The registration data at the end of 2019 pointed to a slow-down in new registrations, with an 8.0 per cent drop compared with the totals for new registrations for calendar year 2018, according to the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA).
The first quarter results, according to ARTSA Data analytics Executive Director, Rob Perkins, have always been a good litmus test for the remainder of the year, however, 2020 is likely to be different, with the recent nation-wide shutdown due to virus concerns.
"Through this, transport has continued to operate and, in many cases, provide surge capacity," he said.
"The building and mining sectors also appear to be continuing in operation. While this activity has protected the transport sector from the nation-wide shut down experienced by other sectors, the March quarter new registrations show a dramatic slowdown compared with the first quarter in the previous year.
Compared with the first quarter in 2019 new registrations for rigid vehicles, prime movers and special purpose vehicles have dropped around 25 per cent in Q1 2020 according to ARTSA. Trailers had a smaller drop of around 14 per cent, with buses being the only sector to show growth with a 7.5 per cent rise.
"The scale of this drop is ominous for future new registrations, as the nation works through the current challenge of Covid-19," said Perkins. "Note that total new registrations for Q1 2020 are still above the first quarter in 2015 and 2016. Historically the registrations in the latter quarters of the calendar year are always stronger, so for now all we can do is record a slow start to the year."
As for what this might mean going forward, Perkins said it would be a brave move to predict anything other than a challenging year ahead for now.
"In the past we have used the 'never registered' data for VIN numbers to give some indication as to whether the growth in new VIN creation was an indicator of potential new registrations," he said. "The data for this quarter is not yet available so unfortunately, we are unable to lean on that source. However, the downward trend has been established and the likelihood (as predicted in December 2019) that this would not be a record-breaking year is almost certain."
ARTSA Data analytics can supply a range of custom reports that provide considerable detail by manufacuturer, but can also be analysed by state, year and other variables such as registration category, VIN, postcode, age and more.
For more information on the data that can be purchased contact Perkins via email (email@example.com) or phone (+61 411 402 832).