March sales pick up

Truck sales figures from the Truck Industry Council show a a sharp rise in overall truck sales in March. Some optimism seems to be appearing in parts of the transport industry as overall truck sales figures pick up in sections of the market.

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Of the 6615 trucks sold already this year, 2893 were sold in March. This reflects the slow start to the year in truck sales, as well as the clear spike in numbers in March. However, the rise in sales has been patchy, with some segments of the market doing much better than others.

The lighter end of the market did much better than the heavy duty segment. In fact, the figures for the over 15 tonnes GVM truck market remain quite static, with truck sales still lacking the buoyancy they have maintained through the last few years.

In terms of overall numbers for the years so far, there have been some winners and losers. Isuzu’s figures are down, while those of those of its nearest rivals, Hino and Fuso are up, when compared to the results in the first quarter of last year.

All through the brands the message is a mixed one, with some manufacturers clearly out-performing last year, and others dropping well below the sales for 2014. The wide variation in performance seems to reflect the feeling in the market, generally. There is some uncertainty about the economic climate, but, for some, there is plenty of work and new trucks are needed.

In the heavy duty market, both Kenworth and Volvo have started the year well. The rest of the heavy duty market, behind these top two, are recording lower figures than those last year. Only Fuso and Dennis Eagle buck this trend recording sales slightly above the 2014 result for the first quarter.

For medium duty trucks sales, it is very much business as usual with sales closely matching those from last year. Market share has also remained reasonably constant in this segment of the market, apart from Hino who has seen a blip in numbers to come in a close second, just seven behind Isuzu, in March medium duty truck sales.

The blip for Hino is even more pronounced in the light duty truck market. The Japanese importer nabbed first place in the sales figures from Isuzu, by a margin of six, in the numbers for March. This may well be the first time Hino have been in this position since the introduction of the Dutro model at the beginning of the century.

“It is encouraging to see a good result in March, however the result was brought about by some very good Light Duty Truck sales and some exceptional Light Duty Van sales, while Heavy Truck sales continue to decline,” said Tony McMullan, TIC CEO. “It must also be remembered that year-to date overall sales lag those of 2014, so the market is still weak.

“I am particularly concerned that Heavy Truck sales are showing no sign of recovery and this probably indicates the lack of business confidence in the Australian market at present. It appears that companies are simply delaying their big dollar fleet replacement plans.”