Hints of a brighter year to come in truck sales


December sees a comparatively promising end to 2020 despite pandemic

Hints of a brighter year to come in truck sales
Kenworth ended the year at a canter

 

Well, here’s thanks that 2020 is behind us and we can look forward to getting the economic resurgence on in earnest – as much as the virus will allow.

Certainly, 2020 Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark commercial vehicle sales figures show fleets and other owners doing what they can to lay the groundwork for that.

They also emphasise an economy looking to push through the pandemic, despite the challenges.

The year ended on 34,476 units sold and it should be a surprise to no regular reader that this is slap bang in the middle of 2016’s 32,964 and 2017’s 36,825.

Of the December year-on-year (YOY) totals, it can be argued that the market is showing signs of a big year ahead.

Last month came in at 3,478, up more than 200 units on December 2019’s 3,248 and, more importantly, December 2019’s 3,455 set a year the biggest sales year to date of 41,628.

Overall market leader Isuzu felt the full-year pinch, coming in at 8,276, behind even 2016’s 8,307. But the local arm will look forward to the year unfolding, having seen December come in at 760, higher than all but December 2018’s 952.

Hino’s 2020, at 5,195, was better than 2016 and 2017 but under 2019’s 5,524 and its December, at 509, was beaten only by 2019’s 512.

Fuso has grounds for confidence, too, with 3,529 up on the previous year’s 3,382, though down on the three years before that. Its 376-unit December was also up on the previous year’s 303.

HEAVY DUTY

The heavy brigade’s 2020 was a lot like the market as a whole, with 10,616 units sold, up on 2016’s 9,882 but below 2017’s 12,002.

Again, the December YOY figure of 1,144 was above 2019’s 1,116 and between 2016’s 1,090 and 2017’s 1,250.

Kenworth ended the year full of running on 2,114 and 326 for the month. While its annual figure was above only 2016’s 1,979, this was the best monthly performance, beating out 2017’s 286 and 2018’s 259.

The year’s second half was unkind to Volvo. After heading Kenworth in the first half, it ended on 1,740, with December at 131. While the year was better than 2016’s 1,589, it was the worst December in five years.

Isuzu, on 1,255 and 116, also made heavy weather of the heavy market, both figures down on any of the past five years.


Read how the previous year’s truck sales performance went, here 


 

By contrast, Mercedes-Benz, at 930 and 103, crowned its December progress with three figures after making 440 and 60 in 2016.

But Mack, with 705 and 69, had a year to forget, those figures failing to surpass anything recently and under 2016’s 931 and 118. And Scania will be a tad disappointed with its 880 and 75, though the annual figure is between 2016 and 2017.

Fuso will take heart in its December total of 69, particularly against the previous December’s 26, while last year’s 433 was better than 2016 and 2017.

MEDIUM DUTY

Speaking of years to forget, the medium segment will want to look forward in hope.

The 2020 totals of 6,589 and 655 make pretty dismal reading, coming in below 2016’s 7,027 and 660.

Though December 2019 had 560 sales, it was a soft finish to a year that stood at 7,411.

Little pattern can be discerned amongst the makes’ figures bar that Isuzu, with 2,668 and 256, continued its erratic segment-leading course while holding determined challenger Hino, 2,245 and 240, at bay. This after Hino halved Isuzu’s lead from 1,120 in 2018 to 443.

Fuso was able to spring back into three figures for the month but, at 1,063 and 107, it is making few inroads on the leaders.

The statistics show MAN having had a particularly difficult year and month, at 178 and 13, compared with last year’s 640 and 41 and its worst showing since 2016’s 77 and five.

LIGHT DUTY

The 2016-2017 mid-point holds for the lightest truck segment, where 11,018 and 1.069 beats off the former’s 10,669 and 895 but not entirely the latter’s 11,628 and 1,057. Still, last December was better than 2019’s 1,044 to add some promise to the coming year. Indeed, 2019 ended up soft for light and medium segment as the sales boom tailed off.

Segment leader Isuzu (4,353 and 388) stays true to this form, better than 2019 (4,207 and 330) and with a December above 2017’s 367 on a year that garnered 4,641 in sales for the make.

After relinquishing second place in 2018, Fuso (2,022 and 200) is making efforts to bridge the gap on Hino (2,468 and 225) but the 246-unit gap, though lower than last year’s 733, illustrates the challenge as well as the opportunity.

 

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