In­dus­try feel­ing ef­fects of eco­nomic un­ease

Strike ac­tion and a ner­vous econ­omy are hav­ing an im­pact on the in­dus­try

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - MO­TOR NEWS RE­PORTER

WHILE the sov­er­eign debt cri­sis in Europe con­tin­ues to ham­per trad­ing con­di­tions in emerg­ing mar­kets, sev­eral in­di­ca­tors sug­gest that in­vestor con­fi­dence in the South African econ­omy was se­verely un­der­mined by re­cent labour un­rest, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in the sales of new trucks and buses.

Ac­cord­ing to Naamsa (Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers of South Africa); “The tragic events at Marikana to­gether with the cur­rent high level of in­dus­trial ac­tion in an in­creas­ing num­ber of sec­tors in the econ­omy, has dented busi­ness con­fi­dence in South Africa. Con­sumers sim­i­larly have been af­fected and con­cerns about the macro so­cioe­co­nomic en­vi­ron­ment in the coun­try are likely to have re­sulted in a de­fer­ral of pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions.”

Au­gust 2012 sales fig­ures of new heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles showed an 8% drop on the cor­re­spond­ing month in 2011, coin­cid­ing with the events at Marikana mid­way through the month. The strike ac­tion by truck driv­ers has ex­ac­er­bated an al­ready ten­u­ous sit­u­a­tion, caus­ing fur­ther de­clines in this sec­tor of the lo­cal au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

“Sales of ve­hi­cles in the heavy truck and bus seg­ments of the In­dus­try recorded a de­crease of 129 units or 7.7% dur­ing Septem­ber 2012, com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing month last year. The weak sales per­for­mance also re­flected lower busi­ness con­fi­dence,” re­ports Naamsa.

Lo­cal sales vol­umes of heavy trucks (8,501kg-16,500kg GVM) dur­ing Septem­ber 2012 fell by 3%, ex­tra-heavy truck vol­umes de­clined by 9.1% and new heavy 20 881 20 225 In­crease of 3.2% be­tween YTD 2011 and YTD 2010 Septem­ber 2012 2 322 Au­gust 2012 2 464 Septem­ber 2011 2 524 De­crease of 8.1% be­tween sales in Septem­ber 2012 and Septem­ber 2011 *NOTE: These fig­ures in­clude fig­ures for As­so­ci­ated Mo­tor Hold­ings (AMH), but NOT for Mercedes Benz SA, which is cur­rently re­port­ing only ag­gre­gated fig­ures fol­low­ing a di­rec­tive from Daim­ler in Ger­many. bus sales vol­umes dropped by 14.8%. Some com­fort was drawn from pos­i­tive in­tra-Africa ex­port vol­umes how­ever, where new heavy truck sales vol­umes rose by 10.5%, with ex­tra-heavy truck ex­ports reg­is­ter­ing an im­pres­sive 152.6% rise on Septem­ber last year. New heavy bus ex­port vol­umes rose by 42.9%, com­pared to 3 643 3 627 In­crease of 0.4% be­tween YTD 2012 and YTD 2011 Septem­ber 2012 448 Au­gust 2012 352 Septem­ber 2011 462 De­crease of 3% be­tween sales in Septem­ber 2012 and Septem­ber 2011 Septem­ber 2011, states Naamsa.

De­spite these neg­a­tive re­sults, lo­cal year-to-date fig­ures in all three seg­ments re­main mar­ginal but pos­i­tive, with heavy truck sales dur­ing the first nine months of 2012 up by 0.4%, ex­tra-heavy trucks up by 2.8% and heavy buses up by 3% on the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year.

Year-to-date ex­port fig­ures in all three cat­e­gories sug­gest solid growth in mar­kets north of the Lim­popo, with heavy truck ex­ports up by 98.9%, ex­tra-heavy truck ex­ports up by 46.4% and heavy bus ex­ports climb­ing by 95.2% dur­ing the first nine months of this year, com­pared to the cor­re­spond­ing 2011 pe­riod re­spec­tively.

Bruce Dick­son, deputy CEO, MAN Truck & Bus SA, says: “The heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­dus­try is cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive and fleet own­ers are ex­tremely sen­si­tive to volatil­ity in the broader eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, both from an op­er­a­tional point of view and from a new ve­hi­cle pro­cure­ment per­spec­tive. The com­bined ef­fects of slowed for­eign in­vest­ment and re­cent vi­o­lent labour ac­tion in this coun­try have no doubt damp­ened buy­ing pat­terns in the heavy road fleet mar­ket over the last two months.

“De­spite the cur­rent in­sta­bil­ity in our labour mar­ket and the ris­ing cost of diesel, the steady climb of South African heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle ex­ports into Africa is a pos­i­tive sign that the lo­cal in­dus­try has much room for growth. Re­gard­ing the con­strained do­mes­tic mar­ket, fleet op­er­a­tors can mit­i­gate the im­pact of the neg­a­tive macro-eco­nomic fac­tors by low­er­ing their over­all oper­at­ing costs through the de­ploy­ment of fuel-ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles and by im­ple­ment­ing proac­tive man­age­ment method­olo­gies to im­prove fleet ef­fi­cien­cies and driver sat­is­fac­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.