Truck sales slowdown greater than expected: TIC

Worst January sales result since 2016 as heavy duty and vans hit hardest

Truck sales slowdown greater than expected: TIC
Tony McMullan


January 2020's new truck sales were relatively poor, continuing the trend set in the final two quarters of 2019, Truck Industry Council (TIC) reports.

The medium duty segment did well compared with both heavy duty and light duty segments, which reported drop of 23.4 per cent and 13.7 per cent respectively compared to the opening month of 2019.

Although slow, the medium duty segment recorded a fall of 1.4 per cent over the same month in 2019.

Meanwhile, the vans market saw a 19.4 percent drop compared to January last year.

A total of 1,852 new units were sold in January this year, down 344 vehicles compared to January 2019 and the worst January sales result since 2016.

It is the 10th worst January result recorded in the 16 years that TIC has been reporting T-Mark data.

Coming off slowing sales in the final two quarters of 2019 it was expected that the heavy truck sales would continue to slow in 2020.

However, the extent of the slowdown in January was greater than expected.

Only 588 heavy duty trucks were sold, down on January last year by 181 trucks.

The medium duty segment saw a total of 435 truck deliveries for the month of January 2020, verses 441 units in January 2019.

It is the only segment to record a single digit percentage fall January on January, all other segments recorded double digit percentage reductions.

Light duty trucks set new a sales record in 2018 with sales slowing somewhat in the sector last year. That trend has continued into 2020 with the light duty segment cooling even further at the beginning of 2020.

A total of 510 light duty vehicles were sold in January 2020, which is 81 less than January 2019.

Year 2019 saw a new van sales record set, hence further year-on-year improvements in heavy van sales in 2020 would seem to be unlikely due to the cyclic nature of the market and the general slowing of sales in other heavy vehicle segments, TIC states.

January 2020 sales support these projections, with a total of only 319 LD vans sold in January 2020, which is 77 less than same time last year.

Look back on the full January figures, here

"The January result has not come as a surprise to the heavy vehicle industry, though of course it is disappointing," TIC CEO Tony McMullan says.

"Sales in the final half of 2019, particularly the final quarter, were noticeably trending down and with other economic indicators showing no sign that this downward trend was likely to abate, the start of this new decade was destined to be ‘soft’ for new truck sales.

"This is the worst sales start to a year, for five years and as I indicated above is disappointing.

"Not from a personal point of view, though TIC members always welcome a strong order bank, it is disappointing because it shows that our nation’s economy is slowing.

"Truck sales are a good indicator of our country’s economic strength, slowing new truck sales means a slowing economy.

"It is also a disappointing outcome for road safety, as reduced truck sales directly result in uptake of fewer new trucks with the latest safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assists, etc.

"These month on month and now year on year results, along with other economic indicators should be sending a clear message to government that economic stimulus should be a priority, sooner, rather than later."


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