Truck sales trajectory hints at deeper malaise

Some individual wins only as light-duty now below 2017 levels

Truck sales trajectory hints at deeper malaise
Scania, at least, has been buoyed by its Q3 results


Commercial vehicle sales continue to limp towards this calendar year’s finish line, falling well below October levels of the past two years, the Truck Industry Council (TIC) reveals.

All up, sales just ticked over the 3,000 mark (3,082), representing a consecutive month-on-month dip, and year-on-year decreases on 2018 (3,781) and 2017 (3,410).

The trajectory may foreshadow a challenging outlook for 2020.

Still, individual wins can be found in the numbers, with Scania in particular lauding its year to date performance, despite what it notes are "signs of a softening in global markets".

"We’re pretty confident that 2019 will be a record year for deliveries of vehicles for Scania Australia (bus and truck), with the previous truck deliveries benchmark of 1,004 (from 2017) … within reach for this year," it says in a communique.

"From a truck perspective, this is excellent news for operators who are keen to drive down their operating costs, and great news for drivers given the safety equipment fitted as standard to all NTGs [New Truck Generation]."


Heavy-duty remains the one sector with some lingering optimism, increasing from 1,064 to 1,079 – a third consecutive MOM rise.

That’s where the good news ends, however, as the October figure falls below 1,398 in 2018 and 1,188 in 2017.

How the truck sales boom of 2018 became a distant memory

October delivered some relief to Kenworth, which snapped Volvo’s recent run and regained top spot with 234 deliveries to 211.

Its lead is now back to 55 units for the year (1,922 vs. 1,867), which, with two months to go, makes it all the more difficult for Volvo to pip it at the post, despite the Swede’s best efforts.

That’s not to say that Volvo had a poor month, either.

In fact, both the top two went back over the 200 mark (Volvo was 198 last month and Kenworth 177), doing most of the heavy lifting in this sector this month.


There were decreases all round in the medium-duty sector, which dropped under 600 for the first time since February.

The final figure reads 594, well down on September 2019 (622), and October 2018 (721) and 2017 (652).

The significant brand narrative here is Hino’s local push in this space took it as close to overtaking Isuzu as one can get: 210 vs. 211 for the month.

Still, it’s the one main player to record a MOM increase, and digging deeper – its YTD of 1,957 is well above 2018’s 1,819 and 2017’s 1768 – also highlights the medium-duty progress Hino has made.


Much like the medium-duty sector, light-duty sales look bleak, and the news gets worse when looking at longer-term trends.

The figure of 930 is down on September (986) and 2018 (1,234) and 2017 (1,045).

The alarming indicator here is that light-duty becomes the first sector to drop below 2017’s YTD – 9,498 – by one unit.  

For Isuzu, at least, it was able to widen its gap over Hino (351 vs. 202 for the month compared to 319 vs. 219 in September), while Iveco enjoyed a third consecutive MOM rise (86/111/144).


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