The Australian truck market continues to be on the boil with another record month in February recording  the highest ever volume for second month sales in history.

The February results follows an equally impressive monthly result for January coming off the record year of 2022.

Total new sales for February saw 3,499 vehicles registered, up 21.8 percent on February 2022 and easily battering the best ever February result set in 2008 by almost 500 vehicles.

In fact the overall sales for the year to date are up 25.2 per cent or 1,264 units compared to the first two months in 2022. This is despite the spectre of rising interest rates and the finish of the capital equipment  tax write off due to cease on the 30th  June, which some, including the Truck Industry Council, believe  will slow truck sales in the second half. Others however believe that with continuing infrastructure construction demands and logistics and delivery needs volumes will stay high through until at least the first quarter of 2024.

Isuzu had another amazing month of sales to top the overall truck market with 1084 sales in February. The perpetual market leader took 31 per cent of the market, almost three times as many trucks as its nearest rival Hino.

Hino bounced back from its three-month slump which came as a result of its parent company’s fraud scandal and production halts. The Toyota owned truck maker sold 410 trucks and 11.7 per cent share, to just edge out its close rival Fuso with 389 trucks and 11.1 per cent of the market. Fuso is still marginally ahead of Hino on YTD sales figures after two months,  with 690  to Hino’s 659.

Volvo edged out Kenworth in the heavy duty sector, with the Swedish brand also claiming fourth in the overall market with 269 registrations and 7.7 per cent share. Volvo is clearly benefitting from the influx of trucks the company has imported from its Saudi plant, which have augmented its local Wacol production which has been affected by ongoing supply chain issues.

Isuzu was the only other maker in triple figures, selling 173 trucks in February, while UD was fourth with 96, then Mercedes with 66, Scania and Hino both with 57, ahead of DAF on 56, Mack on 48, Fuso 46, MAN 32, Freightliner 30, Iveco 23, with Western Star or 17 and Dennis Eagle bringing up the rear on 7.

However Kenworth was close behind Volvo with 251 sales and 11.1 per cent share to be second in heavy and fifth in the overall market. Kenworth and Volvo are neck and neck in the YTD tally heavy duty with the Paccar brand leading the Swede by just one truck, 448 to 447 after the first two months of 2023.

The heavy duty sector also claimed an all-time February record of 1224, breaking the previous February sales record of 1060 trucks, set in 2008 by 13.4 per cent. Year to dte. The heavy duty sector is up by 22.7. per cent or 401 trucks) on the same time last year.

In medium duty Isuzu  again led the field  with better than half the sales in the sector for the month, registering 304 trucks  for 53.1 per cent share. Hino took second with less than half Isuzu’s tally, registering 130 trucks while Fuso slipped a little from the highs of recent months to be third with 95 medium duty sales. UD was a long way back in fourth with just 18 medium registrations, while Iveco and Hyundai sold six mediums, Volvo and SEA Electric four each, and DAF, Mercedes and MAN one each for the month.

The Medium Duty segment overall saw 570 truck delivered in February, up about 4.8 per cent on the  544 units in February 2022, while  year-to-date the MD segment is also 5.2 percent up on 2022 sales, with 1,015 medium trucks sold  so far in 2023 compared with to 965 trucks to the end of February last year.

In light duty Isuzu  was again the dominant force  with 607 sales AND 47.4 per cent share, while Fuso again beat Hino into second, the Daimler owned brand  selling 248 trucks for 19.4 per cent share, while Hino sold 223 trucks for 17.4 per cent.

While Iveco had a lacklustre month in heavy and medium it had a respectable 110 sales in light duty to be fourth in the sector with 8.6 per cent of the market with its Daily based light truck. Behind that came four of Iveco’s European rivals with similar van based light duty models, Fiat on 37, Mercedes 17, Volkswagen on 14 and Renault on 13. Hyundai on 10 and Ford with just one Transit rounded out the light duty tally

Fenruary also saw the light duty segment set an overall sales record with 1,280 sales in February, up a whopping 25.1 per cent on  the previous record in February last year when 1,023 light duty trucks were sold.

Overall year-to-date sales for light duty are well ahead of 2022, with 2,269 sales this year, up 26.7 per cent  478 trucks compared with the 1,791 sold in the first two months last year.

Van sales saw 425 vehicles delivered in February, up 149 units, or 54.0 per cent on 2022, while year-to-date figures are up an extraordinary 67.4 per cent, on the first two months last year.

Mercedes’ Sprinter dominated the van sector with 164  sales for the month and 36.6 per cent share, while VW had a strong result with 114 Crafter models, while Renault sold 60 Masters, Fiat 44, Iveco 41 and Ford a desolate two Transit models.

CEO of Truck Industry Council, Tony McMullan, said the the strong sales start to 2023 was positive for the road transport industry, but in a pessimistic note warned the situation may be very different for the second half of the year.

 “January and February sales have been very strong, leading to a number of monthly new truck sales records. However, with many sectors of the economy cooling due to interest rate rises and particularly with negotiations ongoing with federal treasury over extending the delivery timeline for the Temporary Full Expensing incentive that is scheduled end on the 30th of June, industry is concerned that many truck orders will be cancelled because trucks will not be completed and delivered into service, due to ongoing global supply chain issues”, McMullan said.

 “The Truck Industry Council and the Australian Trucking Association have been jointly calling for the current Labor government to extend the delivery timeline for the Temporary Full Expensing scheme, allowing trucks that are already ordered, to be delivered up until the 30th June 2024. Thus avoiding potential job losses in the manufacturing and road transport sectors.” Mr McMullan concluded.