The latest truck sales figures for the heavy duty market released this week by the Truck Industry Council, show Kenworth reasserting its dominance after a difficult and uncertain year. After reporting numbers just behind Volvo in heavy duty, Kenworth have come up with a big month to put the Swedish pretender back in its place.
Both brands are manufactured here in Australia and the Volvo factory in Wacol was closed for a period earlier in the year, due to the pandemic. However, the plant’s layout meant it was relatively easy to continue normal Covid-safe production when it reopened.
For Kenworth’s plant at Bayswater there were two complicating factors, the facility is in a building phase as it expands and the layout of the assembly line made it difficult to meet Covid-safe protocols. However, the line has been realigned and the last month has seen production rise from eight a day to 12 a day, resulting in the brand being able to supply 230 trucks in October, only four below its achievement in October last year.
It is important to remember that 2019 was a real outlier, with unprecedented truck sales across the board. This year is different in many ways and the total number of trucks sold so far this year is sitting at 8440, well down from the 10586 figure achieved by October last year.
As a measure of the effect of the pandemic on the Australian economy, these numbers suggest we are travelling relatively well, after a record year. If more uncertainty hits the economy later in the year we can expect the numbers to fall away, as economic activity slows.
In terms of overall truck sales, Isuzu retains number one status at typical historic levels. In fact, Isuzu sold more trucks in October 2020, than it did in October 2019, 726. Although overall numbers for the Japanese brand are down around 400 for the year so far, compared to 2020.
Medium duty truck sales are a little down on 2019, as are the numbers in the light duty segment, but this year has seen strong sales results in this sector for Isuzu, eclipsing last year’s sales so far.
Meanwhile at the other end of the scale, Hyundai, which has seen a steady set of sales in light duty for both of the last two years, recorded its first sale of the year in heavy duty for the Xcient model.