Ups and downs continue in May truck sales

Volvo issue heavy duty challenge as lighter MAN and Benz impress

Ups and downs continue in May truck sales
Trucks sales are on a rollercoaster ride this year


It may be premature to credit May’s rebound in commercial vehicle sales on the election – after all, these are not spur-of-the-moment decisions.

But rebound they have, to 3,556 from April total of 2,943 after March’s 3,296 and February’s 2,826, according to Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures.

As we’ve come to expect, this May is below last year’s bumper May of 3,913 but there is reason to think this is cyclical, with April last year also down at 3,151.

Compare this with May 2017’s 3,237 and April 2017’s 2,517

Year to day (YTD), the story is as it has been for other months compared with the previous two years, with last year the high-water mark and this year better than the others this decade – 14,817 compares with  15,739 last year and  12,912 2017. 

See how things look in the truck sales market this time last year, here

With a strong presence across the truck weight categories, the Japanese makes show no signs of relinquishing the top three places, with Isuzu  recording 805 in May up from April’s 671 and March’s 728.    

Hino was 482, 412, 457 and 434 counting back to February, while, on that basis, Fuso is struggling for momentum 294, 303, 404 and 259.

Heavy duty

The biggest trucks followed the seasonal trend up and down, with totals of 1,212, 1,006, 1,186 and 962 counting back.

Brisbane has the May bragging rights here, with Volvo making a rare foray past Kenworth for the month at 248, comfortably above its Melbourne rival’s 206, having threatened to do so in March when the big Swede fell nine units shy of Kenworth’s 209.

And the YTD space between the two has fallen below 100, with Kenworth at 952 and Volvo at 879. Last May, the figures were 1,062 against 769.

Other main rebounders include Isuzu, which jumped to 144 after spending much of the year either side of the 120 mark. Mack followed market fluctuations up last month to 104 from April’s 75 but below March’s 111, as did Mercedes-Benz up last month to 90 after 56 but below March’s 114.

May’s 1,212 total was down on last May’s 1,328 but above May 2017’s 1,014.

Medium duty

On a lighter note, medium-duty sales have thrown the market a curly one, with May’s 734 just shy of last May’s 747.

Sure, the YTD total of 2,979 is below that month in the bumper year of 2018 of 3,189 (and up on 2017’s 2,578) but it does serve to underline a certain strength in an often underrated segment.

While the big three Japanese firms were in the vanguard – Isuzu’s 303, Hino’s 219 and Fuso’s 104 at their highest monthly totals for the year – the charge was arguably led by MAN up to 72 from 46. And to think MAN was at just 12 units in May 2017.

Light duty

No such surprise when we go even lighter and the monthly total of 999, while creditable, needs some context.

That is down on last May’s 1,215 and also May 2017’s 1,071. That said, this year’s YTD figure of 4,244 is still above May 2017’s 4,218. So we can at least say the light-duty segment is a tad less robust compared with the others but still pretty sprightly.

Again, the Japanese makes lead the pack, with only Fuso, as noted in its total figures above, unable to rebound, hitting 149, its lowest since the reliably low January.

The nearest thing to a surprise packet was Mercedes-Benz, which more than doubled its month-on-month total this year to hit 69 units, even beating last May’s 60, while Iveco held on to its MOM near-doubling last month, from 58 to 107, with 112.


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