Isuzu retains top spot for 2010

Isuzu finishes 2010 as the best selling truck brand in Australia - a record of 22 consecutive years on top

Isuzu retains top spot for 2010
Isuzu retains top spot for 2010

By Gary Worrall | January 20, 2011

For the 22nd consecutive year Isuzu Trucks finished as the top selling truck brand in the Australian market, heading up a clean sweep by Japanese manufacturers of the top three positions based on total sales.

Also somewhat unsurprisingly, Kenworth retained its sales leadership of the heavy duty segment, selling enough trucks to finish the year in fourth place on total sales.

As well as taking the outright honours, Isuzu comfortably cleaned up in the light and medium duty categories, and sold sufficient heavy duty product to be the third most popular brand in that segment, behind undisputed king Kenworth and Swedish brand Volvo.

Although these results give the impression of no changes at the top, Fuso and Hino waged a thrilling battle for second place, with honours shared when the books were closed on December 31.

While Hino held onto second place overall, finishing the year with a lead of close to 800 units, combined with a similar result in the medium duty segment, Fuso representatives closed enough deals in the light duty segment to grab second position for the year by nine units.

While the Mercedes-Benz truck division may have finished the year in 10th overall with 596 deliveries, the news is much better for the van section, which was Australia’s most popular thanks to strong contracts with Australia Post and various state emergency services units, amongst others, that saw over 2000 vans and cab-chassis variants delivered around the country.

Despite losing the Australia Post contract, Ford still salvaged some pride in the van segment, selling more than 1500 units in total. It finished comfortably ahead of third-placed FIAT (857 units), which just edged out Volkswagen (824 units).

Sadly, 2010 marked the end of an era as International Trucks departed the market after decades of Australian-built trucks rolling off the Dandenong assembly line in Victoria.

The good news for the market overall is a continuation of the slow recovery, which gives every indication sales volumes will increase into 2011 proper.

Also impacting on sales results during 2011 will be manufacturers offering run out deals on unsold 2010 models, with all new trucks built or imported after January 1, 2011 meeting the tougher ADR 80/03 exhaust emission specifications.

With some operators still uncertain about the impact on performance and operating cost of the new rules, 2010 plated trucks, meeting the previous ADR 80/02 regulations, could become hot property.

A counterpoint to the increasing levels of optimism among senior executives remains the environment, with much of Queensland and Victoria suffering severe flooding while Western Australia is in the grip of bushfires, which leaves question marks over how quickly major industries will be able to expand.

Of particular significance is the impact on Queensland’s mining sector, with a number of major developments potentially needing to be delayed until repairs to road and rail infrastructure are complete, although this is forecast to take up to three years.

Even this is not as gloomy as it sounds, as the materials required to complete the task will often need road transport, while the increase in business for construction-related trades also bodes well for an upswing in the retail sectors as more money enters the economy.

With an ever-increasing number of manufacturers plying their wares in Australia, which now has the most diverse commercial vehicle market in world, no mean feat considering the total sales for 2010 fell just short of 30,000 units for the combined truck and van markets, market share is going to become vital.

In addition to the existing players, at least four new names will feature on the leader board in 2011, with Cat Trucks and Hyundai set to be joined by Chinese brands Foton and Jac Trucks, along with rumoured debutants from India.

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