Analysis: Kenworth keeps crown but Swedes keep coming

By: Steve Brooks


Heavy-duty market leader stays ahead despite challenges

Analysis: Kenworth keeps crown but Swedes keep coming
Titleholder: Kenworth has maintained the mantle of Australia’s leading heavy-duty truck brand.

 

Contrary to early indications that it was about to be ousted by a buoyant Volvo, Kenworth in 2019 retained its crown as the most popular heavy-duty truck on the Australian market.

Despite the closeness of a contest which at one stage saw just a few dozen trucks separating the two powerhouse brands, Kenworth finished the year with a modest buffer of 111 units over its Swedish rival.

For the record, Kenworth ended 2019 with 2350 deliveries for a heavy-duty stake of 18.5 percent, with Volvo notching 2,239 units and a 17.6 per cent slice.

In the big picture though, Volvo Group Australia (Volvo, Mack and UD) again took the gong with a collective 3,737 units to record a formidable 29.3 percent of the total heavy-duty category. Paccar’s Kenworth and DAF accounted for 21.9 percent on the delivery of 2786 units.

Yet despite hanging onto the individual heavy-duty crown, Kenworth’s 2019 tally was a significant and worrying fall for the premier brand, almost 600 units less than its 2018 performance.  

On the other hand, Volvo actually delivered more trucks in 2019 than the year before even though the total heavy-duty market of 12,733 trucks was around 1,600 units down on 2018’s numbers.


Read about how the sales year ended for the major truck brands, here


Meantime, while Japanese giant Isuzu comfortably held on to third spot with 11.9 percent on the delivery of 1518 trucks, its heavy-duty sales were also markedly down on the previous year.

Slotting into fourth position was ‘the other Swede’ Scania with a stellar performance which saw the brand achieve its best ever sales result on the Australian market, delivering 1140 new trucks for a nine percent cut of the heavy-duty pie.

In fact, among the top six placegetters in the 2019 heavy-duty market, only the two Swedish brands were able to achieve increased sales figures over the bumper year of 2018. (Among the minor placegetters, waste collection specialist Dennis Eagle also managed to increase sales in 2019, from a miniscule 57 units in 2018 to a slightly less miniscule 85 units last year.)

Falling back to fifth slot was Mack, with 1047 deliveries in 2019 compared to 1,134 units the year before.   

Likewise, Mercedes-Benz’s numbers were down from 1097 units in 2018 to 998 deliveries last year.

With combined deliveries in 2019 of 9262 units, the top six brands accounted for almost 75 percent of the entire heavy-duty sector, leaving little for the rest of the field to fight over.

The best of the rest was Hino with a reasonable 580 deliveries followed by Iveco with a despondent 457 units, UD and Fuso almost locked together on 451 and 447 units respectively, DAF with a mediocre 436 sales, MAN falling to just 380 deliveries, Freightliner a forgettable 280 units, Western Star a dismal 268 units, Dennis Eagle with 85 deliveries, and International tailing the field with a depressing 54 units. The only brand lower than International was Korean hopeful Hyundai with a microscopic three trucks.

And that, in a nutshell, was Australia’s heavy-duty truck market in 2019. Good for a few. Worrying for some. Woeful for others.

 

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