Penske Commercial Vehicles is patting itself on the back for its start to the year for the Western Star brand despite being down on the same time in 2016.

The underperforming distributor issued a release last week beating its chest about its stellar start to the year but neglected to mention any sales figures at all – which made Truck and Bus News staff suspicious.

Western Star sold 117 trucks to the end of April – six less than the first four months of last year.

According to Penske’s sales manager for Western Star, Dale Christensen, the first four months of 2017 has been an improvement on previous times, despite the sales figures telling a different story.

“Our pipeline of sales for Western Star Trucks is the best we have seen for some time,” said Christensen.

However, there is a glimmer of light on the horizon. At the end of March the brand was 21 units down on the same period last year and April saw it claw back some of its lost ground.

Christensen credits some of the progress to the addition of Penske Power Systems outlets in Mackay, Darwin, Cairns and Perth being added to the national network of dealers. Penske also opened a new dealership in Mildura recently in partnership with the Marshall Group.

“Penske Commercial Vehicles has always enjoyed success with our dealer partners and sales team and now with Penske Power Systems taking on dealership responsibilities our year looks very promising,” he said.

“Our team has really embraced Penske’s ‘customers first’ approach – we’re excited to work with our customers and dealers across our network, providing customers with the solutions that fit their needs.”

The ‘customers first’ is also the reason Penske gave for Western Star and sister brand MAN not taking part in this month’s Brisbane Truck Show.

Multiple industry sources from opposition brands have told Truck and Bus News this is an astounding move given the importance the rest of the manufacturers place on the Brisbane Truck Show for sales leads and customer interaction.