ANALYSIS: SWEDES SIZZLE IN HEAVY-DUTY SALES RACE

By: Steve Brooks


Volvo and Scania are the star performers in a 2019 heavy-duty truck market which continues to stay strong despite a cooling economy and softening demand for light and medium-duty trucks.

ANALYSIS: SWEDES SIZZLE IN HEAVY-DUTY SALES RACE
A big year for Scania, burying the disappointment of 2018; Volvo on a roll, with Kenworth’s leadership mantle firmly in sight

 

Figures released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) for the nine months to the end of September show Volvo inching its way ever closer to Kenworth’s crown as leader of the heavy-duty truck market.

At the end of September, Volvo had narrowed the gap to just 32 units with Kenworth notching 1,688 deliveries for the year and Volvo gliding further into the slipstream with 1,656 units.

For the year to the end of September, Kenworth held 17.8 per cent of the heavy-duty sector and Volvo, 17.4 per cent. However, the most telling factor in the hunt for heavy-duty honours is that the Swedish giant has outsold its illustrious rival in four of the last five months, September included.

The contest for heavy-duty leadership has never been closer and while it could be argued if the reason is Kenworth’s contraction or Volvo’s vigour, most industry watchers agree the final tally at the end of the year could see the two market titans separated by just a handful of sales.


A full round-up of September's sales figures, here


Meantime, while overall truck market leader Isuzu comfortably maintains third place in the heavy-duty category, it is Scania’s march up the ladder into fourth spot, pushing Mack back to fifth, which is especially noteworthy.

Scania makes no secret of the fact that while 2017 was a great year for the brand, notching more than 1,000 unit sales for the first time in its Australian history, 2018 was a massive disappointment due to supply problems from Europe which stifled the excitement and potential of an entirely new model range.  

But now, with supply lines more fluid and its new range scoring big wins across the operator spectrum, 2019 is shaping to be the best year yet for Scania Australia.

To the end of September, Scania had delivered 856 heavy-duty trucks to take 9.0 per cent of the category and at this rate ‘the other Swede’ is on track to top 1,100 units for the year.

The only other brands to notch more than 500 deliveries for the year to the end of September were Mack and Mercedes-Benz with 785 (8.3 per cent) and 774 units (8.1 cent) respectively.

From there, the numbers drop dramatically with Hino being the best of the rest at 4.6 per cent, followed by negligible numbers from Iveco on 3.8 per cent, Fuso 3.6, DAF 3.5, UD 3.1, MAN 3.0, Freightliner 2.3, Western Star 2.2, Dennis Eagle 0.7 and International with a paltry 0.4 per cent.

Yet despite International’s dismal performance, the wooden spoon actually goes to newcomer Hyundai with three heavy-duty sales now of its books. Could this be the start of something more substantial from the Korean maker? Perhaps, but given Hyundai’s chequered efforts in the Australian truck market to date, the brand will need to show far more consistency and commitment than previous attempts to gain a foothold.

In total, 9,507 heavy-duty trucks had been delivered to the Australian market to the end of September, equating to a full-year total in excess of 12,000 units.

Sure, not a record but still nothing to be sneezed at given the fluctuating, febrile nature of the current economic climate.   

 

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