The New Year has got off to a stuttering start for the truck industry with low numbers all round. According to the latest sales figures released by the Truck Industry Council, the total Australian truck market for January 2016 reached just 1,584 units, down 1.9 per cent on the first month of 2015, which in turn was down seven percent on January 2014 sales.
In fact, according to the TIC, it is the worst start to a year seen for the past five years. In 2011 only 1,317 new trucks were sold in January, however this was at a time when Australia’s economy was still struggling in the years following the GFC.
The result for the Heavy Duty truck segment was the worst with only 438 units sold, down 15.3 per cent, or 79 units, on the first month in 2015, which in turn was down 12.9 percent on January 2014. Compared with the record pre-GFC January of 2008 where 841 trucks were sold, this result is down by almost 50 per cent. It was this particularly poor result in the heavy truck segment that dragged the market to its five year low.
Looking at the other segments the news was more positive. The Medium Duty segment was up with 350 trucks sales for January 2016 versus 336 units sold in January 2015, a gain of 4.2 per cent. Light Duty trucks too were in positive territory up 4.7 per cent with 470 deliveries for the month, this compares to 449 sales for the same period in 2015.
The Light Duty van segment was up in January for the fourth consecutive year. For the month a total of van sales were 326 were sold, up 4.5 per cent, or 14 vehicles. This represents the best ever start to a year for the van segment, beating the previous best ever January result that was set last year.
“It is another disappointing start to a new year for truck sales and the momentum of the latter part of 2015 has obviously not carried through to 2016,” said Tony McMullan, CEO of TIC. “I do take heart in the fact that medium and light truck as well as light van sales were all up compared to January 2015, however the continuing fall in Heavy truck sales continues to be my greatest concern when reviewing these results.
“In 2015 we saw a slow start for new truck sales, but by year end the market was higher in all segments except heavy truck, so we will be hoping for stronger sales over the coming months. However unlike last year we face an important political event this year and given the fiscal caution that is typically exercised by many businesses in a federal election year, we will have to wait and see if truck sales do in fact build as the year progresses.”