The Australian truck and van market has recorded a new record high annual sales volume for the year ending December 2023, with the market totalling 47,757 units,  an increase of 3,378 vehicles over the previous record year of 2022.

The market increase equates to a 7.6 per cent rise on the 2022 result and is  one of a number of record setting  results for the industry  last year and in the final month of December.

Isuzu was the overall market leader completing its 35th consecutive year on top of the Aussie truck sales charts. Isuzu  moved a total of 13,658 trucks in 2023, up 298 trucks on its  record 2022 tally, equating to a 2.2 percent increase year on year and an overall market share of 25.8 percent. Isuzu sold more than double the trucks its next best competitor Hino sold. Hino registered 5908 trucks for the year, scoring 12.8 per cent market share, while third placed Fuso finished the year with 4822 sales and 10.1 per cent  overall market share. This meant Hino was up a tiny 0.6 per cent on its 2022 total and Fuso was down 3.9 per cent on its previous year tally.

All eyes were on the Heavy duty sector and the battle for supremacy between long time market leader Kenworth and its Swedish rival, Volvo. While Volvo again looked strong at the  end of the third quarter and a real chance at beating the Paccar brand to the Heavy market leadership for the first time, it fell away in the last three months and status quo prevailed.

Kenworth powered home to record a very strong 410 sales in December, 409 of which were HD models, with a single Medium duty truck. That figure gave it 10 per cent overall market share and 23.3 percent of the heavy sector. The final month result gave Kenworth a total sales for the year of 3653 heavy duty models, putting it 177 trucks ahead of Volvo in 2023. Volvo led Kenworth in heavy duty at the end of June by 39 trucks, but month on month it was outsold by the Big K in the second half to see its hopes of market leadership evaporate.

The Heavy Sector set a new sales volume record for the sector in 2023 year, despite the light sector  falling 1.6 per cent short of its 2022 results, while wew sales records were set for the entire market in  the first, second and fourth quarters.

In the fourth quarter HD sales totalled 4,917, up 538 units, or 12.3 percent, over the same period in the previous year, and was a new fourth quarter record for heavy duty models. Overall there were 17,569 heavy duty models  sold for the year which was also a new record for the segment, beating the 2022 record by 2,603 trucks or 17.4 per cent.

In an amazing stat, heavy duty models outsold all other categories of trucks and vans for the first time. In recent years Light Duty has been the largest selling sector, however Heavy duty surpassed it last  year, accounting for 36.8 percent of all trucks and vans sold, while Light duty  sold 16166 models.

Behind the headlining bands in December, Iveco  was sixth overall  for the month with 158 sales, while Scania had another bumper month to sell 133 trucks and take seventh for the month, ahead of Mack with 118 , UD with 117 and Mercedes-Benz with just 98 for the tri-star brand which rounded out the top ten.

While Kenworth and Volvo battled out Heavy supremacy, Isuzu was again strong taking third in the top category with 220  heavy trucks, while Scania’s 133  placed it fourth in the sector, ahead of Mack’s 118, UD’s 105 and Fuso’s 86. Behind them came DAF with 84, Mercedes with 79, Hino with 45 and Iveco with 39.

In Medium duty Isuzu took a whopping 43.9 per cent of the sector with 318 medium trucks in December, well ahead of Hino with 258 sales and 35.6 per cent share of the category, while Fuso struggled for third with just 87 sales and 12 per cent of the segment. Behind the Japanese brands it was tiny numbers for the rest with Iveco selling 16 Eurocargos, UD with 12 mediums and Volvo  with 10. Hyundai sold seven mediums, Mercedes six, MAN five, DAF four and Kenworth registered a single medium duty model.

Isuzu blitzed light duty with 522 trucks  in December and a very impressive 44.1 per cent  of the category. Behind Isuzu, Hino and Fuso slogged it out for second with  Hino edging its rival 217 to 196 in  the category. Iveco and its Italian sibling Fiat both did surprisingly well in the light duty arena with  Iveco registering 103 of its Daily based light trucks and Fiat 90 of its Ducato models.

Hyundai was a distant sixth in the light secor with 23 trucks  in December, ahead of Renault with 15,  Mercedes with 13, Volkswagen six and Foton Mobility  with two of its all electric models.

In vans , Mercedes was the top of the category with 162 Sprinters and 36.2 per cnent of the category, well ahead of Renault with 83  of its Master vans, and VW which sold 64  Crafter vans. Iveco  was next best with 50 Daily vans, Ford with 48 Transits  and Fiat with 41 Ducatos.

Whether the market will be able to maintain the record run in 2024, with the continuing spectre of rising interest rates and slowing economics remains to be seen. But at this stage  there seems to be plenty of optimism that  the market will hold up and order books remain full.