Truck sales continue to recover

Truck manufacturers are beginning to show signs of cautious optimism as the year draws to a close

Truck sales continue to recover
Truck sales continue to recover

By Gary Worrall | October 12, 2010

With more than 2000 trucks delivered to customers in September 2010, truck manufacturers are beginning to show signs of cautious optimism as the year draws to a close.

While a variety of reasons can be seen as responsible, not the least the increase in activity in the mining sector, combined with the move to ADR 80/03 emission rules which sees all-new trucks entering the marketplace, the reality is Australian operators are buying new trucks again.

Isuzu remains king of the kids with 589 deliveries for the month according to the T-Mark truck sales data – well ahead of perennial runner-up Hino, with 318 deliveries for the month.

Fuso remains a solid third with 233 units delivered, followed by big-truck specialist Kenworth with 147 deliveries. Iveco is holding station with 103 deliveries during the month.

For most brands, September – traditionally one of the quieter months for sales – was about holding their place in the sales order as they wait for opportunities to present themselves in the new year.

Some of the European brands also say supply problems prevent them from improving in the sales ranking as overseas factories struggle to meet increasing demand.

However, there is an air of confidence these shortfalls will be eliminated by 2011.

In the light trucks division, Isuzu is virtually unstoppable. It had 301 deliveries during the month, more than key competitors Fuso (142) and Hino (135) combined.

Despite this, all three manufacturers would be pleased with the continuing strength of the market.

While it remains below the historical highs of 2006 and 2007, there is no doubt buyers are once more opening their wallets for new equipment.

Also recording sales as light trucks during the month are the cab-chassis versions of heavy duty vans, with Mercedes-Benz the top performer for the month with 56 units.

Just behind them, but still leading the way for the division is Ford, with 49 units handed over for the month.

Iveco and Fiat remain consistent sellers, sending out 43 and 41 units respectively, with Volkswagen delivering better than one unit per day to finish with 35 units.

In what is another sign as to the strength of the recovering market, all of the cab-chassis manufacturers delivered above the year-to-date averages, pointing towards a strong finish to 2010 and a healthy start to 2011.

Isuzu trucks remain the weapon of choice for operators in the medium duty segment, again outselling the combined efforts of Hino and Fuso by 242 to 156 and 71 respectively.

UD remains something of a quiet achiever in this market, delivering 55 trucks to claim 10 percent of the monthly market. It is a significant increase on the company’s year-to-date share of the market of 8.8 percent.

European manufacturers Mercedes-Benz (13 units), Iveco (7 units) and MAN (5 units) were the only others to trouble the record keepers in September, with DAF, Volvo and Freightliner not adding to their year-to-date tallies.

The heavy truck segment is about the only one where Isuzu is not the dominant name. Instead, this is the preserve of the ‘built in Bayswater’ brand of Kenworth.

Having just launched its 2011 models, Kenworth is keen to clear the decks of remaining 2010 stocks despite being a made-to-order manufacturer.

Its 147 deliveries in what has otherwise been a struggling market is a superb effort, and one which is well clear of its rivals.

Volvo remains the second-most popular brand with 74 deliveries, maintaining a solid lead over Western Star (65 units), while Isuzu solidifies its fourth place with 46 units handed over to operators.

In what is best seen as a sign of the strengthening of the market, Mack (50 units), Iveco (53 units), Freightliner (47 units) and Mercedes-Benz (60 units) all had strong months, with plenty of new trucks entering service.

This is backed up by the other imported brands, such as Hino, Scania, Fuso, DAF, MAN and UD all delivering trucks into the segment, with every brand handing over at least 12 trucks for the month.

While truck sales are beginning to creep towards the historic highs of 2006 and 2007, the van market remains relatively stable, with plenty of equipment landing in the hands of new owners.

Mercedes-Benz remains the top seller, with 170 deliveries for the month, outselling nearest rival Ford (83) by two units to one, while Volkswagen’s new models are also proving popular, with 51 units delivered in September.

Fiat remains a key part of the market, although its 25 units is a marked decrease compared to previous months. Volkswagen now establishing a buffer after the two brands were just one unit apart at the close of August.

In contrast, Iveco and Renault are improving their overall share of the market.

Renault had a particularly strong month with 18 units, while Iveco made 15 deliveries. The two companies are now separated by just two units in year-to-date figures – 111 (Iveco) to Renault’s 109.

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