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Truck market continues growth spurt

Australian truck retailers are enjoying the best start to a new year for some time, with sales for the first quarter up more than 12 percent year-on-year.

Total sales for the quarter show 6518 trucks and vans were delivered to owners from January 1 to March 31, compared to 5796 units in 2011.

 

Australian truck retailers are enjoying the best start to a new year for some time, with sales for the first quarter up more than 12 percent year-on-year.

Total sales for the quarter show 6,518 trucks and vans were delivered to owners from January 1 to March 31, compared to 5,796 units in 2011.

Interestingly, the actual March volumes for the two years are within a whisker of each other, with 2,546 units delivered in 2012, just 18 more than the 2528 delivered in March 2011.

While there is no change in the relative positions of the top selling brands, all manufacturers are enjoying increased sales volumes, despite what is still described as a volatile market place.

Isuzu Australia’s marketing manager Jeff Birdseye says the Japanese company is up by 18 percent year-on-year to the end of March, with a total 1,523 deliveries so far in 2012.

Birdseye says while Isuzu retained the mantle of top selling brand for the 23rd consecutive year in 2011, the result could well have been stronger, due to reduced stock levels in the aftermath of the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami that interrupted production.

He says the market has been growing stronger annually since 2009, and is confident 2012 will prove to be the best year since 2007.

Daimler Commercial Vehicles managing director Dr Kola Rebstock is slightly less bullish about his charges, although still confident, saying there is still ‘uncertainty’ in the market.

“It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason for the market’s increase,” Rebstock says.

“It is a combination of both bullish and cautious at the same time, there are still operators struggling.”

With Mercedes-Benz Trucks trialling innovative finance solutions, as well as creating fleet and owner/operator specifications of the Actros, Rebstock says dealers have reported increased floor traffic.

“I do feel the innovation in sales is working already, and we will continue to work to encourage people into our dealers.”

While the loss of portions of the Linfox contract in 2011 saw outright sales reduce for the Mercedes-Benz brand, Rebstock is confident the business will grow in both sales volumes and profitability.

After three hectic months, one brand definitely rejoicing in the latest figures is Kenworth, with a near record delivery of 172 heavy duty trucks in March, an average of better than five vehicles per day.

A source within the company says the results are pleasing, and have come from across all sectors and regions.

While Queensland received the greatest number of trucks, with 50 delivered in March, the source says almost 80 trucks were delivered into New South Wales and Victoria.

“On the eastern seaboard there are still a lot of goods being moved around, and that requires trucks,” the source says.

With all Japanese manufacturers saying stock levels in Australia have returned to ‘pre quake’ levels, all indications point to a lifting of the gloom that has hung over new truck sales since 2008.

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