The South African truck market is “going through an interesting dynamic at the moment”, says UD Trucks South Africa (SA) marketing director Rory Schulz.
The medium commercial vehicle (MCV) market continues to drop – “it’s quite frightening” – while the heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) market is also declining, he notes.
“Normally the HCV market is relatively stable. It maybe goes up and down in small percentages. This is the bread and butter sector, it tells you how the economy is doing.”
The extra-heavy commercial vehicle (XHCV) market is the only segment that has been delivering some good news for the domestic truck market.
“Somewhere there is a fundamental shift taking place,” says Schulz. “Things are not as they should be. I’m a little bit nervous. I think the economy is struggling. I have a suspicion it has to do with the build-up to the  election.”
At the halfway market for 2018, Schulz says he expects truck sales to remain flat in 2018 compared with 2017, at about 25 500 units.
From a UD Trucks SA sales perspective, Schulz says the local arm of the Japanese manufacturer has been “tracking the market” this year.
The South African commercial vehicle market has ended the first half of 2018 with a slight year-on-year decline of 1.3%, compared with the same period last year. A total of 12 555 commercial vehicles has been sold so far this year.
Sales in the MCV segment are down 7.1% so far this year, to 3 644 units, while the HCV segment has seen a 6.3% decline, to 2 482 units.
The XHCV segment has gained 5% during the first half of the year, to 5 967 units.
Bus sales are down by 1.3% to 462 units.
UD Trucks chairperson Joachim Rosenberg says the parent company is hopeful of increasing its market share in the South African market, up from the current 10.8%.
“We want to grow. South Africa is a core market for us.”
He believes that winning market share happens with “hard product” – the truck itself.
UD Trucks SA currently has only three of the six UD Trucks truck ranges available in the local market – the Quester, Quon and Croner. What is not available are the Kuzer and Kazet MCV ranges and Condor HCV range.
UD Trucks is currently not active in the South African MCV market.
It is expected that the company will expand its local product range within the next three years.