Truck sales slowing ahead of expected gains

The recent decline in truck sales compared with the same period last year has accelerated slightly.  Official T-­Mark figures just released for the month of October 2013 show a total truck market of 2,610 sales, realising a 5.6 per cent drop compared with the October 2012 total of 2,766 units.

This latest result is similar to those posted in August and September, and these recent trends, should they continue, will cast some doubts as to whether the Australian truck market for the full year will exceed that for 2012.    The October 2013 cumulative total was 25,437 units, the best result since 2008’s bumper year. However, the gain over 2012 (on a year-­to-­date basis) is now just 1.8 per cent, compared with a 5 per cent gain displayed at the mid-­year mark. The October 2013 year-­to-­date figure is 17.3 per cent lower than the equivalent October 2008 cumulative tally of 30,751 units delivered.

The Heavy Duty segment was 6.8 per cent lower than in October 2012, with a total of 981 units sold.  The first half of 2013 indicated strong positive growth, however the running tally for this year is now just 1.2 per cent (or 109 units) ahead of 2012.  Medium Duty truck sales are down in line with the total market, with October’s total of 564 units being 5.4 per cent lower than August 2012.  The Medium Duty segment, with 5,571 units so far in 2013,  is now at very similar levels to the same point as last year, with growth of just 0.5% compared with 2012.

The Light Duty truck segment total of 653 units was only just sufficient to make it into the top ten Octobers on record.  The Light Duty segment declined by 16.2 per cent compared with October 2012, while this segment is now showing a small drop of 1.2 per cent in the year-­to-­date figures.  The Light Duty Van segment continues to shine by comparison with the truck segments, posting an October total of 412, which is 21.9 per cent better than October 2012.  The LDV segment growth rate is accelerating, and is now at 13.6 per cent in the year-to-­date comparison.  With the total truck market being just 459 units ahead of the  same period in 2012, and LDV segment recording a 409 unit increase, it is clear to see that when vans are removed from the equation, the truck market is at virtually the same level as last year.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council said: “The October truck sales could be the last month of those which were significantly affected by the 2013 federal election.   The usual 2-­4 month lead time from order to delivery in the truck market should lead to a stronger November and particularly December total, as a result of capital investments resuming to normal levels following the election.  Other economic conditions, especially in the housing sector, appear to be slowly improving, so TIC considers that the final tally for 2013 will probably just exceed that achieved in 2012.”

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