TIC sees business confidence bolstering truck sales
For once, vans fail to be driving force in bumper year
The Truck Industry Council (TIC) believes there can be no resting on laurels after a strong sales year but holds significant hopes for the coming year.
TIC president Phil Taylor saw reasons to be confident on every line noting amongst other things "we saw that fourth quarter revival in Heavy Duty Truck sales".
"All positive signs as we start 2017," he adds.
But the TIC believes more can and should be done
CEO Tony McMullen is hopeful that the generally stronger fourth quarter just passed is an indicator for improved truck sales this year.
"In all, 2016 was a mixed year, starting slowly in most segments, possibly due to the longest federal election campaign seen in recent years and the inherent caution in capital expenditure shown by the business sector leading up to an election," McMullen says.
"The results displayed in the fourth quarter of 2016 are probably more reflective of the business confidence we can expect to see in 2017 and if these sales trends continue, particularly at the Heavy Duty Truck end of the market, 2017 should see increased new truck sales as business confidence continues to grow."
Despite some promising signs in the heavy sector, McMullen continues to warn of the consequences of the situation there.
"As TIC has detailed for some time now, without reasonable new sales growth across all segments, but particularly in the Heavy Duty segment, the average age of the Australian truck park will continue to grow," he says.
"An old truck fleet is less productive, does not employ the latest safety technologies and of course has poorer environmental outcomes.
"TIC has long called for an incentive program that would see truck operators encouraged to replace the oldest trucks in their fleets with new vehicles."
The organisation notes the good figures came with a light duty van component down on its record-breaking 2015 performance.
"In total 5,386 heavy commercial vans were delivered in 2016, down 2.3 per cent (-129 sales) over 2015," it says.
"December was typical of the results seen in 2016 for the van segment with 440 vehicles delivered, down on December 2015 sales by 5.5 percent (-24 vans). The 2016 fourth quarter result of 1,352 van sales did however buck the yearlong trend slightly with 10 more vans delivered when compared with October to December 2015, an increase for the final quarter of 0.7 per cent."