Good third quarter sales of new trucks

By: Steve Skinner


Best third quarter since the GFC, but the market still lags 2013 sales, and heavy duty trucks down.

Good third quarter sales of new trucks
Cautiously optimistic: Truck Industry Council CEO Tony McMullan.

 

There is some good news emerging on the new truck sales front, with the July to September quarter seeing the strongest growth in heavy vehicle sales all year.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) says July to September 2014 is the strongest third quarter since the global financial crisis. Sales are up almost 200 units on the same period last year.

However, total truck and heavy van sales for the first nine months of 2014 are down 2 per cent on the same period in 2013, at 22,311 units.

It’s the fifth best, or the fifth worst, result in the past ten years.

"The ‘average’ year continues!" the TIC says in its sales results commentary.

The result is down almost 20 per cent from the record nine month mark established in 2008, prior to the GFC.

"The van segment remains strong, as we have seen all year," the TIC says.

"Medium and light duty sales have rallied in quarter three, while the big end of town, the heavy duty segment, has seen a reasonable decline."

The heavy duty truck segment showed a September total of 910 units, down 9 per cent on September 2013. This segment also lags behind sales for the third quarter of 2013.

Year-to-date total heavy duty sales are 7,761 trucks, 6 per cent down on 2013. 

September 2014 saw medium duty sales of 604 units – beating the September 2013 result by 3 per cent – and the third quarter result is higher than for the same quarter last year.

However, the strong third quarter has not made up for the average first half year, with total 2014 medium duty segment sales to the end of September of 4,783 units, down more than 4 per cent  compared with 2013.

"Like the medium duty segment, light duty truck sales have bounced back in the third quarter of 2014," the TIC says.

There were 751 light duty units sold in September, up 10 per cent on the same month in 2013, while sales for the third quarter in the light duty segment were also up against the third quarter in 2013.

However, as with medium duty, due to a poor start in 2014 the year-to-date light duty segment lags 2013 by 2 per cent with a total of 6,370 sales.

Meanwhile, heavy van sales (over 3.5 tonnes) "remain solid " with almost 3,400 units sold, representing 11 per cent growth over the year to September 2013.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan says he is "cautiously optimistic".

"It is good to see a positive result in the third quarter for both the medium and light duty segments and while van sales have slowed in the past three months, year-to-date this segment remains strong," McMullan says.

"However sales in the heavy duty category continue to trend down, now lagging the 2013 year-to-date result by 6 per cent.

"Like the general economy that is experiencing growth in some sectors while others are flat or struggling, truck sales – while better in quarter three – are not as strong as I would have hoped for this year.

"There appears to be a greater reluctance for the larger capital investment required to purchase new heavy duty trucks and this is an obvious concern for renewing the truck fleet."

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