April truck sales continue to dip

Comparable performances seem to slip a year backwards regularly

April truck sales continue to dip
Hino had a month to remember


Now the market has the first calendar quarter and the first full month Covid-19 pandemic impact out of the way, clues to the outcome for the year start to come into focus.

Immediately obvious is the continued fall in commercial vehicle sales  totals, month on month (MOM).

April saw 2,303 sales, down from March’s 2,605 and February’s 2,448, according to Truck Industry Council T-Mark figures.

Observers would have to go back to 2014’s 2,214 to find a lower figure for the month, one beaten in 2015 by 87 units.

The year to date (YTD) figure is not quite so bad, due to the reasonable if softening start. At 9,207, it is significantly up from 2014’s 8,758 and a comfortably up on 2015’s 9,005, but below 2016’s 9,297.

With recent comparable performances this year echoing 2016, it seems comparable years are slipping backwards almost every month towards the post-global financial crisis doldrums.

Positives elusive as TIC views April sales totals. Read more


Heavy duty

There was no solid silver lining in the heavy-duty segment, which failed to buck the MOM total, with April’s 809 down from March’s 852, though up on 780 in February, the month when sales start to gain momentum for the calendar year. The YTD figure was 3,029

Here, the comparison with 2014 is close to being reinforced, with that April at 797 and YTD 3,178. That said, the figures for April 2016 were below both of them.

This year’s heavyweight championship, over 12 rounds has been a seesawing affair, with Kenworth having the edge on points at 160/398 but Volvo staying on terms at 150/372. April, however, sees Volvo move to break the contest wide open, with 186/558, with the champ at 127/525.

Read how commercial vehicle sales tracked in March, here

But the undercards tell the story of this month’s even, with the higher makes slipping back between two and 12 per cent and the minor ones adding a few. Notable was MAN, which doubled March’s total to 18.

Medium duty

Things are somewhat uglier in the medium-duty segment, which has lost 20 per cent MOM to hit 417, from April’s 526 and February’s 475, with YTD at 1,853.

Again, it’s 2014 territory, with that year at 430/1,793 and the otherwise somewhat soft 2016 at 550/1,922.

This year, the top trio bore the brunt in sheer numbers, with Isuzu down to 169 from 210, Hino down to 151 from 192 and Fuso down to 63 from 83.

And a muted cheer may have been heard from UD, up to eight from five in March and five in February.

Light duty

It was similar but less painful in the light-duty segment but with Hino providing a huge upset for the month, heading out Isuzu by three units.

That 206 total came after March’s 178, while Isuzu slumped from 332 to 203, or more than a third.

The segment’s monthly total of 706 is down on March’s 811 and February’s 746 and the YTD is 2,773.

Here, the comparable year is 2015’s 688/2,706 but it is possible to mark 2016 and it’s 873/3,015 as the year light-duty went on a four year tear.


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