Judging by the latest data released by the Truck Industry Council, truck sales figures are holding up despite the enduring pandemic crisis which has made 2020 such an unpredictable year. Even without the advent of Covid-19 truck sales numbers were expected to fall substantially this year after a record breaking 2019.
The latest T-Mark figures for July show a drop in overall sales for the year so far of 12 per cent when compared to those 12 months ago. However, the drop from July last year to this year is only 9.5 per cent, much less than would be expected with a failing economy.
The light duty segment seems to be holding up quite well with the July sales figures only decreasing just over four per cent when compared to July 2019. In the medium duty sector the July figure was 9.8 per cent down on last year, but the comparable fall in heavy duty sales is 24.4 per cent.
Heavy duty truck purchases represent major capital expenditure and companies are clearly reconsidering large outlays in these uncertain times. Meanwhile, the massive increase in the home delivery sector during the pandemic has kept the lighter end of the truck market much more buoyant.
All of these falls need to be seen in the context of the boom year in 2019. When records are smashed so comprehensively, it is inevitable there will be some pull back in the next year. This means the falls in sales are worrying, especially in heavy trucks, but truck sales figures are holding up and not in the kind of free-fall which was feared a few months ago. Figures for the second half of the year are likely to be more telling, in terms of the pandemic’s impact.
The other aspect of these figures which is interesting is the ongoing tussle for number one status in the heavy duty segment between Kenworth and Volvo. In July Kenworth just managed to get a nose ahead, selling four more trucks than rivals Volvo.
However, in the year so far Volvo still maintain a lead over Kenworth of over 100 sales. In fact, of the seven months of the year, so far, Volvo have topped the monthly heavy sales list in five of them.