TIC president Phil Taylor was encouraged by the positive numbers evident in 2012’s truck sales however he said the government will need to give operators incentives to buy new trucks to meet the forcast freight task otherwise freight companies will be forced to keep their older trucks just to have enough vehicles on the road.
Taylor said the 2012 truck sales increase over 2011 exceeded most expectations expressed at the beginning of the year.
“Frankly, the overall growth of the Heavy Duty segment relative to the others is quite surprising, and is good for the industry, especially for the local truck manufacturers, all of which compete mainly in the HD segment,” he said.
“While part of the gains can be explained by the return of some fleets to purchasing new capital, and easing of restrictions and interest rates in the financial sector, the resources boom appears to be keeping sales quite strong in the North and West.
“Meanwhile, it is difficult to predict what truck sales will do in 2013. Most analysts predict another interest rate cut or two from the Reserve bank, which should allow finance for new capital equipment to remain very competitive. However, other forecasts for the retail, housing and a probable slowing in the resources sector’s growth could have a possible adverse effect on truck sales.”
He warned we must be aware, however, that for the road transport sector to manage the government’s forecast road freight task in the coming years, further growth in truck sales is necessary, firstly recovering to 2007 levels within the next couple of years, and beyond.
“To stimulate the market to these levels may require the introduction of suitable government incentives to buy new trucks, with their vastly improved productivity, safety and environmental performance,” he said.
“Otherwise, freight companies will be forced to keep their older trucks just to have enough vehicles on the road, and that presents Australia with a significant fleet average age problem which results in a poor environmental and safety outcome. I’m not saying we can expect to see it all happen in 2013, however TIC projections anticipate that truck sales need to increase to well beyond 40,000 units per annum within just a few years, just to keep up with demand for moving goods, ” Taylor said.
An initial TIC forecast for the 2013 total truck market is around a 5% increase on the 2012 result.