Prime Mover Magazine

Truck sales still rank third best on record

Waning truck sales following a pedestrian November were expected to fall below sales results for the last four years according to the Truck Industry Council (TIC).

The drop comes amidst a stalling economy and economic uncertainty and follows a much touted record year for commercial vehicle sales not seen since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.

Total heavy vehicle sales for the month of November finished at 3,080 new deliveries.

A significant 647 units down on last November, the recent sales results continues a downward trend seen in recent months.

Should the current slump in truck sales continue through December, quarter four sales, according to the TIC, will be the lowest seen since 2015.

Despite the receding sales in the back half of the year, a solid second quarter and strong first quarter will be enough to ensure overall sales in 2019 are considered good, as the market heads towards a total of 37,000 for vehicles above 3,500kg GVM.

This would make it the third best result on record, after high watermarks of 2018 and 2007.

Disappointing Q3 sales has emerged as a trend with operators opting for end of financial year incentives and surging business prior to Christmas to justify purchasing in an increasingly benign consumer economy.

In November 1,031 heavy duty trucks were delivered, a substantial decrease of 26.3 percent on the year prior.

The trend is slightly better year-to-date with Heavy sales tracking down 11.7 percent over this time in 2018.

The Medium Duty segment also continued its downward trend of recent months in November, posting just 584 sales for the month, a decline of 126 trucks, or 17.8 percent over November 2018.

Year-to-date Medium segment sales are behind those of the same period last year by 8.9 percent, resulting in 666 fewer Medium truck sales delivered to date this year.

Light Duty truck sales have also been slowing considerably since the midpoint of the year with 946 new Light trucks sold in November, down 18.0 percent over the same period in 2018.

LD Vans posted another very solid month of sales in November perhaps reflecting the bigger role last mile deliveries were playing in the market ahead of the holiday season.

A total of 519 units were delivered, 131 more vans when compared with November 2018, making it the second best November result for vans, since the high mark of 530 registered in November, 2015. 

The year-to-date tally stands at 5801 vans, an increase of 4.4 percent (244 vans) compared with the same period in 2018.

This is the strongest eleven month year-to-date van result ever posted, eclipsing the previous best mark set last year.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council said all truck segments were struggling at a time of the year where sales are typically strong.

“The months of October and November are generally strong for new trucks sales, particularly in the Heavy Duty segment, as fleets gear up for the festive season demands," he said in a statement.

"Sales have slowed to the point that we are now potentially facing the worst final quarter result for heavy vehicle sales in four years. Even more concerning is the market drop witnessed since June this year, a trend that shows no sign of improvement. If this movement continues into next year, truck sales in 2020 could fall to levels not seen for more than ten years and of course this would lead to a further aging of our already old truck fleet, slowing the take-up of advanced safety and environmental technologies," said McMullan.

He added, "The Truck Industry Council has been calling on government for some time now to introduce incentives, such as those outlined in the TIC National Truck Plan, to aid the purchase of new safer and more environmentally advanced trucks, which in turn will provide ongoing benefits for all Australians.”

“On a positive note, I am encouraging to see Light Duty Van sales continue to grow over the results posted in 2018.” he said.

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