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).
“April is usually a quieter month for the industry due to the many public holidays, but last month certainly surpassed the expectations of even the most optimistic industry commentators,” said Jacques Carelse, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.
“We believe that one of the major reasons for this steady growth is that the economy experienced an increase in business confidence to 52 points during the first quarter of the year. And as the industry plays such a vital role in the local South African economy, it is therefore no surprise that an increase in business confidence enticed fleet owners to buy.”
He said that the growth can also be attributed to a weaker Rand prompting companies to fleet up before some imminent price increases as a result of the frailer exchange rates.
During April, sales in the Medium Commercial Vehicle (MCV) segment increased by 23.7% when compared to the same month last year, to conclude the month on 904 units. The Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment also continued on its growth path, increasing sales by 10.7% to 403 units. A total of 1 123 units were sold in the Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle (EHCV) segment, an increase of 22.1%. The best performing segment was undoubtedly the Bus segment with a 41.4% increase in sales to 99 units.
UD Trucks believes that low interest rates and a highly competitive trading environment are also encouraging sales across the board.
“It is encouraging to note that the growth in the industry was experienced throughout all the segments and not just limited to one specific vehicle class,” said Carelse. “We are therefore hopeful that at least some of the growth can be sustained for the next number of months to bring the year-end total close to the forecasted 28 000 units.”