Light Duty Powering Ahead

The headlines from the latest truck sales figures show light duty powering ahead, according to the 2016 truck sales numbers published by the Truck Industry Council. The TIC Sales figures showed truck and heavy van sales for the 2016 calendar year were 32,964 units.

The numbers reveal healthy sales at the bottom end of the market for light duty trucks combined with solid sales for much of the year for medium duty and even the heavy duty end of the market, which has been flat, saw most of the losses made from January to September erased by the end of 2016.

This ongoing strength in the lighter end of the market helped Isuzu get to its 28th consecutive year as Australia’s highest selling truck maker, selling 8,307 trucks and securing over 25 per cent market share.

“This achievement is a reflection of Isuzu’s dominant status in the Australian truck market,” said Phil Taylor, Isuzu Director and Chief Operating Officer. “It’s a telling result and validates our aim to successfully tap into the needs and desires of Australian transport consumers year after year.

“We’re consistently taking a microscope to our operations to ensure we’re doing everything within our power to meet the demands and shifting needs of Australian business owners. It’s this mantra of continued improvement that contributes heavily to these kinds of milestones.”

Isuzu’s light-duty offering posted imposing sales results for 2016, achieving almost 40 per cent segment share and a 15 per cent increase in total volume. The Japanese importer continues to dominate the medium-duty segment with 2016 market share reaching 43 per cent.

A number of other brands showed increased numbers in 2016 over the previous year. Fuso’s sales and market share grew, as did Volvo’s numbers, probably more of a surprise, given the relative weakness of heavy duty sales.

To a lesser degree, Mercedes Benz, Mack, Scania and MAN all showed some growth and all four are mainly heavy duty truck sellers. Isuzu also managed to sell an extra 75 heavy duty trucks in 2016 compared with 2015.

Isuzu’s dominance of the market for medium duty trucks is thrown into stronger contrast when its market share growth from 40.8 to 43 per cent is compared with the loss in market share of all three of its Japanese rivals in this sector.

Although Isuzu continue to steam ahead in light duty sales the see-sawing relationship between close rivals Hino and Fuso had Fuso pipping Hino at the post at the end of 2016 after Hino had managed to win by a short head 12 months before.

In terms of van sales in 2016, the one, two, three remains Mercedes Benz, Renault, Ford, but while Volkswagen’s numbers grew by a third in 2016, Fiat’s sales slipped by a quarter.

The general conclusion would seem to be the long slow climb out from the lowest demand levels we saw after the GFC continues. The most important indicator from the point of view of the transport industry, and the general economy, is the continuing trends upwards.