Isuzu hangs on to truck sales lead...just

Wild weather that hit the east coast also affected the local truck market, but Isuzu retained number one status

Isuzu hangs on to truck sales lead...just
Isuzu hangs on to truck sales lead…just

By Gary Worrall | February 3, 2011

The wild weather that hit the east coast of Australia in January did more than dampen people’s spirits, with the local truck market recording its lowest January result for many years.

Despite the widespread devastation of the flooding and fires, there is an underlying optimism, with many manufacturers agreeing the market will improve as the year progresses.

The biggest surprise so far is the news Hino managed to comprehensively outsell arch-rival Isuzu in the medium duty market 148 units to 102. It was well ahead of Fuso (36) and UD Trucks (30), with Iveco next best with nine deliveries.

When questioned if the company had secured a new contract that accounted for the strong result, a Hino spokesman was not certain of the buyer and was unable to give any extra detail.

Despite being knocked off in medium duty, Isuzu bounced back to be comfortably top of the light duty market 143 units to Hino’s 82.

The biggest surprise in this category was Iveco, which equalled Fuso’s result of 42 to share third billing, marginally ahead of Fiat’s 38 units.

Hyundai and Cat Trucks both appeared on the sales sheets for the first time, with Hyundai handing over 14 units in the light duty segment in an encouraging start in a competitive environment.

Five of the recently released Cat Trucks are now in the hands of owners.

Speaking about the market generally, Isuzu Chief Operating Officer Phil Taylor says the January figures are able to stand on their own as they are not the result of either government, manufacturer or dealer incentives and actually reflect the true state of the market.

"It will be a little slow to start with in 2011, but we have faith in the market," Taylor says.

Another to share Taylor’s optimism is Western Star and Man Automotive’s Pat Cook, who says the company’s prospects are good despite its dealership and corporate head office being heavily affected by the Queensland floods.

"It was a tough start to the year due to the Brisbane flooding, but we did all right considering the market is down. We should have done better," Cook says.

While Man’s official market share is 3.1 percent – achieved with the delivery of 16 units overall – Cook says there are a number of military specification trucks that are sold every month that do not appear in the sales statistics.

"We are strong in mining also with our off-road trucks. In Western Australia Man and Western Star have 7.3 percent of the truck market each due to their popularity with mining companies."

Taylor, who is also president of the Truck Industry Council for 2011, says he has no doubt the overall truck market will recover this year, with the economic impact of the extreme weather a two-way street.

"I think the most benefit will come from the building and allied industries more so than fleets replacing damaged trucks, but it will come," he says.

A number of manufacturers agreed with Taylor’s views, saying the rebuilding effort will offer plenty of opportunity for the transport sector to benefit from increased demand.

Chief among these was Man and Western Star’s Pat Cook who says while there has been a cost in human and economic terms, the recovery process "can be good".

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