Truck sales slowing amidst uncertainty say TIC

In its monthly reports the Truck Industry Council (TIC) has pointed to a slowing rate of truck sales growth. This has turned to a decline in sales for August 2013, compared to the same month a year ago, with three out of four segmTruckSalesSlowingents contributing to the fall.

The August 2013 total truck market of 2,419 units was 8.5 per cent lower than for August 2012, reducing the total market’s year-­?to-­?date gain over 2012 to just 3.2 per cent.

Most months in 2013 have proved to be the strongest post-­?GFC result, yet August 2013 was exceeded by the same month in six of the past ten years.   The August 2013 cumulative total was 20,098 units, the best result since 2008’s record.   However, this figure is still 17.2 per cent lower than the August 2008 year-­?to-­? date  figure  of  24,283.

The Heavy Duty segment produced a fall of 12.8 per cent in August, with a total of 904 units sold.  Growth in the HD segment for the year so far has now slowed considerably from the early double-­?digit growth to a year-­?to-­?date gain of 3.1 per cent, with 7,257 units.  Medium Duty truck sales suffered consecutive months of decline compared with the same months in 2012, with the most recent monthly total of 525 units posting a significant 15.2 per cent drop compared with August 2012.

The Medium Duty segment growth rate for the year so far is now quite slim at 2.3 per cent over 2012.

The Light Duty truck and van segments were not as badly affected as those for larger vehicles.  The Light Duty total of 738 units was 2.6 per cent down on August 2012, while this segment has posted a 1.9 per cent gain in the year-­?to-­?date figures.  By contrast with the other segments, the Light Duty Van segment was the only one to post growth relative to August last year.

The monthly total of 252 units, while significantly  lower than the totals from June and July of over 400 units, still indicated growth of 9.6 per cent compared with August 2012. The LDV segment has grown by 8.4 per cent in the year-­to-­date.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council said: “The August truck sales reflect the condition of slow capital equipment and business investment leading up to a federal election and economic uncertainty.”

“While the car market has been slowed by the federal government’s policy change on fringe benefits tax, this factor does not affect heavy commercial vehicles.

“With less than a week to go before the conclusion of the current election campaign, TIC members are hopeful that truck operators will gain confidence and place orders during September that may have been postponed during the past few months.

“Nevertheless, a resumption of the business investment cycle will take three to four months to be reflected in truck deliveries, so will only be evident in December 2013 and early 2014.  It is quite possible that the next two to three monthly T-­?Mark results will fail to reach the same totals experienced in 2012, as has happened in August, with perhaps an upturn in the market being indicated at the end of the year,” he said.

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