July truck sales slide down June peaks

Truck Industry Council voices concern at sustainability of growth pace following economic warnings

July truck sales slide down June peaks
July truck sales slide down June peaks

Welcome back, Renault. The make has returned to the truck sales figures with two units sold in July, albeit in the light truck category.

Those sales surfaced in the Truck Industry Council’s (TIC) latest T-Mark figures and raise the question of when a truck is a truck rather than a heavy van.

When weight is the sole determinant, the anomaly of the Renault Master "light-duty truck" comes into play.

As TIC Chief Technical Officer Simon Humphries explains, the Master’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) has changed over time.

"For the past 2-3 years, Master was rated at 3,500 kg exactly, putting it in the domain of "Light Commercial vehicles" (i.e. up to and including 3,500 kg GVM), and not trucks (non-passenger vehicles above 3,500 kg GVM). Before that, Master was rated at 3,501 or 3,510 kg," Humphries writes in response to our query.

"July saw 123 Renault sales appear in T-Mark. Two of these appear to be cab-chassis, rated at 4,500 kg GVM.

"The remainder are vans, rated at 3,510 kg."

He surmises that the two vehicles in question might be engineering pilot or ADR compliance units.

"Renault has sold very few cab-chassis variants of the Master in the past, although they did have a model or two available for sale," he adds.

Meanwhile, a certain volatility is at play generally in sales.

The heavy-duty section has seen total number slip below the 1,000 unit mark after two months in four figures.

Against that, the TIC points out that the 939 July deliveries was still 2.6 percent up on July 2012 and the third-best figures for the month after July 2007 and 2008.

Notable has been the steady rise of Volvo, which sold 89 in April and hit 138 in July.

Most other makes came off year highs last month.

The rise and fall was replicated in the medium-duty segment, where Hino hit a speed-bump, falling from 236 units in June to 139.

The story was similar in light duty figures, where it was that Fuso lost more than half of June’s total of 223 units, recording 118.

Again, compared with July 2012, this segment was up 5.6 percent.

Here, it was Mercedes-Benz with the promising figures, up from 14 in April to 39 last month.

While TIC CEO Tony McMullen says his members were "encouraged" by the sales in the year to date, Federal Government economic forecasts were worrying and there was a chance "the same level of sales growth may not be sustainable for the remainder of the year".

McMullen also noted that Bureau of Statistics Motor Vehicle Census figures showed that the average age of the registered national truck fleet was almost 14 years.

"Around 200,000 of these vehicles were built before 1996, and so were not required to comply with any emissions standard," he adds.

"TIC believes that truck operators should be encouraged to replace these oldest trucks in their fleets with new vehicles to improve levels of productivity, safety and environmental stewardship."

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