Truck sales start year in generally good form

January’s figures show ups and downs but figures still historically high

Truck sales start year in generally good form
January truck sales remain firm


Keen truck sales statisticians will pore over the first calendar quarter’s figures see if the boom’s high water mark has passed and may have got a hint from January’s total. Or not, as it’s really too early to tell, though another record come December 31 will be just that much harder.

The first month of the year is consistently weaker than the rest of the year. So, a fall from December in Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark statistics is par for the course.

That this January’s total of 2,196 is 37 whole units under last January’s 2,227 can best be described as a smidgin down, indeed, a little more than 1 per cent.

Indeed, it is still a good 276 units up on January 2017’s 1,920, so to say it presages a major fall is more than just premature.

Nor is there all that much to be gained from the falls between recent Januarys and the previous Decembers.  

Counting back from this January, they are 1,259, 1,248, 1,141 and 1,486 respectively.

It might therefore be best to leave prognostications for a few months to see what effect a slight reduction in government infrastructure spending and the much heralded slowing of the global economy may or may not have.

Read how truck sales reached their historic peak last year, here

Outgoing Isuzu Australia boss Phil Taylor will no doubt be chuffed that his firm’s 489-unit start of the year continued its relentless trend of January rises.

And new Hino Sam (Takashi) Suda will be heartened that its regular January rise, this year to 333 from last year’s 314, refuses to abate.

Not such good news for Fuso – at 178, it is under 200 units after two Januarys above and only one unit shy of heavy-duty-only Kenworth.

For other signs of early softness , there is also Iveco dip to 71 from 119, though that was more than offset by Volvo’s jump from 74 to 142, only three of which were not heavy-duty.

Mercedes-Benz was also down from 99 to 56 but Scania may, a promised, be shaking off the shackles of last year’s misfortunes to rise from 24 to 59.

MAN was down from 109 to 57 and the theme could not continue, with Mack at 62 and DAF at 17 unchanged.

Also making heavy weather of the year’s start was International, down from 10 to two units and Freightliner from 32 to 12.

Despite the ups and downs, total heavy duty sales were actually up to 769 from 756.

It was a lot like the medium-duty segment, where last month’s 440 was up three units.

This was a good space for Isuzu, up from 131 to 156, and Hino, up from 118 to 146, not to mention UD, up from 17 to 28, but not for Fuso, down from 77 to 59, nor MAN, down from 83 to 37.

For most of the decade, Isuzu could rely on the light-duty segment to inflate its numbers but not this January. At 218, it is lower than each of the past two Januarys.

At 152, Hino was able to hold its ground though slightly weaker on numbers alone by six units. Fuso’s decline here is confirmed by its slipping out of three figures to 96, having being 107 and 130 previously.

This was also the first year out of the 600s for the segment, at 591, despite the best efforts of Fiat, up from 21 to 33.


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