Sales underpinned by economic growth and booming construction sector

Thomas McLachlan

Thomas McLachlan

South Africa's truck sales are expected to blast through the 35000 barrier this year, spurred by increased economic growth and the mushrooming construction sector in anticipation of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, according to industry players.

Frans Cloete, executive vice-president of operations at Nissan Diesel South Africa, yesterday said: "As South Africa approaches 2010, deadlines for the completion of capital projects will become increasingly non-negotiable."

McCarthy Motors chairman Brand Pretorius said last week: "While medium commercials have grown more than 16percent, the heavy commercial market is just flying at 23,8percent growth. It is by far the most buoyant segment."

Last year the local truck market sold 33083 vehicles, according to figures released by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa).

"Commercial vehicles overall were boosted by a significant rise in capital expenditure. Heavy commercials also benefited from the ongoing swing from rail to road. The number of trucks on the road is quite incredible," Pretorius said.

"We know that Transnet has ambitious plans. They are spending more than R60billion [on development], but in the meantime 'road' is definitely taking market share away from rail," Pretorius said.

David van Graan, group marketing executive for MAN Trucks and Buses South Africa said this trend would continue for at least the next three to five years.

In the light commercial segment of the industry, which sold almost 200000 units last year, the most significant performer was the half-ton bakkie.

This indicated increased growth in small businesses, Pretorius said. "We are underestimating growth in the small business sector."