2012 Truck Sales Into Southern Africa Up By 32.9%

13 January 2013 | Print

UD Trucks Southern Africa was once again the country’s top truck exporter, claiming 23% of the market share with a total of 245 units exported into Africa during 2012. Last year, total sales in the export sector grew by a significant 32.9% to 1 065 units when compared to that of 2011.

This is according to the latest combined results* released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa), Associated Motor Holdings (AMH) and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors (AAD). *(Mercedes-Benz South Africa only reported aggregated sales data but Naamsa estimates based on historical trends and forecasting, are included here.)

“We are very pleased about the growth in the export market during the past year, as it is evidence of the great potential still lingering in the southern African truck market,” said Jacques Carelse, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.  “It is by now well-known that many of Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region in the world, and with that comes aspects like increased infrastructural development which subsequently leads to a greater need for trucks.”

Since taking on increased responsibilities for the region, UD Trucks Southern Africa has expanded its footprint to now include more than 60 dealers in the southern African region, including Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“We believe our strength lies in the fact that we are able to offer southern African fleets the support they need wherever they are in the region.  In addition, we are focussed on balancing the cost involved in operating a fleet, with the products and service efficiency we offer,” said Carelse. 

Local Truck Industry Expects Marginal Growth in 2013

Looking at the year-on-year performance of total truck market, sales increased slightly by 3.9% to 27 747 units. 

“Even though the market finished 2012 in the black, it was certainly a year filled with many challenges that placed a damper on domestic truck sales,” said Carelse.  “Macroeconomic factors like the ongoing Eurozone debt crisis, lower business confidence levels (at 94.1), as well as widespread labour unrest throughout the year, saw truck sales fall around four hundred units short of industry forecasts made at the beginning of 2012.

When compared to 2011, sales in the Medium Commercial Vehicle sector increased by 6% to 9 816 units, while the Heavy Commercial Vehicles sector grew by 5.1% to 4 945 units.  The Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle sector retailed 11 894 units, an increase of 1.2% when compared to 2011.  The Bus sector also rallied to conclude the year on 1 092 units, a 10.8% increase in sales. 

UD Trucks Southern Africa saw a slight drop in sales to a total of 2 992 units, mainly due to some the run in and run out campaign for the new Quon EHCV range launched in March 2012. 

According to Carelse, total truck sales are expected to continue to grow in 2013, albeit at a low rate of around 3.78%**, to 28 114 units.

“We expect the market to be down during the first six months of the year, with a recovery forecasted for the latter half of 2013 due to the delayed positive effect of the re-election of President Obama in the USA and an increased local understanding of the Eurozone debt crisis,” said Carelse.  “By July, business confidence should settle down once again, if the various countrywide labour disputes are effectively addressed.”

All segments are expected to grow during 2013, with MCVs forecasted to retail around 10 100 units, a 7.8% growth on 2012’s results, HCV by 6.1% to 5 250 units, EHCV by a slight 1.2% to 11 614 units, and Bus sales by 5.3% to 1 150 units.  **AMH excluded in this forecast as they do not report segment details.

UD Trucks in 2013 and Beyond

In 2013, UD Trucks Southern Africa will continue its drive to offer customers trucking solutions that suit their specific business and operating conditions.  For this reason, the company is currently planning, researching and testing a new range of vehicles that are set to change the way southern African fleet owners think about trucks. 

“To us, trucking is so much more than just owning a truck.  It is about being there when our customers need it most.  About not compromising on the essentials and offering products and services that potentially generate the most profit for our customers,” said Carelse. 

As part of the world’s second largest trucking company, UD Trucks Southern Africa is able to offer customers the best of three worlds. 

“By combining the power of our Japanese heritage of quality engineering and manufacturing, and the global strength, modernity and resources of the Volvo Group, with our local expertise, skills and support, we are in a very unique position to offer customers the transport solutions they need,” said Carelse.

As part of this commitment to its customers, UD Trucks’ extensive dealer network has invested more than R100 million in the upgrade and establishment of facilities around the southern African region, with new key dealerships opening in Rustenburg and Pretoria during 2013. 

Another key focus area for the company is training. 

Over the past three years, UD Trucks Southern Africa has invested more than R9 million in the training of staff and members of the community.  The company is currently training 180 students in a variety of fields, including diesel mechanics, sales and parts consultants, service advisors, industrial and mechanical engineering, as well as a number of experiential learners in HR, marketing, finance and IT.

UD Trucks also offers a unique training initiative for disabled learners, with the new graduates gaining a National Certificate in Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Industries. 

“We believe in the vital importance of training and investing in the future of our employees and surrounding community,” said Carelse.  “We aim to provide ongoing developmental opportunities that not only allow us as a company to achieve our business objectives, but also reduces the unemployment rate in the country and close the skills gap in South Africa and within the company itself.”

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