Manufacturers unhappy with start to 2015 truck sales

Truck Industry Council advocates GFC-style stimulus scheme to encourage buyers


Australia has recorded the third worst February for truck sales since 2003.

Only a smidgen more than 2,100 new trucks were sold last month, which was 3 per cent down on February last year.

That result was in turn down 7 per cent compared with February 2013 sales.

"Only sales in the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) affected years of 2009 and 2011 saw lower February figures, remembering of course that 2010 sales were buoyed by the Federal Government’s GFC stimulus package," the latest Truck Industry Council (TIC) commentary says.

"The continuation of poor sales in February follows on from average January sales and confirms that the industry is set for a poor start to the year in 2015."

Heavy duty sales took the biggest hit again, "and this continues the worrying trends seen for most of 2014".

"Again another disappointing month and we are now off to a less than ideal start to 2015," TIC CEO Tony McMullan says.

"Perhaps the current political uncertainty with new governments in both Victoria and Queensland recently, and with New South Wales facing the polls later this month, has dampened business confidence in the short term.

"When I look at recent buying behaviours it stands out that the results of the Federal Government’s stimulus measures in 2010, whilst in the depths of the global financial meltdown, clearly highlighted that the industry responds positively to these types of financial incentives.

"Government needs to recognise that this type of action does work and is required if we are to see a greater take up of safer, cleaner and more productive heavy vehicles in this country."

Only 638 heavy trucks were sold in February, down 19 per cent on February last year.

Year-to-date (YTD) HD sales lag those of last year by 16 per cent.

The medium duty segment also saw poor sales, at 762 units, down nearly 11 per cent compared with February 2014. YTD the MD market trails last year by 6 per cent.

The TIC commentary says Light Duty sales were the "shining light" in February, with just over 700 sales, up 17 per cent for the month: "However these sales did little more than offset the very poor January result, with year-to-date LD sales just 1.5 percent (17 trucks) ahead of the same period last year."

Against that, heavy vans were again in positive territory with 342 sales, up 7 per cent against February 2014. YTD the van story is even better, with sales up 11 per cent compared with last year.

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