Truck Industry Council laments poor start for truck sales

Manufacturers disappointed with January sales figures, as the average age of trucks heads toward 14 years.

Truck Industry Council laments poor start for truck sales
TIC CEO Tony McMullan wants government incentives in place to encourage operators to update their fleets.


Sales of new trucks in January only just reached 1,600 units, down 7 per cent on January 2014.

Only the post GFC-affected results of 2009 and 2011 have seen a worse start to a year.

Compared with the record pre-GFC January of 2008 when well over 2,200 trucks were sold, this January’s result is down almost 30 per cent.

"This result is in stark contrast to sales results seen in the back half of 2014, and shows clearly that the strong sales that were building, particularly in the last three months of 2014, have not carried into 2015," the Truck Industry Council (TIC) says.

Heavy Duty sales continued to fall in line with the "worrying trends" seen for most of 2014, TIC says.

A total of 518 heavy trucks were sold for the month, down 13 per cent on the start of 2014.

Light Duty trucks also took "quite a hit" with only 448 sales, down by 16 per cent, "and one of the worst starts to a year for this segment in the last decade".

"I would be lying if I said that the January 2015 truck sales results were anything but disappointing," TIC CEO Tony McMullan says.

"Australia’s freight task continues to grow year on year and unless new truck sales grow year on year at a greater rate, Australia’s truck park gets older."

However, the Medium Duty segment was "something of a surprise" with sales up slightly to 336 trucks.

TIC says heavy commercial vans continued to go against the general trend, as they did in 2014.

In January total sales were 312, up 15 per cent – the best ever start to a year for the van segment.

McMullan says TIC expects the average age of trucks to exceed 14 years in the next year or two, and he believes government needs to do more to entice operators to update their rigs.

"TIC’s member companies are offering some of the most technically advanced, environmentally friendly and safe trucks available, but take-up by operators is slow," he says.

"This reality cannot be ignored by those within government charged with developing road transport and infrastructure policy. Incentives that encourage operator uptake of newer, safer and more productive vehicles are long overdue."

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