In a result that reflects the massive order banks that truck makers are holding in Australia at the moment, sales in January set a new all-time-record for commercial vehicles despite coming on the back of 2022’s record setting result.
Many times in the past when a record result has been set in December there has been a dip in sales in January as dealers and manufacturers fought to register as many units as they could to achieve the record.
However this time total Australian new truck sales in January were up a huge 29.7 percent or 637 vehicles, on January last year’s result, and 538 vehicles, or 23.9 per cent higher than the best ever January month in 2008
In total whopping 2,785 units, were registered in January, but as the truck Industry Council has pointed out, the previous record January in 2008 preceded the GFC by around five months, and while setting records throughout the first half, sales fell in a heap in the later months as the world grappled with the crisis. The industry will be hoping the spectre of rising interest rates and subdued demand won’t cause a similar fall this year.
The Heavy Duty sector also set a new monthly record January, topping the previous best set in January 2008 by 27.9 per cent or 206 trucks, with a total of 944 brand new heavies making on to our roads in January.
Isuzu topped the overall sales charts yet again, streeting the opposition with 900 sales for the month , 599 units clear of the next best in Fuso which sold 301 trucks.
There was clearly more supply pain for Hino which struggled into third place with 249 units, continuing the trend of late last year as it slipped from number two to number three in the overall market.
Kenworth was fourth overall as well as topping heavy duty, with 197 sales, a 19 truck buffer on its rival Volvo with 178 sales to take fifth overall and second in heavy duty
Unusually, only the top five bands recorded sales in the triple figures with Iveco the next best in sixth overall with 90, 70 of which were Daily based light duty cab chassis trucks, with only 15 heavies and five mediums to its credit.
Behind that came Mercedes Benz with 81, UD with 71, Scania on 58 and Mack rounding out the top ten with 53 units.
Medium Duty sales were also up over January last year, with 445 deliveries for the month, up 5.7 per cent but well down on January 2008 when the sector recorded 551 sales for the month, a drop of 19 per cent.
Isuzu returned another remarkable performance, capturing close to 60 per cent of the market, with 261 medium duty for the month taking 58.1 per cent share, outselling second place Fuso by 180 units. Fuso’s 81 sales in January gave it 18.2 per cent share and put it three units ahead of struggling rival Hino with 78 sales.
There was a gulf between the Japanese trio and fourth placed UD which sold just nine mediums, with Iveco on five, Hyundai four, Volvo three, DAF 2 and Mercedes and MAN with one each.
The Light Duty continued to boom, also setting a new sales record for January with 989 trucks, up 28.1 per cent on the previous best, set in January last year when 786 light duties were sold.
Not surprisingly, Isuzu topped light duty with 484 sales and 48.9 per cent share, outselling Fuso by almost three to one and Hino by better than four to one. Fuso was second in lights with 168 sales and 16.6 per cent share, while Hino moved 122 trucks and captured 12. 3 per cent share.
Iveco was next best with 70 daily sales, Fiat sold 50 light trucks, Renault 34, Mercedes 32 and Hyundai 21.
Mercedes-Benz dominated van sales moving 221 Sprinters for 49.6 per cent share, well ahead of Renault with 57, Iveco 52 VW 51 and Fiat with 44.
The question on every truck pundit’s lips is can the boom continue with interest rates rising and potentially the economy stalling. Order books would tend to say the truck market might defy predictions, but anything can happen between now and 31 December.