September proved another boom month for the Australian truck market, with strong sales across all sectors, and some interesting battles between various brands and across various sectors.
The market parallels with the record year of 2018 continue, with the numbers for 2021 growing ever closer to a potential record run this year, with the year to date total to the end of September at 30421 trucks, now just 221 units off the tally at the same time in 2018.
The remarkable thing about the performance so far is how much lack of supply is constraining sales numbers, with virtually every maker citing supply as being a brake on sales performance this year.
As we said, numbers for this year are closely mirroring 2018 and are well ahead of 2020, with some brands outperforming those historic marks and others dipping slightly down on those past numbers.
Isuzu ruled the roost once more with 889 sales in September and 24.1 per cent market share overall, however where a few months ago it looked as though Japanese rival Hino was slowly closing the gap, it now looks like Hino needs to be looking over its shoulder at the rapidly improving Fuso. The Daimler owned Japanese brand finished September in third with 467 sales and 12.7 per cent market share, but just 34 trucks behind Hino with 501 sales and 13.6 per cent share.
Fuso’s ongoing embrace of safety and its recent updated heavy duty Shogun range, including the launch of the new 510 hp model, which lifts the horsepower standard across Japanese heavies, have seen it significantly lift sales performance. The Fuso numbers are believed to be the second best ever result for the brand, behind the 568 it moved in June this year.
It was another bumper month for Kenworth, with the heavy duty king continuing its reign at the top of the sector, and also taking fourth overall with 269 sales, all of them heavy duty models. The Kenworth result put it more than 100 units ahead of Volvo’s total for September with 165 units, including three medium duty sales.
Kenworth’s result was four units better than its September 2018 result and 74 ahead of the same month last year.
Volvo on the other hand, still apparently held back by supply chain issues, finished the month 27 trucks down on its 2018 numbers but slightly ahead of its 2020 results.
As well as continuing to lead the market overall, Isuzu also had a strong month in heavies, finishing with 125 sales in the sector, taking third behind Volvo and was just seven trucks ahead of another strong sales result for Mercedes-Benz which sold 118 heavies . Benz finished sixth overall with 153 total sales, which included two medium duty units and also benefitted from the 33 Sprinter cab chassis light truck sales.
Iveco had a good month with 133 total sales, the majority of them from its Daily light duty truck, with 91 sales, along with seven medium duty Eurocargos and 35 Stralis heavies.
Scania was another star performer, despite its supply constraints , falling just short of the ton, with 96 sales giving it a year to date tally of 848 trucks, which puts it on track to potentially claim a best ever sales record, if the brand can better the 1149 it moved in year 2019.
Not only did Paccar’s Kenworth perform brilliantly in September, but its Euro brand DAF had a stellar month with 85 sales, making Paccar the best performing truck group in heavy duty with 354 units to Volvo Groups 248, across Volvo, UD and Mack. The win in the heavy sector as a group was a victory long spruiked by Volvo, but DAF’s rise in the market along with Kenworth’s clear dominance, has swung the ascendency back to Paccar.
One of the low points for Volvo Group was Mack’s performance with just 33 sales in September, largely as a result of supply issues, a factor that the company says is also is holding back Volvo’s performance, with claims it is air freighting some components such as wiring looms to ensure production continuity.
Daimler’s Freightliner had a small improvement with 48 sales for September after a long period of small numbers, also due to supply issues out of US plants.
Another small stand out was Hyundai, which had possibly its best month ever with 20 trucks, after years of monthly tallies of ten or less. The Korean brand’s tally in September included 11 light duty, seven medium duty and two heavies in the mix.
In Medium duty, while Hino was challenging Isuzu a few months back, September saw Isuzu almost double Hino’s monthly tally. There were 301 Isuzu medium duties sold, to Hino’s 154. However more notable was the fact that Fuso’s 152 sales brought to within two units of relegating Hino to number three for the first time ever.
Of the 650 medium duty sales registered, 607 were sold by the three leading Japanese makers. Throw in 14 medium duty UDs and Japanese trucks sold all but 29 of the 650 medium duty trucks in Australia last month.
It was a similar story in light duty, with Isuzu a dominant number one with 461 sales and 36.6 per cent share, well ahead of Hino in number two with 294 sales and 23.4 per cent of the market, while Fuso closed in on its rival with 263 sales and 20.4 per cent share.
The next best in Light duty was Iveco with 91 Daily sales, ahead of Fiat with 57 and Mercedes Benz with 33 Sprinter light trucks.
In the van market Benz dominated, and more than doubled the sales of its nearest rival, with 223 sales to Renault’s 106 in second, while Iveco was third with 98 van sales. Ford, which was riding high earlier this year , dropped away with its Transit dropping to just 10 units.
If the market can maintain a monthly sales tally of around 3600 per month, as it has the in the last few months, and the supply issues can be softened then the 2018 record of 41,628 sales remains under threat, but it will be a close run thing.