MORE AND BIGGER
THE ABOVE AVERAGE growth in car sales over the past two years is dominating the news so much that the performance of South Africa’s truck industry is hardly noticed.
Industry organisation Naamsa’s statistics for southern Africa show that truck sales have been rising since 2000. Last year, 33 080 trucks and buses were sold, 182% more than the 11 725 six years’ earlier. SA’s sales dominate those figures.
The industry’s explanation for this sustained growth is the same as the reasons for the major increase in car sales: economic prosperity, a strong rand that makes imports cheaper and low interest rates. But there’s one additional factor: rail transport has become so bad that 75% of all freight is now transported by road.
The exceptional growth in the sales of heavy-duty and extra heavyduty trucks is especially noticeable. Though it’s off a lower base, sales of heavy trucks increased by 29,3% last year compared to 2005 and the figure for extra heavy-duty trucks increased by 21,6%. That compares with the industry average of around 20%.
Naamsa’s figures for January this year (compared with the same month last year) confirm the trend. Sales of all motor vehicles (cars, buses and trucks) grew by an annualised 6,9%, but 41,5% more extra-heavy-duty trucks were sold. Would that have anything to do with the 2010 Soccer World Cup?