AGAINST THE TREND: Hyundai was one of the few truck makers celebrating in August after selling two Xcient prime movers, the Korean brand's first heavy-duty sales in Australia.
AGAINST THE TREND: Hyundai was one of the few truck makers celebrating in August after selling two Xcient prime movers, the Korean brand's first heavy-duty sales in Australia. Kate Dodd

New truck sales slip further in August

IF a new truck is on your agenda, now might be a great time to go and talk a deal with your local retailer: chances are they'll be super-keen to get some stock off the floor and out the door.

After a couple of boom years, truck sales are on the brakes in Australia with the drought, sluggish economy and tougher financing regulations being blamed for the continuing 2019 slowdown.

Some experts, including the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), believe uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit are also having an impact.

Just how tough was it in August? Truck Industry Council (TIC) data shows the market experienced a 14.3 per cent reduction in overall heavy commercial vehicle sales in Australia in the month.

A total of 3,297 new heavy vans and trucks were handed over to customers, which is over 500 fewer vehicles sold than in the same month last year. The August result dragged overall sales down nearly 6 per cent year to date.

Light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty all lost ground in the month with almost all the main players taking a hit.

There were some exceptions though, sales were up compared to August 2018 for Scania, International Trucks and Freightliner.

Scania's 88 sales in the month were up 46.7 per cent and the added demand helped lift the Swedish manufacturer's 2019 total sales to an impressive 28 per cent improvement on the same period last year.

However, as a sign of just how bleak things were, Inter only managed to hand over an additional two trucks (for a six truck total) and Freightliner delivered 28, up just one unit on their August result last year.

It was a historic month for Hyundai Commercial Vehicles with the Korean brand recording their first heavy-duty sales in Australia. The fledgling brand sold two Xcient prime movers in our market.

Kenworth and Mercedes-Benz had particularly poor months.

The PACCAR-owned brand managed a total of 170 truck sales in the month, down 99 units (or 36.8 per cent), while their Daimler Trucks-owned rivals experienced a similar percentage decline with just 82 sales recorded.

Interestingly, the Kenworth customers didn't seem to shift to stablemates DAF Trucks. The Dutch brand itself experienced a more than 21 per cent drop in demand with 43 total sales.

Of the four Japanese brands, UD trucks dipped 48.2 per cent, while the larger volume rivals Isuzu (down 11.4 per cent), Hino (down 5.7 per cent) and Fuso (down 26.1 per cent) also felt the pain.

Amongst the three different segments it was heavy-duty that took the biggest hit in August.

Overall sales were down just under 300 units (or 21.6 per cent) with Volvo Trucks taking top place on the podium with 180 sales.

Kenworth (170), Isuzu (115), Scania (87), Mack (77) and Mercedes-Benz (77) shared most of the spoils.

Medium-duty sales slipped back nearly 11% with line honours going to Isuzu here (246 sales), ahead of Hino (212) and Fuso (91).

A similar percentage reduction in the light-duty truck segment was experienced with Isuzu again being the dominant player in the market.

Isuzu again managed the most sales overall in the month with 742. The big-selling brand finished ahead of the multi-brand rivals Daimler Trucks (390), Volvo Group (319), PACCAR (213) and Penske (109).

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