November truck trade dip bodes ill for record

Commercial vehicles sales may come a brave second to 2018


Has the truck sales record tilt run out of puff? Plenty of punters would be tearing up their tickets now in similar circumstances at a race track.

The reason, the November Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures show, is the size of the dip from October to November.

In the record year of 2018, it was 54 units, while this year it was 155. This left the market with a 297 unit deficit running into December.

This year had a November figure of 3,650, with a year-to-date at 37,876 against 2018’s 3,727 and 38,173.

Insurmountable? Maybe. Especially if Isuzu is left to do all the heavy lifting.

And Isuzu certainly is proving a titan, having broken into four figures for the month at 1,010.

This time in 2018, it scored a more modest 888. Should the remarkable Japanese make sell just 752 trucks in December, it will score its own record and pip 2018’s 10,027 peak by one.

See how the market was travelling this time last year, here

And this is where its own battle with history gets interesting. Last year, its December total was 760 and in 2019 634, while the bumper year’s November stood at 952.

Hino can’t be accused of shirking the fight. It’s November was 501/5,663 against 2018’s 552/5,199, nor Fuso with 450/4,324 and 326/3,899.

Heavy duty

Unlikely though it would be, any finger-pointing if the record is missed might be aimed at the heavier segments. Here it would be at the 1,316/11,733 against 1,399/13,158.

Of the makes, the first thing to say here is “welcome back, Volvo!”

Still well adrift of perennial segment leader Kenworth, the big Swede’s 199 pushes Isuzu back into third place with 183, while Mercedes-Benz slipped into fourth with 104.

The 2018 comparison tell a story, with Kenworth’s 269/2,545 well shaded by 2018’s 326/2,687, as is Volvo 199/1,527 and 238/1,997 and Isuzu 183/1,311 versus 157/1,674.

At least the dip was not in play, November’s segment total being three units up on October.

This was due to the likes of DAF being up15 to 93UD up six to 74 and even Mack, up eight to 54, though barely recognisable against its November 2018 of 126.

Medium duty

Mid-range and the market is battling tenaciously. For one, its November put 80 more units on October to reach 688 and a YTD of 6,656.

But that can’t compete seriously with 2018’s 710/7,517.

Formerly, the three majors could have relied on MAN and UD to chip in, as they did three years ago with 58 and 42. Last month, they were at seven and 12.

Of the leading trio, Hino makes a good comparative case with 177/2,117 against 201/2,020, as does Fuso 141/1,311 against 106/1,118, while Isuzu makes a late charge with 321/2,734 versus 290/3,015.

For Isuzu, that was also a monthly lift of 27 units on this October’s 294.

Light duty

And so to the all-conquering light end of the market, which has record written all over it.

Gasp at the comparison with 2018: 1,296/13,151 belittling the previous performance of 1,153/11,941.

Be amazed at Isuzu’s mastery of the last peak – 506/5,231 against 441/4,386 – ably supported this time by Fuso’s 259/2,485 over 183/2,260, not to mention early work by Hino showing up with 282/3,013 and 295/2,616.

At the business end of this intriguing contest the leading Japanese triumvirate have led from the front.


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