August truck sales struggle to rebound


Soft demand continues to bedevil commercial vehicle sales, with Truck Industry Council (TIC) figures for August showing total sales in the year to date lower than the previous two years. <br /><br /> Despite that, some sectors in the market and some makes have shown a degree of resilience. Looking back, total year-to-date sales, at 18,073, was below 19,455 in 2010 and 18,841 in 2009.

By Rob McKay | October 3, 2011

Soft demand continues to bedevil commercial vehicle sales, with Truck Industry Council (TIC) figures for August showing total sales in the year to date lower than the previous two years.

Despite that, some sectors in the market and some makes have shown a degree of resilience.

Looking back, total year-to-date sales, at 18,073, was below 19,455 in 2010 and 18,841 in 2009.

The heavy-duty sector, at 5,668, was 279 vehicles down on last year, which marked the end of government incentives, but still up on the 2009 figure of 5,550.

August 2011 was a good month for this segment at 753, out-performing the previous two Augusts, at 607 last year and 687 the year before.

Kenworth notched a similarly pleasing result in this sector, with a 40 percent rise in sales compared with Augusts in the previous two years and a healthy though reduced lead over Volvo.

A much sadder story was told in the medium-duty sector, where the Japanese earthquake and tsunami may have compounded the global financial crisis and negative side of two-speed economy.

Isuzu and Hino were particularly hard hit, with market-leader Isuzu’s year-to-date sales down to 1,546 from 1,915 the year before and 2,021 in 2009. For Hino, the figures, were 1,021, 1,261 and 1,391.

And the figures were as doleful for the market segment as a whole, with total year-to-date sales at 4,075, plunging from 4667 and 4,863.

The light-duty segment was a bit more complicated but similar to the heavy-duty sector, with total sales, at 5,945, above 2009’s 5,520 but below last year’s 6,193.

The big mover here was Mercedes-Benz, which, at fourth, heads the second tier and whose year-to-date sales have soared to 367, from 247 last year and 216 in 2009.

Mercedes-Benz continues to rule the light delivery vehicles’ roost, a sector that has that has lost 250 vehicles, or nearly 10 percent of sales, in each of the last three years.

The make, at 1,121 may have fallen beneath the 1200 mark but is in clover compared with Ford, which, though still in second place with 627 has lost more than 30 percent of its sales since 2009, when it came close to four figures at 993 for the year to August.

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