Heavy duty truck sales a cause for serious concern: TIC

Truck Industry Council head hails light vehicle trend but worries deeply about heavy segment

Heavy duty truck sales a cause for serious concern: TIC
Tony McMullan is worried by lack of heavy-duty truck sales action.


The Truck Industry Council (TIC) refuses to be seduced completely by what appears to have been good sales figures for March.

The TIC is keeping its powder dry, insisting that close inspection of the figures reveals a troubling story for the industry as a whole hiding behind a "cracking good March" for light-duty trucks and vans.

"I am particularly concerned that heavy truck sales are showing no sign of recovery and this probably indicates the lack of business confidence in the Australian market at present. It appears that companies are simply delaying their big dollar fleet replacement plans," TIC CEO Tony McMullan says.

His organisation points out January to March sales are just 1.1 percent up on the same period last year, which was down 3.4 per cent on 2013.

Sales lag the record pre-global financial crisis 2008 first quarter result of 8,267 unit sales by 1,652 vehicles, a shortfall of 20 per cent.

The heavy duty segment saw 885 units delivered, down 11.7 per cent or 117 trucks, on March 2014.

The first quarter result was worse, TIC says, with 2015 heavy duty year-to-date sales down 14.3 per cent or 340 trucks, over first quarter 2014. 

The contrast with light-duty truck sales is stark.

After good growth in the first two months, March held up with 867 light-duty units delivered, up 27.3 per cent or 186 trucks, over March 2014. 

For the quarter, segment sales are ahead of the same period last year by 11.2 per cent, or 203 trucks.

TIC notes the strongest performing segment for March and for the year-to-date is light-duty vans − with a gross vehicle mass between 3,500kg and 8,000kg.

It had a March total of 560 unit sales, up 41.4 per cent, or 164 vans, compared with the previous March. 

The first quarter tally stands at 1,214 units and is up 23.1 per cent (228 vans) compared with the same period last year.

"This is the strongest first quarter van result ever posted, eclipsing the previous best mark set in quarter one 2008," TIC says.

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