The Australian truck market stands on the edge of breaking the 40,000 unit mark, after November sales figures took the YTD tally past the long standing sales record set in 2007, prior to the GFC.

This year’s sales total could go as high as 41,000 units if current sales rates continue through December, with YTD sales at the end of November taking the tally so far to 38,173 trucks and with the December average in recent years at 3020 units it is clear the monthly tally will easily exceed the 40,000 mark.

Heavy Duty sales led the way once again with the strong demand from infrastructure projects and general freight operators resulting in a 7.5 per cent increase in heavy sales for the month taking  the segment 10 per cent of its YTD tally at the end of November last year with 1399 heavy duty trucks sold in November, almost 100 units up on its November total in 2017. The way the market is going Heavy Duty could just about take the industry past 40,000 on its own.

Medium duty regos were slightly down for the month off about 4.6 per cent while light duty were ahead by 7.5 per cent in November.

Overall Isuzu again held number one spot as it stands just one month away from its 30thstraight year as market leader. Isuzu also stands close to its milestone goal of 10,000 units for the year. After selling 888 trucks in November it is just 925 trucks away from the 10,000 mark having registered 9075 sales for the YTD to the end of November.  Hino in number two also had an exceptional month shifting 552  trucks for the month  to take its YTD tally to 5199 trucks. Fuso sold 345 units  to be third overall, just ahead of Heavy Duty market leader Kenworth, with 325 sales to be fourth in the overall market.

Behind them came Volvo with 239, Iveco with 134, Mack with a great month and 126 sales, Mercedes with122 and MAN with 116.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan said it is pleasing to see that the 2007 heavy vehicle sales record has finally fallen.

However, McMullen tempered his enthusiasm by highlighting the continuing ageing of the Australian truck fleet.

In the eleven years since that benchmark was set, we have witnessed the age of the Australian truck fleet steadily grow older from 14.4 years in 2007 to 15 years average age in 2017, as the nation’s freight task continues to grow year-on-year,” he added.

“Fleet replacement has not kept pace with this growth. It will in fact take more than a decade of record sales for the truck park to return to 14.4 years average age, a number that is twice that of most European countries.”

“So why do I mention this, when many might expect celebrations are in order for this new record? The answer is simple: the Australian road toll is too high and heavy vehicles are over represented in those crashes and this is partly to do with the fact that the older trucks in our nation’s truck fleet do not feature the advanced safety features found in newer trucks.”

“So while TIC and our members are celebrating this new milestone, we are very conscious that there is more work that must be done to improve heavy vehicle road safety in the years ahead,” McMullan said.

While it is true the fleet is ageing the reality is that with low scrappage rates and the ability to keep older trucks roadworthy the fleet is growing and by its nature  the average age  will be higher, but the good new is  more new trucks are being sold.  What is needed is an effective and spirited campaign by TIC to lobby the Federal Government to incentivise the modernisation of our national truck fleet. If stories we are hearing about TIC’s aspirations to stage its own truck show are true, then perhaps the organisation needs to re-assess its role and re focus on some effective politicking to achieve a safer and cleaner fleet in this country.

What ever happens we are sure there will be corks a popping when the final sales numbers are added up at the end of December.