May rebound in medium and light duty truck sales

Heavy-duty performance lags as former segment leader falls further

May rebound in medium and light duty truck sales
Heavy-duty sales are struggling but Followmont Transport can’t be blamed


With nearly half of an increasingly dismal calendar year gone, some unheralded good news arrives on the May commercial vehicles sales front in the form of a 319-unit bounce on April’s total.

Total May sales come in at 2,621, according to Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures, for a year-to-date (YTD) total of 11,828.

Given unique economic circumstances on top of an already turning cycle, meaningful comparisons are increasingly difficult, particularly against the boom years just past. Suffice to say, again, 2015 provides a reinforcing reference, with that May total of 2,688 and the YTD at 11,693.

It is difficult to know whether Covid-19 spooked the April market but perhaps that was the darkest month and impending loosening of restrictions boosted confidence.

Certainly, the Reserve Bank sees the downturn as perhaps being more shallow than expected. Time will tell and end-of-financial year pencil-sharpening

Heavy duty

The bounce in total sales comes against the downward trend in heavy-duty truck sales, which come in at 756 units, 53 units down on April.

Though some observers place caveats on Isuzu’s market positioning in the segment, the fact remains it kicks Kenworth into third place for the month by the slimmest of margins, 109 to 108, with Volvo marking a second month on top with a commanding 155.

See how things looked for truck sales in April, here

This is three of the last four months that Volvo has led this segment, while Isuzu’s jump from last month was 23 units.

Movements of other makes were almost entirely in single figures down, except for western Star, up five to 28.

Medium duty

The total sales bounce is evident in the ever-enigmatic and now more volatile medium-duty segment, at 515 units, up 98 on April. This year has seen swings of up to 10 per cent month on month.

No changing of the guard here with Isuzu jumping 54 units and back above the 200 mark to 223.

Hino holds second place comfortably with a barely changed 154, up three, while Fuso climbs 25 units to 88.

And MAN climbs 13 to 27, its best total for the year since January’s 45..

Light duty

But it is the light-duty segment that has rebounded the most, to 899 units after a truly awful April at 706. It is the best segment performance of the year.

Also again, it was segment leader Isuzu making the running, nearly doubling, from 206 to 378, the previous month.

Perennial second place holder Hino was also up a solid but more modest 36 units to 239, while Fuso also has the wind beneath its wings, up 59 units to 163.

Fiat also bounced back, from 23 to 34, after scoring a year high of 57 in February.

Some of this may have come at the expense of Iveco, however, down 42 units to 47, and Mercedes-Benz, down 12 units to 14, a level which finds it duelling with Hyundai, which seems to be finding a level at around 10 units.


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