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Prime Mover Magazine

Truck sales records blitzed in 2018

The final tally for Australia’s truck and van sales for 2018 has smashed the previous record set in the pre-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) year of 2007.

The new record of 41,628 units has eclipsed the previous peak of 38,131 units in 2007 by a substantial 3,497 units, representing an 8.4 per cent increase.

In addition to this being the first time the combined truck and van market has cracked 40,000 units, it’s also the first instance of a truck manufacturer exceeding 10,000 sales in a calendar year in this country.

Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Isuzu Australia, celebrates an unprecedented 30 consecutive years as Australia’s most popular truck brand, selling 10,027 units in 2018.

While a new overall market record was set last year, there were also a number of other records broken earlier in the year due to strong first, second and third quarter sales.

However, the bullish run of sales largely tapered off in the fourth quarter with the only exception being the light-duty truck segment, posting record sales in December 2018 which significantly boosted its fourth quarter performance.

Despite the general slowing of sales in the fourth quarter, 2018 saw all segments with the exception of vans post double digit percentage growth over 2017 sales. The van segment was up just 1.0 per cent at the end of 2018 over the previous year’s result.

Taking a closer look at the results for the fourth quarter 2018, the Truck Industry Council’s (TIC) T-Mark figures show sales of 10,963 vehicles.

This was only 450 vehicles or 4.1 per cent greater than for the last quarter of 2017 and well down on the average market growth of 13.0 per cent seen for the full year 2018 over the previous year.

The heavy-duty truck segment managed to amass sales of 1,186 units for the month of December, down 64 units or -5.1 per cent over the December 2017 result.

Overall, 2018 saw much healthier heavy truck sales and the end of year total of 14,344 was a new record for the segment surpassing the 2007 peak of 13,342 by 1,002, or 7.0 per cent, and 2017 sales of 12,002 by 19.5 per cent.

The medium-duty truck segment saw solid growth over the year and while December was another positive month, MD truck sales also slowed in the final quarter of 2018 as with their heavy-duty big brothers.

The December 2018 total was 693 units, representing 3.9 percent growth (26 trucks) over December 2017. The total tally of 8,210 MD truck sales for 2018 eclipsed that of 2017 by a significant 12.3 per cent, or 898 trucks. However, the 2018 result is well below the segment peak of 2007 when 9,923 medium-duty trucks were delivered.

This and long-term sales results show the segment is in decline. In 2018 medium-duty truck sales accounted for just 19.4 per cent of new heavy vehicles sold in Australia, well down on the 2001 peak of 30.9 per cent.

As previously mentioned, the light-duty truck segment for the month of December saw record sales with 1,188 deliveries for the month, up 12.4 per cent (131 trucks) over December 2017, this being the previous best December result for LD truck deliveries.

A total of 11,628 ‘little trucks’ were delivered last year, breaking the previous best light-duty truck sales mark set in 2017 by 1,501 trucks, a 12.9 per cent rise.

The light-duty van segment recorded a similar result in 2018 as it did in 2017. By year’s end up just 1.0 per cent (62 Vans) over the previous year’s result. A total of 5,945 heavy commercial vans were sold in 2018 verses 5,883 vans in 2017. This was a new record for Australian van sales as the previous best mark was set in 2017.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of TIC, Tony McMullan, 2018 was a watershed year for truck sales in Australia.

“It was pleasing to see 2018 finish by setting a new all-time sales record for new truck sales in Australia, finally eclipsing the pre-GFC peak set in 2007,” said McMullan.

“It was equally pleasing to see that new truck and van sales broke through the 40,000 mark for the first time, with the final figure of 41,628 sales surpassing industry expectations.”

(Image: Truck Industry Council CEO, Tony McMullan.)

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