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Strong quarter masks shrinking heavy duty market

The latest TIC truck and van sales numbers are a story of diverging returns


Truck and van sales had an overall positive last quarter according to the Truck Industry Council (TIC) figures, with the third quarter being the best of its kind since 2008.

The news comes on the back of strong results in the light- and medium-duty ranges, which continue to hold up the light van and heavy-duty truck segments.

With 8,274 trucks and vans sold in the quarter and a year-to-date total of 23,951, the numbers are tracking 2.4 per cent ahead of this time last year.

The top segment for the year-to-date, the light-duty market continued its performance in the third quarter of 2016 upping its 2015 numbers by 259 units to 2,798.

The best third quarter for the section since 2007, the light-duty sales in September alone were 9.6 per cent or 88 trucks up on the same month last year.

The year-to-date numbers sit 9.9 per cent or 703 trucks ahead of 2015.

The other performing segment, medium-duty trucks, also saw a year-to-date increase up to the third quarter, raising its numbers by 5.6 per cent or 272 trucks on the same stage in 2015.

Compared to September last year, September in 2016 saw seven more trucks sold or 1.1 per cent.

The monthly total was 629 trucks and the year-to-date numbers are at 5,154.

The heavy-duty truck segment continues to struggle, with the quarter falling 142 trucks short of the same period last year.

With a year-to-date number of 6,947 trucks, the quarter results continue a poor year for the segment, sitting 3.8 per cent or 273 trucks short of this time last year.

The month of September itself didn’t help, with the 2016 month lagging 6.4 per cent or 57 trucks behind the same month in 2015. It is the worst result for the month in six years.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan says the heavy duty market continues to be a problem for the industry.

“The HD segment has seen year-on-year falls since 2012 and trails the quarter three results of that year by a substantial 16.2 percent (-1,132 trucks),” he says.

“The truck fleet age in the Heavy Truck segment continues to rise, as seen by the recent release of detailed data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Motor Vehicle Census.

“This clearly indicates that new Heavy Truck sales are not keeping pace with Australia’s growing freight task.

“This is a poor result for our countries long term road freight efficiency.”

For the light-duty vans, the numbers are down across the board.

The September numbers were down 9.2 per cent or 40 vans on the same month last year and the total number of sales for the third quarter reached 1,231, 85 vans below the same period in 2015.

The year-to-date numbers are sitting at 4,034 vans, a 139 behind this time last year.



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