Growth expectations

UD Trucks the top truck exporter

UD Trucks top truck exporter

This year could be a further growth year for the truck industry in South Africa, with sales expected to increase by 3% over 2012 to reach 28 114 units, said UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) corporate planning and marketing general manager, Rory Schulz (pictured) on15 January.

The truck market numbered 27 296 units in 2012, up 3.7% from 2011’s 26 302 units. Truck exports from South Africa were up 32.9%  in 2012, to 1 065 units.

Schulz said the South African truck market was unlikely again to see such rapid growth as prior to the global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009, but added that the current growth pattern “was more sustainable and realistic, making planning easier”.

South Africa’s truck market reached 37 059 units in 2007.

This year would not be a great one for extra-heavy trucks, however, warned Schulz, as the meagre, below-market gains of 1.2% growth last year were likely to be erased, with this segment of the market expected to contract by 2.4%.

This move, he said, could be attributed to developments in the rail sector, actively fighting to lure back freight from road transport operators.

“What we see is a healthier shift in goods moving to rail.”

Schulz added that the muted fortunes of the extra-heavy segment in 2012 had been helped along by the opening of Transnet’s new R23-billion multiproduct pipeline from Durban to Gauteng, which had eaten into fuel tanker demand.

He said there was no reason for truck operators and suppliers “to panic” about the resurgence of rail in South Africa, as freight operator Transnet moved to reinvest in South Africa’s rail sector. He warned, however, that market dynamics would change.

“We need to support that shift in transport logistics in South Africa when we do our planning.”

UDTSA expected South Africa’s heavy truck market to grow by 6.1% in 2013 over 2012, the medium truck market by 7.8%, and the bus market by 5.3%.

The local arm of the Japanese truck brand was hopeful of a stable year in 2013, following on from its own sales contracting by 7.4% to 2 992 units in 2012. However, UDTSA ended the year as the country’s top truck exporter, at 245 units.

Schulz believed that 2014 would be a stronger year for UDTSA, part of the global Volvo group, as it would start the introduction of an entirely new product line-up, aimed especially at the value-plus market, through to 2017.

UDTSA managing director Jacques Carelse (pictured, right) added that UD Trucks' positioning within the Volvo group was as the “smart, modern, Japanese value brand”.

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