Truck Sales Slowing

By: Steve Skinner

Truck Industry Council blames looming election and economic uncertainty

Truck sales have declined in August compared with the same time last year, with most segments contributing to the fall.

The latest T-Mark figure of 2,419 units was 8 per cent lower than for August 2012.

However the market has still grown 3 per cent in the year to date compared with the same time last year, to almost 20,100 units.

This is the best cumulative result since 2008’s record.

Most months in 2013 have been the strongest since the GFC -- but not August.

Growth in the heavy duty segment for the year has now slowed considerably, with 904 units sold in August.

Medium duty truck sales, at 525, were 15 per cent down on the same month last year.

However the light duty truck and van segments were not as badly affected as the larger categories. Light duty truck sales were 738 units, and vans (above 3.5 tonnes GVM) totaled 252 units. (The van segment has grown by more than eight per cent in the year to date.)

"The August truck sales reflect the condition of slow capital equipment and business investment leading up to a federal election and economic uncertainty," says Tony McMullan, CEO of the Truck Industry Council.

"TIC members are hopeful that truck operators will gain confidence and place orders during September that may have been postponed during the past few months," McMullan says.

"Nevertheless, a resumption of the business investment cycle will take three to four months to be reflected in truck deliveries, so will only be evident in December 2013 and early 2014. 

"It is quite possible that the next two to three monthly T-Mark results will fail to reach the same totals experienced in 2012, as has happened in August, with perhaps an upturn in the market being indicated at the end of the year." 

In terms of truck brands, the complete sales pecking order was the same in August 2013 as in July, with Isuzu in front as usual followed by the other biggest sellers Hino, Fuso, Kenworth, Iveco, Volvo and Western Star.

However for spots 8, 9, 10 and 11 -- compared with the year to August 2012 -- Daimler brands Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz swapped places with Volvo brands Mack and UD, jumping ahead of them for the year to August 2013.

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