Slow start to 2015

The latest truck sales figures will not fill industry with confidence, echoing other news of interest rates reductions and trucking company failures. The latest figures for January truck sales have been released by the Truck Industry Council outlining the numbers segment by segment.

With the reduced economic activity in Australia during January, as the economy remains in holiday mode and business takes a breather, the overall sales numbers of trucks are normally below average. However, in January the overall number of trucks sold was 7 per cent below the January 2014 figure.

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The stronger brands like Isuzu and Kenworth managed to record similar numbers to last year, as did Mercedes Benz, which finished 2014 strongly. The rest saw varying degrees of reduction on last year’s mark.

One brand managed to bother the scoreboard for the first time in quite a while. Foton Trucks are now included by the TIC and recorded 7 new registrations in January, its first  recorded since, vehicle importation specialist, Ateco took over responsibility for the Chinese truck maker’s product in Australia.

In the heavy duty segment positions one and two are taken by Kenworth and Isuzu, so far this year. Kenworth are perennials here, but Isuzu are seeing the twin steer heavies consistently drive up market share. Freightliner also started 2015 well up on its numbers from last January.

Year on year the stranglehold on the medium duty sector of the market by Japanese trucks gets more and more secure. January 2015 sees the Japanese accounting for 94 per cent of sales. This leaves their European opposition to fight it out for just 20 truck sales in January.

The light duty truck market has been a little more buoyant in recent months, but overall numbers are down on this time last year. Fuso managed to pick up its sales in January, mainly at the expense of principal competitor brands, Isuzu and Hino. Mercedes Benz and Ford also managed to record higher sales this year than last, for January.

As usual, the light duty van market is counter-cyclical and recorded a 15 per cent increase, overall, on 2014. Ford, Fiat and Volkswagen made considerable gains compared to last year, recording numbers way above those they were producing at the end of 2014.