Johannesburg – After declining for two years in a row, sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles and buses are likely to show a modest improvement in 2017, according to Isuzu Truck SA COO Craig Uren.
Speaking at a media briefing at Kyalami on Thursday, Uren predicted that the total commercial vehicle market (excluding LCVs) would total 27 500 units in 2017, up 1.8 percent from last year’s 27 041 units. However, this also factors in 500 units that another manufacturer is expected to report into a different segment, so in real terms we could be looking at growth of two to three percent.
Uren highlighted a few of the global challenges that are likely to affect South Africa’s economy in the coming year, including uncertainty over Trump’s policies, risks to the Eurozone amidst conservative voting patterns and rising oil prices as Opec fights to regain its former glory.
That last point could have the biggest short-term impact on ordinary South Africans, Uren warning that local fuel prices could rise by up to two rand a litre in the next six months, factoring in the steep rise in fuel levies that a cash-strapped Treasury could announce in February.
As far as the truck market goes, it’s the ‘little guys’ that are taking the biggest hit as the bigger businesses that operate heavies have access to greater resources, such as financing, allowing them to weather economic storms.
To that end, medium commercial vehicle sales took a far bigger hit in 2016 (down 18.7 percent to 8447 units), while the heavies declined 7.4 percent to 18 594.