Light duty again proved the best performed sector in new truck sales during May

Coming off the record 2018 results, Australian truck sales figures are remaining relatively bouyant as we race toward the end of the year.

Sales figures for August from the Truck Industry Council T-Mark report showed year to date registrations sitting at 25,380, or about 6.5 per cent behind the YTD figure for the first eight months last year, with most manufacturers still showing strong order banks.

Sales for the month of August were down about 15 per cent on August last year, with 3297 trucks sold, 548 less than the 2018 monthly sales total.

Tony McMullan, CEO of  TIC  noted that with month on month falls, the new truck market had slowed this year and was unlikely to recover in the remaining four months.

“The August result continues the trend that has been building over the past few months. Economic conditions have generally slowed globally and in Australia and we now see that trend reflected in new truck and heavy van sales,” said McMullan.

“Given the slowing of sales over the past three, to four months, it would now seem unlikely that we will witness a turnaround in new truck sales over the next four months to year end,” Mr. McMullan concluded.

Isuzu conintues its overall market dominance, although it did lose some of its lead in medium duty to Japanese rival Hino, while in the Heavy sector a ding dong battle is raging between Kenworth and Volvo, with the Swede outselling Kenworth for the month with 180 trucks to the Paccar brand’s 170.

Medium duty truck as well van sales were the beacons in the commercial market, being the only sectors registering sales growth for the month.

Hino and Fuso’s safety equipment strategy may be the reason behind both brands registering overall sales rises in a falling market. In Overall terms Isuzu dropped 30 units or 3.8 per cent overall, while Hino was up five per cent or 23 units with 480 sales  in July. Meantime Fuso was up 7.2 per cent with 280 sales, 19 units ahead of July.

The shining light for Isuzu was heavy duty with sales of 115 heavies in August up from 97 in July.

Overall heavy-duty sales slipped backwards in August, with the sector dropping below 1000 for the month for the first time in several years, with a total of 986 heavy trucks sold for in August, down 4.9 per cent on July’s tally of 1035. YTD the Heavy market is down 21 per cent compared with the same time in 2018.

The battle between Kenworth and Volvo is on in earnest with the Swede winning three of the past four months, while Kenworth won the first four months of the year. Kenworth still leads the heavy market year to date but the margin is back to just 53 trucks with 1511 units to Volvo’s 1458 units.

While Heavy was down generallty, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz and Fuso were the only brands to register a significant increases in heavy sales in August. Benz was up 18 per cent with 77 trucks for the month, while its sibling Fuso was up 54 per cent with 34 sales and Isuzu as previously mentioned was up 18 per cent with 115 sales.

A new name bobbed up on the Heavy sales charts, with Hyundai registering two of its Xcient prime movers, several years after promising their imminent arrival down under.

Medium-duty was up 1.8 per cent on the July results with 644 sales for August. Isuzu led the sector for the month with 246 sales, down 6.4 per cent or 17 units on its July result, while Hino medium duty sales rose 12.1 per cent on its July result. This saw Hino close in to be just 34 units behind its long dominant rival. Fuso was up to 26.7 per cent with 91 units for the month up19 trucks on its July result. Overall YTD medium duty sales were down 6.9 per cent on the same period in 2018.

Hino also gained ground on Isuzu in Light duty, up 4.5 per cent on its July result with 229 sales while Isuzu slipped 7.5 per cent, dropping from 412 sales in July to 381 light duty registrations in August.

With total light duty sales of 1029 for August, the market was off just 0.4 per cent or five units on the July result, but is down 13.7 per cent or 1154 units on the year to date result to the end of August last year.

Interstingly European light truck makers, Iveco and Fiat both scored light truck sales increases with their van derived bonneted models. Iveco was up 65 per cent on its July result with its Daily cab-chassis and Fiat up 23 per cent with its similar Ducato.

Mercedes was down 23 on its July tally for its Sprinter cab chassis truck and Hyundai had another lack lustre month with its light duty offering selling just six trucks, although the importer believes and automatic transmission option will give it a bounce later this year.