The sales figures for the truck market in 2013 are in from the Truck Industry Council. As usual there were some winners and some losers but, significantly, last year marked the 25th time Isuzu have come out as market leader.
Looked at from an overall perspective the year was a holding steady year. There was a small decrease in numbers from 2012 but the final result was above 30,000, a number seen as the benchmark for the market, in recent years.
Unusually, the normally buoyant heavy duty market saw a fall in the total compared to 2012, but still finished with over 11,000. Medium duty continues to perform relatively strongly, managing to hold sales to just a 0.9 per cent fall.
Unfortunately, the light duty segment could not hold its ground and suffered a 5.2 per cent fall in sales numbers. At the same time, the light duty van sector showed an increase of 19.1 per cent.
These numbers do suggest some structural change taking place in the market in the last one to two years. However, the dramatic increase in van numbers can be partly explained by the re-rating of the Renault Master taking it over 4.5 tonne GVM and into the the statistics.
The first decade of this century saw the medium duty market softening as light duty sales grew by leap and bounds. Now, the pendulum seems to be swinging back in favour of the heavier segment. Heavy duty truck sales, themselves, may be unexciting but can be expected to follow trends in the overall economy as it continues to grow steadily.
Achieving 25 straight years at number on in the truck market is not to be sniffed at, Isuzu continue to dominate the light and medium duty markets at 39.9 and 38 per cent market share respectively. Overall at 22.2 per cent of all trucks sold, Isuzu remain in an extremely strong position. The company is constantly looking to develop, improving on the strong relationship with the dealer group and extending the number of models, now up to 160!
A number of brands bucked the trends and upped their sales over their 2012 mark, including Scania (now 5.9 per cent of heavy duty), Fuso ( back up over 10 per cent of the total market), Kenworth (up by just 32), Volvo, Freightliner and DAF.
These latest figures reflect the new reality of the Australian economy. We are not going to see the booming period of 2005-2008 any time soon. Rationality, or something akin to rationality, has finally returned to the buying decisions of the trucking industry.