In what was always going to be an extraordinary edition of  TIC’s T-Mark monthly truck sales figures, the April report made for some pretty sobering  reading for  the industry with the April tally down 21.8 per cent or 640 units on the same month in 2019 and off 11 per cent compared with the March 2020 figures.

A total of 2302 trucks were sold in Australia in April, compared with 2943 trucks in April last year and 2605 in March.

Some brands had huge drops while others fared better with some of the hardest hit being the market leaders.

Isuzu, the perennial overall market leader, suffered a 31.7 per cent drop in sales volume in April compared to the same month last year and was off 28 per cent on its March numbers. Isuzu sold 458 trucks in April  while its Japanese counterpart Hino was only down 4 per cent on its figures from April 2019, registering 393 trucks for the month. That allowed Hino to capture 17.1 per cent share of the overall market, compared with Isuzu’s 19.9 per cent overall, a 2.8 per cent  gap, the closest the two brands have been in overall market share in decades.

Fuso took third overall with 193 sales, a 36. 3 per cent drop on the brand’s April 2019 sales of 303 sales and a 20.9 per cent drop on the 244 trucks it moved in March.

Amazingly Fuso finished the month just five trucks ahead of  the Heavy Duty market leader for April, Volvo, which sold 188 trucks (186 heavy and two medium duty), to outstrip long time heavy market leader Kenworth by 59 trucks in the  heavy sector and 61 overall.

Kenworth’s 127 trucks for the month was 27 per cent down on its April 2019 sales and 20 per cent off its March result. By contrast Volvo was up 34 per cent on its April 2019 sales of 140 trucks and 16 per cent up on its March sales. It is probably too early to judge the true impact of the Covid crisis, with Volvo’s Wacol plant not shutting down until  the second week of April and Paccar’s Bayswater operation shut a couple of weeks before that, so any drop in sales will not really be felt until the May and June results are tallied.

Iveco was sixth overall with 115 trucks for the month  down 28 per cent on April 2019, but up 55 per cent on its March results.

Mercedes was seventh with 81 sales, Mack eighth with 69, Scania ninth with 60 and DAF tenth with 44 sales, equal with Renault, while MAN moved 32 vehicles and Freightliner, Western Star and Fiat all recorded 23 sales . Hyundai had another mediocre month with six sales, just ahead of the other also rans, International, Dennis Eagle and VW all with four and Ford with just one for the month.

Hino’s big gains came in light duty in what was believed to be a big order fulfilled for supermarket giant Woolworths with a flow of Hino 300s flowing out to fulfil the demand for home deliveries. Hino registered 206 light duty sales to lead Isuzu by three units and Fuso by 102 trucks. Isuzu’s sales were down 34 per cent on April 2019 and 38 per cent on March while Hino was up 14 per cent on the same month last year. The Light duty sector was off 133 on the April 2019 result or 15.9 per cent.

The Medium duty sector was down 29.9 per cent or 178 units on April 2019 and saw Isuzu top the tally with 178 sales to Hino’s 151 and Fuso’s 63. However Isuzu’s result was 31 per cent down on April 2019 and 19 per cent off its March figures. Hino was down 17 per cent on the same month last year and 21 per cent down on the 192 medium trucks it sold in March.

CEO of the Truck Industry Council, Tony McMullan said that there is no doubt that the Australian new truck market is in the midst of lows not seen since the Global Financial Crisis.

“However we have not yet seen truck sales fall below levels seen in 2009/2010, though we are very close, he added.

“The other significant known, based upon our experience of the economic downturn that occurred during and post the GFC, is that targeted economic stimulus will be required in all areas of the freight transport sector, not just trucks but also aviation, and rail,” he added.

“In turn, we will be looking to the Australian government, to provide that stimulus as we move to rebuild so much of our economy over the coming months and years.” Mr. McMullan concluded.