown some resilience in spite of challenges like currency fluctuations, low business confidence and political uncertainty.

“The local truck market is moving into an interesting era in Southern Africa, as we are dealing with a variety of customers who require vehicles that have a range of capabilities and specifications, from the very basic to advanced technology and innovations,” said Swanepoel.

Consumers and businesses remain under financial pressure and the new-vehicle market is feeling the pressure of the reduced spending power with regards to vehicle purchases, says Naamsa.

The Absa purchasing managers’ index reiterated the weak domestic demand environment, not just in its decline from 52.1 index points in July to 45.7 index points in August, but in particular the magnitude of the decline.

Naamsa says that business and consumer confidence levels remain low. Worryingly, purchasing managers expect conditions to worsen.