Commercial vehicles bid to push past sales doldrums

June sales figures hide patches of weakness but heavy-duty strength appears to be returning

Commercial vehicles bid to push past sales doldrums
Commercial vehicle sales appear to be on the right track.


On the face of it, Australia’s topsy-turvy commercial vehicles sales year has seen its first half end on a high, with reasons for optimism emerging for the year as a whole.

A desultory start and false dawn following a promising March figure has given way to the biggest June for the year and first half for the decade so far, at 3,447 and 15,140 respectively, seemingly adding evidence to the bullishness manufacturers displayed at the Brisbane Truck Show.

In fact, the year-to-date figure is the highest since the heady pre-global financial crisis days of 2008, when boom times saw 18,218 new vehicles find owners.

On a monthly basis, last month was the best June since 2009, when the tail end of the boom time was still being felt.

Month on month, it was the second month in a row of growth and the first this year  to breach the 3,000 mark, being above March’s 2,893.

But the raw figures show that much of the impetus being driven by a few marques, notably Isuzu and Mercedes-Benz Vans, though, for once, there has been steady growth in the heavy-duty sector.

For the individual manufacturers, market leader Isuzu returned to 2010 form with just one unit less that its decade record of 772 for the month, up from last May’s 609 and April’s 545. Though its half-year total of 3,337 was above last year’s figure, it was under 2012’s 3,477.

Fuso was back on track, bursting through the 300 mark to 335 after months in the 200s.

It will please the Truck Industry Council somewhat that heavy duty sales undergoing something of a renaissance. At 1,071 June was the year’s best month and the first in four figures, while it will keep in mind that, at 4,642, the first half failed to match the previous three years’ half-way marks, which were all above 5,000.

Some in this segment, such as Scania and Iveco, have seen sales double or more, with the former at 111 heavy units compared with three months at 57 or less, while the latter saw April’s 35 rising to June’s 86.

Mack also had a pleasing rise, to 115 after three months in the 70s.

The medium-duty segment was up also, to 657 after bobbing between the 400s and 500s, with Isuzu showing steady improvement to 259 and others returning to around their March levels for the year.

The light-duty segment was reached four figures for the first time this year, at 1,047, with Isuzu at 399 from the mid-200s since February.

Amongst the vans, Mercedes-Benz’s dominance reached new heights, as a total of 332 made a mockery of earlier totals around the 200 level, while bridesmaid Renault finds it difficult to push much past 150.

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