Keep it real, say truck makers
Plans to encourage local production of trucks and buses mustn’t ignore reality, says the industry
A single Isuzu factory in Japan builds more trucks in a year than the entire SA motor industry sells, says Isuzu Trucks chief operations officer Craig Uren — underlining, in one sentence, the formidable challenge in trying to create a sustainable local truck manufacturing industry. The department of trade & industry (DTI) wants to fully incorporate trucks and buses into the next phase of its automotive development policy, from 2021. The current automotive production and development programme (APDP) pays lip-service to heavy vehicles, while concentrating on cars and light commercial vehicles. It’s easy to see why: of 600,000 vehicles built in SA in 2016, only 28,000 were trucks and buses. The rest were cars and bakkies. Most of those 28,000 were reassembled from mainly imported kits. While some components are sourced from within SA, volumes are too small to justify wholesale investment in the manufacture of truck parts. Torbjörn Christensson, president of Volvo Southern Africa, says ...