Truck market defies doubters to continue boom in Feb

By: Jason Whittaker


Just released figures from ERG show the new truck market continues to boom, defying predictions it would begin to slow

Just released figures from ERG show the new truck market continues to boom, defying predictions it would begin to slow in 2008.

While total sales for the month exceeded 3000 units, including the light commercial van sector, it is the continuing strength of the heavy truck segment that has caught many by surprise.

Kenworth continues to dominate in the big trucks, selling 219 units in February, matching the year-to-date sales of its nearest competitor, Western Star.

Representatives from manufacturers and importers alike continue to predict a slowing of the market, however this must be tempered against research carried out by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and others, warning of a doubling of the freight task by 2020.

Japanese manufacturer Isuzu still dominates the total sales, outselling arch-rival Hino by almost three units to two, however Hino did claw some ground back in the medium duty segment, selling 256 units to Isuzu’s 232.

This result marks one of the rare occasions where Isuzu’s dominance has been challenged, and bodes well for truck buyers if a sales war develops between the two as the year progresses.

Despite expecting big things from its 300 Series, Hino must be more than a little bemused by the light duty result, where it slipped to third, with just 180 sales.

Topping out the class is Isuzu, which really flexed its sales muscle to shift 318 of its new N-Series trucks, while Mitsubishi Fuso sprang the surprise of the month, selling three additional units to edge out Hino for second, 183 to 180.

While Hino is not due to overhaul the 300 Series for at least another year, it will add a new string to its sales bow with the release of the 300 Series Hybrid, due here mid-year, stealing a march on its competitors.

Mitsubishi also picked up sales in the medium duty segment, with 82 of its products finding a home in February, compared to 66 in the opening month of the year, while many others held ground during the month.

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