Medium duty truck sales segment refuses to be cowed

Total January figures point to a steady decline from recent peaks for other sizes

Medium duty truck sales segment refuses to be cowed
This January’s truck sales performance was mixed


It is easy to discount January commercial vehicle sales as representing the traditional slow start to the year that can be ignored as the economy gets its act together.

But the month’s figures are the earliest pointer to longer-term trends likely to affect the following 11 months.

The headline total figure of 1,852, for example, puts the market just below January 2017’s 1,920 but still solidly above 2016’s 1,584, according to Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures.

That’s not a patch on the 2018 spike of 2,227 but perhaps indicates a steady glide down in continuing rather than any precipitous drop.

Funnily enough, market leader Isuzu replicated 2017’s total of 468 and second-placed Hino was not far off – 211 back then and 218 now, though Fuso undercut its 2017 total of 201 with 188.

Isuzu’s past four Januarys have seen it pretty steady in a 20 unit range just above this year’s figure, as has Fuso but Hino’s January 2020 is about one-third down on the past two years, 333 and 314 counting backwards.


This sort of comparison in harder in the heavy-duty segment, due to the market dynamics at work back then and more recently, but the trend in roughly the same.

The 588 for the month was more than 20 per cent above 2017’s 497 but around the same down on the last two years, both above 750.

January 2017 was still in the midst of the heavy-duty doldrums and saw Isuzu steal a march on the traditional leaders at 69. This year, it’s again making a nuisance of itself at 88, kicking Volvo to third by three units.

Read how the truck sales market stood this time last year, here

Traditional front runner Kenworth kicks the year off as the only make in three figures at 117, while Scania looks to be continuing its run of form in fourth place at 61, which is rare January air for it indeed and better than the bumper previous two years.

Marking slower starts than they are used to are Mercedes-Benz, 38, and Mack, 35, though with Mercedes-Benz above its 2017’s 24 and Mack under 2017’s 48.


The surprise packet segment of recent years is still enjoying days in the sun – at 435, trouncing 2017’s 360 and just two down on 2018 and six down on last year.

Medium-duty segment leader Isuzu appears to be brooking no challenge, its 184 marking its best January in the last five years while Hino’s century was down almost a third on its hugely creditable 146 last year, when it was just 10 units off Isuzu.

Fuso, at 73, went the other way, besting 2019’s 59 but just falling short of 2018’s 77.

MAN’s stellar leap, from single figures before 2018 to 83 in that year, is losing some momentum but 45 ensconces it in fourth spot, while Iveco has made fifth its own, rising from a string of single figures to nab 21 orders.


In contrast to the medium-duty trend, light-duty truck sales are subsiding in January, year on year.

Where 2017 saw it shoot into the 600s with 603 and then 645, 2018 saw that sink to 591 and now 510.

Isuzu’s long run in the 200s that peaked in 2018 at 242 ends with this January’s 196.

It’s been tougher on Hino, which had two years in the 150s but, at 95, is now back in a scrap with Fuso, at 92.

Fuso’s decline has been more steady after jumping up to 130 units in January 2017, though it is still above 2016’s 91 that it shared with Hino back then.


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