Truck sales off to a solid start in 2019
TOTAL Australian new truck sales for January 2019 were 2,196 units, down just 31 vehicles, -1.4 percent, on the first month of 2018 and just 51 vehicles shy of the all-time January sales record of 2008.
Back in 2008 truck sales continued at record levels until just after the mid-year point when the Australia economy succumbed to the effects of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and new truck sales slowed considerably thereafter.
"It was very pleasing to see such a strong start to the year for the Heavy and Medium Duty truck segments, both up on January 2018 results and a reversal of the slowing seen in these segments in the last quarter of 2018,” said Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council, the peak industry body for truck manufacturers and importers into Australia.
"However, as I generally remark at this time of year, January and even February sales, are subject to fluctuations and some inconsistencies due to the transition of supplying trucks from one year to the next and the summer holiday season. One should not read too much into the January result. We will have a much better indication of how the market is tracking for the year at the end of the first quarter, once January, February and March numbers are in and the market has had a chance to normalise.”
The January 2019 result for the Heavy Duty truck segment was surprisingly good, the second best on record. Coming off slowing sales in the final quarter of 2018, it was expected that Heavy truck sales would continue to slow in 2019, however 769 Heavy Duty trucks were sold, beating the January result of last year by 13 trucks, up 1.7 percent.
Perennial pacesetter Kenworth opened 2019 with 177 sales, up 8.6%, nicely clear of the segment's biggest success story, Volvo with 139 units, up a massive 87.8%. Isuzu came next with 115 units (up 10.6%), followed by Mack with 62 and Scania on 58 sales.
The Medium Duty segment was also up over the 2018 January result, with 440 Medium truck deliveries for the month, verses 437 units in January 2018, a slight gain of 0.7 percent. This result is well short, 111 trucks, or just over 20 percent, of the best ever January deliveries of 551 Medium trucks achieved in 2008. However, as TIC has reported previously, the MD segment is a shrinking market, so it is unlikely that we will ever see new Medium truck sales rewriting the record books.
Isuzu leads with 156 units (up 19.1%), ahead of Hino (146 units, up 23.5%), Fuso (59 units, down 23.4%), MAN (37 units, down 55.4%) and UD Trucks (28 units, up 64.6%).
Light Duty trucks set new a sales record in 2017 and then bettered that mark in 2018, hence further year-on-year improvements in "little truck" sales in 2019 would seem to be unlikely due to the cyclic nature of the market. January 2019 sales support these projections, down on January 2018 results by 54 vehicles. A total of 591 LD trucks were sold in January 2019, this represented an 8.4 percent decrease over the same month last year.
Not surprisingly, Isuzu again came out on top with 218 units (down 9.9%), ahead of Hino (152 units, down 3.8%), Fuso (96 units, down 10.4%), IVECO (50 units, down 28.6%) and Fiat which enjoyed a spike of 57.1% with an encouraging 33 trucks sold in the first month.