Sales record on tar­get

Owner Driver - - Behind The Wheel - Greg Bush

THE YEAR 2007 was a record year for Aus­tralian truck sales, but those fig­ures look likely to be sur­passed in 2018, de­spite the doom­say­ers pre­dict­ing it would take much longer to re­cover from the global fi­nan­cial crash. Ac­cord­ing to the Truck In­dus­try Coun­cil (TIC), 27,159 com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles were sold in Aus­tralia by the end of Au­gust, up from 23,008 at the same time in 2017. That’s a healthy leap in the right di­rec­tion.

De­spite the TIC re­port­ing the usual drop-off at the end of the fi­nan­cial year, sales are well on track to sur­pass last year’s to­tal tally.

The down­side of the in­creased de­mand for new trucks, mainly the im­ported mod­els, is that cus­tomers are hav­ing to wait longer for their pur­chases to ar­rive.

Lead­ing the mar­ket across all sec­tors is peren­nial pace­set­ter Isuzu, which has in­creased its mar­ket per­cent­age as well as year-to-date sales fig­ures. How­ever, Isuzu’s main im­prove­ment has come through the medium duty and heavy duty seg­ments. In the light duty cat­e­gory Hino has nar­rowed the gap, al­though that gap re­mains sig­nif­i­cant.

Isuzu is one of the no­table big movers in the heavy duty sec­tor. Al­though its mar­ket per­cent­age has in­creased only slightly, at the end of Au­gust it had sold more than 300 heavy duty trucks com­pared to the same time pe­riod in 2017, main­tain­ing its third place po­si­tion be­hind Kenworth and Volvo.

‘King’ Kenworth re­mains the fron­trun­ner in the heavy mar­ket, in­creas­ing its mar­ket share per­cent­age from 17.8 to 19.9, and sell­ing more than 1,800 trucks dur­ing those eight months.

Volvo’s per­cent­age has re­mained static, de­spite sell­ing more than 300 trucks than the same time last year. Volvo Group Aus­tralia, how­ever, could ar­gue that its com­bined sta­ble of Volvo, Mack and UD trucks has out­pointed Pac­car’s com­bi­na­tion of Kenworth and DAF in both per­cent­ages and sales.

Among other heavy duty man­u­fac­tur­ers, MercedesBenz has moved up to fourth place with a healthy in­crease in sales, al­though sta­ble­mate Freight­liner suf­fered a slight slump. Freight­liner will be bank­ing on the ar­rival of the new Cas­ca­dia in 2020 (see page 90) to lift its stocks and put the pres­sure on con­ven­tional mod­els from Kenworth and Mack.

Aside from Volvo, other Eu­ro­pean truck mak­ers ap­pear to be tread­ing wa­ter. De­spite the im­pact of its Next Gen­er­a­tion mod­els, Sca­nia suf­fered a slight drop in sales, as did MAN, al­though the lat­ter’s new 640hp TGX 26.640 should see an im­prove­ment when it hits even­tu­ally hits the mar­ket.

Iveco also has dropped slightly in heavy duty per­cent­ages, al­though its sales have slightly in­creased, not in­clud­ing the mod­est amount of In­ter­na­tional trucks sold since it re­cently re­turned to the Iveco Aus­tralia fold.

All up, TIC an­tic­i­pates 2018 to be a record year for truck sales in Aus­tralia, reach­ing 14,000 in the heavy duty seg­ment and close to 40,000 for the to­tal truck and van mar­ket.

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