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).
“Lower interest rates and a competitive trading environment that resulted in a range of incentives by truck manufacturers, are stimulating fleet owners’ propensity to buy,” said Jacques Carelse, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.
Sales in the Medium Commercial Vehicle (MCV) segment led the way with a 3.3% increase over March 2012’s results, totaling 1 015 units. Another segment that completed March in the black was the Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle (EHCV) segment, recording a 2.5% increase in sales to 1 036 units. The so-called bread-and-butter Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment was down by 7.7% to 393 units, while Bus sales slumped by 14.5% to 112 units.
Looking at the year-on-year figures up until the end of March, sales are continuing to grow, albeit at a low rate of 1.18% to 6 813 units.
“Although we expect sales to continue to grow in April, some external factors could impact the industry in the year ahead. These include rising inflation and a volatile rand that could impact fleet owner’s replacement schedules as it directly affects the affordability of trucks,” said Carelse.
“We do, however, remain hopeful that the positive performance during the first three months of the year will continue throughout the remainder of 2013, enabling the market to reach a forecasted total of around 28 000 units.”
He said that UD Trucks Southern Africa is also supportive of the newly-announced Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) as it aims to build a more competitive local manufacturing industry with strong growth and employment.
“As a local truck manufacturer with a plant in Rosslyn, we are pleased to see that the plan, announced by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, aims to strengthen the government’s support of the South African automotive industry,” said Carelse.