Truck sales moving on up out of Covid

All sizes indicate time to break free of pandemic slump

Truck sales moving on up out of Covid
Fuso made a light-duty splash last month


In racing terms, October might represent the start of the last lap, with Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark commercial vehicle sales figures confirming likely placings.

Some, such as Isuzu’s perennial front-running form, leads to a foregone conclusion in total numbers and medium- and light-duty segments, with the battle for minor placings perhaps pointing to where momentum might lie.

Elsewhere, makes are looking for something akin to personal bests in the struggle for higher ground.

And then there is the big picture for the whole sector, with hope that a return to some sort of normality will come with an economic rebound starts, well, now.

So, 10 months down the track, the numbers show a mixed tote bag.

Total year-to-date (YTD) sales are at 27,842 on October input of 3,011.

Of the most relevant – that is, non-spike – years, that is better than 2016’s 26,947 and 2,996 but below 2017’s 29,722 and 3,410.

Worth keeping in mind also that total sales are on something of a tear these past three months at 2,616, 2,858 and 3,011, which is a fair silver lining.

What stands out is Isuzu, at 726 units in all sizes, topping last year’s distinctly non-Covid October total of 684. Though its YTD figure of 6,833 trails last year’s 7,255, it speaks to confidence amongst certain buyers.

But its nearest rival fared badly, with Hino is also on this path at 402 for the month compared with last October’s 453 and YTD down a couple of hundred 4,206 against 4,546.

Worse, Hino-challenger Fuso is at 309 compared with 251 a year earlier and YTD is two units up at 2,824.

Heavy Duty

It is hard to go past the heavyweights in any contest and the one between Kenworth and Volvo this year has been a classic.

The segment total of 8,440 YTD and 1,013 for the month sits almost equidistant between 2016’s 7,819/872 and 2017’s 9,450/1,188.

That month-on-month (MOM) tear mentioned above is here too: 821,905 and 1,013

But during a Covid-struck year in which Volvo sped to the lead only to falter so far in the second half, Kenworth has displayed the requisite staying power.

So much so that though its YTD 1,546 is a long way behind last year’s 1,922, the October total is just four units behind at 230.

Volvo is at 1,462/143 and the gap will be difficult to make up in two months, despite the mighty early effort.

Read how heavy-duty trucks made a charge in September, here

Though really in a yearly battle with Scania, Mercedes-Benz bobbed up at 127 for the month for a YTD at 715, compared with the former’s 718/90.

That is good going at this level – just below Isuzu at 1050/113 – given last year it was 847/73 and 947/91 respectively.

Also doing creditably is Hino at 42 compared with 41 last year and DAF at 39 and 38, though YTDs for both were way down.

Medium Duty

The next step down speaks of a segment mired in the doldrums.

At 5,372/536, it is lower than at any time since 2015.

No MOM tear here, with a more sedate 484, 517 and 536 but still going in the right direction.

But it here that Isuzu’s starts to weave its magic, up 42 units for the month on last year, at 253, though down on YTD by 235 units to 2,210.

Hino is unable to handle the pace, at 1,792/159 compared with 1,957/210 in last year’s heady days.

Interestingly, Fuso stays steady with 871/84 compared with 897/86.

Light Duty

The lighter end of the truck market is where Isuzu struts its stuff and last month it really shines.

In a year marked by a heavy economic shock followed by huge federal government incentives the Japanese champion outstrips 2019 on both counts – 3,573/360 against 3,537/351.

That performance leads to a segments total at 8,934/934 against 9,497/930.

And it is supported by Hino at 2,018/201 against 2,111/202 but more-so by Fuso with 1,646/183 against 1,544/129.

The MOM figures were a little different at 849, 907 and 934.


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