South Africa’s disappointing economic growth will remain a challenge in 2020
One of South Africa’s leading truck and trailer building companies, Serco, aims to achieve moderate growth in 2020 after increasing its market share during the past year. CEO Clinton Holcroft says the company, which began 2019 with a strong order book, saw business confidence wane until the latter part of the year, when festive season demand resulted in retailers needing more vehicles to handle growing volumes.
“The positive start stalled somewhat when customers started putting on the brakes regarding new vehicle purchases,” he says. “Though business improved in the latter quarter, we expect a slow start to 2020.”
Holcroft says his company is up to the challenge of helping grow the local economy. “As a proudly South African manufacturer we have boosted employment over the past four years through increasing market share and keeping global imports down through a stringent cost focus and efficiency improvements.”
He adds that highlights of Serco’s year included two significant accolades – achieving the gold certificate in Automechanika Johannesburg’s Innovation Awards competition for the development of a thermally efficient refrigerated trailer, and topping the honour’s list in the 2019 Productivity Awards as KwaZulu-Natal’s regional champion in the corporate sector.
According to Holcroft, the market has seen good value in the company’s Frostliner Protec Steel refrigerated trailer. “The product is clearly giving customers the advantage of reduced maintenance and improved durability and, as a result, Serco is on track to match last year’s sales in a vehicle market which has been stagnant.”
While there has been general disappointment that the country’s economy has not performed as hoped, Holcroft predicts that there may be a year or two of headwinds before things improve.
“However, I believe the next five years will be better than the last five, so it is a case of us continuing to do what we do now, but doing it better and smarter. My hope is that South Africa will be seen as an attractive country in which to invest,” he concludes.