Heavy duty silver lining for truck sales


The truck sales market contracted 5.2 percent in calendar 2011, according to Truck Industry Council figures. <br /><br /> The Council’s T-mark data shows 27,858 units were shifted during the year, down from 29,393 in 2010.

January 12, 2012

The truck sales market contracted 5.2 percent in calendar 2011, according to Truck Industry Council figures.

The Council’s T-mark data shows 27,858 units were shifted during the year, down from 29,393 in 2010.

The figure was 2.8 percent lower than the previous worst recent yearly performance – 2009, which had been cruelled by the global financial crisis (GFC).

While van sales as reported by VFACTS had returned fairly close to pre-GFC 2007 levels, those for trucks were still 27 percent down from the 38,134 vehicle peak.

The Council expressed no surprise at the relatively stronger second half last year, given some recovery in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami in the first half.

But December gave little cause for confidence, with total truck sales at 2,505 being 9.3 percent down on December 2010 and just 11 units better than November.

Breaking down the figures, by comparable month, quarter and full year the percentage outcomes were:

  • Light duty: -1, -4, -6.8
  • Medium-duty: -1, -2.9 (third quarter), -9.9
  • Heavy duty: +7.4, +20.1, +4.8

The light-duty van segment has fallen off a cliff, with fourth-quarter sales 32.6 percent down on the previous December, 27.8 percent down on the previous fourth quarter and 15.7 percent down for the year.

TIC President Phil Taylor was pessimistic about swift growth visiting the local market soon, though the Council does forecast a slight improvement this year compared with last year.

"The 2011 truck sales result indicates the changing shape of the market and reflects Australia’s two-speed economy to some degree," Taylor says.

"Heavy truck sales have been stronger after a slow start to the year, while other segments have slowed down.

"We are seeing a polarisation of the market towards the heavy end, particularly as the mining boon continues, while the demand for smaller, more frequent deliveries in our urban areas keeps demand strong for light commercial vehicles and light trucks.

"Australian truck suppliers will keep a close watch on the European economic situation in 2012 and its effect on global credit and trade, as well as the effect of strong cross-currency exchange rates and monetary policy."

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The truck sales market contracted 5.2 percent in calendar 2011, according to Truck Industry Council figures.

The Council’s T-mark data shows 27,858 units were shifted during the year, down from 29,393 in 2010.

The figure was 2.8 percent lower than the previous worst recent yearly performance – 2009, which had been cruelled by the global financial crisis (GFC).

While van sales as reported by VFACTS had returned fairly close to pre-GFC 2007 levels, those for trucks were still 27 percent down from the 38,134 vehicle peak.

The Council expressed no surprise at the relatively stronger second half last year, given some recovery in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami in the first half.

But December gave little cause for confidence, with total truck sales at 2,505 being 9.3 percent down on December 2010 and just 11 units better than November.

Breaking down the figures, by comparable month, quarter and full year the percentage outcomes were:

Light duty: -1, -4, -6.8

Medium-duty: -1, -2.9 (third quarter), -9.9

Heavy duty: +7.4, +20.1, +4.8

The light-duty van segment has fallen off a cliff, with fourth-quarter sales 32.6 percent down on the previous December, 27.8 percent down on the previous fourth quarter and 15.7 percent down for the year.

TIC President Phil Taylor was pessimistic about swift growth visiting the local market soon, though the Council does forecast a slight improvement this year compared with last year.

"The 2011 truck sales result indicates the changing shape of the market and reflects Australia’s two-speed economy to some degree," Taylor says.

"Heavy truck sales have been stronger after a slow start to the year, while other segments have slowed down.

"We are seeing a polarisation of the market towards the heavy end, particularly as the mining boon continues, while the demand for smaller, more frequent deliveries in our urban areas keeps demand strong for light commercial vehicles and light trucks.

"Australian truck suppliers will keep a close watch on the European economic situation in 2012 and its effect on global credit and trade, as well as the effect of strong cross-currency exchange rates and monetary policy."

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