South Africa is largest market of commercial vehicles in Africa. The corporate fleet market in South Africa is estimated at 1.2 million vehicles. Figures by the Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) and the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) indicate that approximately 600,000 of these are either leased or rented, or an external provider manages the vehicle maintenance on behalf of the client.
The main service providers in South Africa are ABSA Vehicle Management, Avis Fleet Services, Bidvest, Daimler Fleet Management, Eqstra Fleet Management, Fleet Africa, Imperial Fleet Services, Liquid Capital, Standard Bank, and Wesbank.
According to SAVRALA, there are 29 brands in the South Africa market, with the top five brands being Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, KIA, and Hyundai.
Outside of South Africa, the fleet market in Sub-Saharan Africa faces many challenges, such as insufficient availability of capital, but also a limited skills employment base and risks due to political instability.
The biggest fleet challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa is vehicle funding. With the softness in pricing for commodities, a key economic engine with many Sub-Saharan economies, banks are selective in lending and the availability of funds has become a challenge. With the shortage of liquidity, companies are reluctant to tie up working capital in non-core assets.
In addition, local governments in Sub-Saharan Africa insist fleet management companies use local banks, but these banks often don’t have the capacity to provide sufficient funding.
A growing segment of the commercial vehicles market is low-cost vehicles from Chinese and Korean OEMs. Currently, most commercial vehicles in Africa are imported either from Europe or Asia.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are the largest new-vehicle markets. However, the drop in oil prices has negatively impacted the Nigerian automotive market with only 21,270 units sold in the first half of calendar-year 2016. Likewise, new vehicles sales have plummetted to only 6,946 units in Kenya in the first half of 2016, primarily due to a sluggish economy caused by lower commodity prices.
Significant investment by China in infrastructure projects across the entire Sub-Saharan African region is stimulating growth, but there is concern about government commitments to ongoing maintenance of these new roads.