In any other year the 2019 Australian commercial vehicle market would have been considered a pretty solid performer, but given 2019 followed the all time record sales of 2018, it does look a little ordinary in comparison.

The industry finished 2019 with a total of 37,096 sales of trucks and vans, almost 4000 units shy of the 2018 tally, but despite the drop, 2019 is still the third highest result in the history of the Industry’s records.

The result for 2019 puts the industry down 10.2 per cent on the record 2019 result

Isuzu was again the overall market leader albeit about 1400 units or 14 per cent down on its outstanding 2018 results and the market leader also had a fairly meagre December sales result with just 634 deliveries.  That is a big drop from its giant December 2018 figure, when it moved 952 trucks. Its key rival Hino is still a mile behind but it was further behind at the end of 2018. The other Japanese brand had a strong year, selling 5524 trucks, just 122 units or 2.1 per cent behind its 2018 total of 5646 trucks. In an overall market down 10 per cent on 2018, the Hino result underlines the success of its Standard Cab 500 series, which was launched in early 2019.

Hino finished the year with its December monthly sales volume of 512 trucks well ahead of its 447 results in December 2018, a 14.5 per cent increase. More importantly Hino actually toppled Isuzu in medium duty in the monthly tally for December, the first time this has happened for many years, albeit by only a small margin, selling 209 trucks to Isuzu’s 201.

Hino’s performance has also seen it streak ahead of third place rival Fuso.  Hino finished 2018 just 1344 ahead of Fuso but Hino has opened up the gap finishing 2019 with a margin of 2142 trucks over Fuso in third overall

Isuzu held 22.7 per cent market share for 2019 down 1.4 percentage points on 2018, while Hino was up from 13.6 per cent market share in 2018 to 14.6 in the year just past. Fuso dropped from 10.3 per cent share for 2018 to finish 2019 with just 8.9 per cent share and overall volume of 3382 units (4302 units in 2018).

In Heavy Duty Kenworth finished the year narrowly in front of Volvo after the Swedish brand out in a strong challenge in the months leading up to the year-end. The final margin was 111 trucks capturing 18.5 per cent of the heavy market, however Volvo had closed to within 33 trucks in the YTD tally in September and outsold Kenworth by 21 trucks that month.

While Volvo got close entering the final quarter, Kenworth pulled out all the stops to maintain its heavy-duty market leadership, rallying in the final three months to stay ahead.

Although the Volvo brand finished second with 17.6 per cent of the market, the Volvo Group as an entire unit, including Volvo, Mack and UD was the best group performer, the three brands holding close to 30 per cent of the overall market between them with 3737 trucks sold under the VGA umbrella. Paccar’s two brands Kenworth and DAF between them sold 2786 heavy trucks taking 21.9 per cent of the market between them.

Volvo’s 2019 performance is notable given the brand sold 381 more heavy trucks that it did in 2018, in a heavy market that was down 1611 units on the 2018 tally. Kenworth’s 2019 total on the other hand was 596 trucks behind 2018. In other words Volvo made up almost 900 trucks on Kenworth given it finished 1088 behind in 2018 and only 111 trucks behind in 2019.

It is an interesting scenario as the landscape of the heavy market is set to be even further affected with Daimler promising to shake up the sector with its Freightliner Cascadia hitting our roads in coming months and the truck industry behemoth is making bold predictions about the new truck’s potential.

Freightliner sold just 280 trucks in 2019, mostly as a result of being in run-out for the Argosy so any lift Cascadia can bring in 2020 will be welcomed at Daimler.

Isuzu was third in Heavy Duty with 1518 sales for the year and a market share of 11.9 per cent while the big mover for the year was Scania, which in fairness suffered supply issues in 2018 that affected its sales performance. Scania’s performance saw a record result for the brand, selling 1140 heavy trucks, a rise of 28 per cent on its 2018 result. The performance gave Scania a 9.0 per cent share of the heavy market.

Mack had a strong finish to be fifth with 1047 sales and 8.2 per cent share to be just ahead of Mercedes in sixth with 998 trucks and 7.8 per cent share while Hino was seventh with 580 heavies and 4.6 per cent of the market, outperforming its Japanese rivals UD with 451 heavy sales and Fuso a whisker further back with 447 heavy sales for the year

The rest of heavy market was fairly lack lustre with most well down on 2018, with few exceptions, one being waste truck specialist, Dennis Eagle which is benefitting from the phase out of Iveco’s perennial Aussie built Acco.

Iveco managed a very disappointing 457 heavy trucks down almost 200 on its 2018 total, DAF was off 46 units on its 2018 totals with just 436 heavy trucks in 2019, but in fact maintained exactly the same market share at 3.4 per cent.

International finished the year with just 54 sold, taking second last while newcomer to the heavy market Hyundai which registered three of its new Xcient prime movers late in the year to take the wooden spoon.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan said it was pleasing to see that the final heavy vehicle sales numbers for 2019 were the third best on record and that van sales set a new Australian record.

“However the news was not all good, with significant softening of the market in the second half of 2019 a concern as we head into a new year and a new decade in 2020,” said McMullan.

“In particular, all truck segments saw fewer sales in 2019 compared with 2018. I was pleased to see that the December result was better than forecast, noting that this better than expected result was largely due to some spectacular heavy van and not truck sales,” he added.

“Hopefully we will see a resurgence of truck sales in 2020 and the potential for a strong result as we enter a new decade.” Mr McMullan concluded.