Heavy Truck Sales Still Down

The heavy duty truck market continues to be sluggish as lighter trucks still maintain good numbers. Figures released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) as part of its T-Mark truck market sales database, show truck sales trends continue on a steady course, with some exceptions.

Total Australian truck sales for the first nine months of 2015 were 23,388 units, or 4.8 per cent above the tally achieved for the same period in 2014. The growth shown this year was mirrored by the individual month result for September with growth over September 2014 of 4.4 per cent. The third quarter of this calendar year was also 3.6 per cent higher than third quarter 2014.

However, according to the TIC, growth in the 2015 market has come from the light end with Light Duty truck and van sales up significantly, Medium Duty sales are up slightly, while Heavy Duty truck sales continue to decline. This was again the trend seen in quarter three.

The July to September quarter saw total T-Mark sales of 8,248 units, this was 296 units more than for the third quarter of 2014. The Light Duty Truck Segment for September posted the best result of all sectors, recording a sales rise of a very healthy 21.8 per cent over the September 2014 result, and providing a 9-month tally of 7,113 units, a gain of 11.6 per cent on the same period for 2014.

In Medium Duty there was slight growth in September 2015 with monthly sales of 622 units, 3.0 per cent higher than September 2014. This was also a bumper month for Hino in this segment, with the Japanese truck maker running Isuzu close just ten truck behind for the month at 235 medium duty sales.

There were 893 heavy duty sales for the month, 1.9 per cent lower than September 2014. TIC says heavy duty sales year-to-date remain are much weaker than for 2014, down 7.0 per cent to the end of September. The nine-month 2015 tally came to 7,221 units, which is the worst result since 2011.

The Light Duty Van Segment has outperformed all expectations this year, however sales cooled somewhat in September with sales of only 435 units, down 9.2 per cent on September 2014. However year-to-date the van market remains very strong up 22.8 per cent over the 2014 market and the third quarter result of 1,316 unit sales is an all-time third quarter record for the segment.

TIC Chief Executive Officer, Tony McMullan, is hopeful that the new Prime Minister and the new Coalition cabinet will be the catalyst for renewed business confidence and the capital expenditure required to kick start growth at the top end of the truck market. Translating into improved Heavy Duty truck sales late in 2015 and 2016.

“The July to September quarter was very much a repeat of the sales results we have experienced throughout 2015,” said McMullan. “The market is up over that of 2014, however the growth has been at the light end of the market in the Light Duty truck and van segments. Medium Duty truck sales are up slightly, however Heavy Duty truck sales continue to wane and this is of great concern to myself and the industry as this will result in an ageing of the heavy truck fleet in Australia.

“I hope that our new Prime Minister and his revised cabinet will consider financial incentives, such as those outlined in TIC’s National Truck Plan and provide the necessary business confidence for transport companies to make the larger dollar capital investment decisions that are required to renew their Heavy Duty truck fleets and in doing so move Australia towards a younger, safer, environmentally cleaner and more productive national truck fleet.”

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