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Truck sales pedal firmly to the metal

September’s record pace outstrips previous boom on many lines


It seems not even global logistics chaos and semiconductor shortfalls can halt the path to another record year of Australian commercial vehicle sales.

As an example, in the US, Paccar reported a 7,000 unit dip for the quarter, laying the blame squarely on the lack the microchips. Other OEMs there are reportedly affected, too.

Here, any impact is hard to discern, with Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures pushing the upward boundaries further.

Total commercial vehicles sales for September was at 3,685, 165 units above August, with year to date (YTD) on 30,421.

The previous YTD high was boom year 2018’s 30,506.

This is usually a cue to Isuzu showing its leaderboard prowess across the weight ranges but, in fact, it slipped two units from last month to 887.

Nor was Hino capitalising, down 20 to 501.

Instead, Fuso made the running, up 57 units on August to 467, marking continuous rises for the financial-year first quarter.

Heavy Duty

September was the month for the heavy brigade to mount something of a charge, as it did last year.

Total sales hit 1,200, up 107 units on August and beating the previous September high of 1,196 in 2018.

The advance, however, wasn’t at the same rate, with a YTD at 9,104, below 2018’s 10,361 and 2019’s 9,507.

Read how heavy-duty trucks bolstered the market last year, here

And, like the overall figures, it was some less-heralded names digging in the spur.

Of the heralded, Kenworth lost 20 units on August to 269 but Volvo made good on the August dip to 129 to return to September’s 162.

But Mercedes-Benz consolidated above 100 with 118, also marking a rising first financial quarter.

At 96, Scania’s effort to return to three figures fell short by four and by six on July’s total but was up 22 on August.

One of the more notable rises was DAF’s putting two consecutive months in the 50s behind it to hit 83.

Freightliner took that hint, scoring 48 after two months in the 30s – as, on a more modest scale, did Iveco, to 35 after two months in the 20s.

Sadly, former segment heroes Mack and Western Star languished at 34 and 31 units, the fifth- and fourth-lowest, below MAN at 36, another make pushing up this financial year.

Medium Duty

In the scheme of things and as befits the sort of segment it is, medium-duty had its recent record September in 2017, with 666. This was 11 units up on the record year of 2018 and swamped 2019’s 622.

Why worry? Well, this September came in at 650, 11 units up from August.

And the YTD is at 5,360, which was above 2017’s 5,249 and 2020’s 4,836, though certainly below 2018’s 6,086 and 2019’s 5,673. So, things are looking lively.

Isuzu rules the roost with 301, confirming it is warming to the financial year with consecutive jumps from July’s 210 and showing a better September than the previous boom times. This includes 2018’s 294. But 2,119 YTD lags three of the previous four years, if only by 19 on 2017.

Hino hit choppy waters trying to bridge the gap. At 154, it is the lowest month of the past three, especially August’s 194. However, there will be some solace in the YTD of 1,766, which puts it in annual-record trajectory.

But this is where Fuso comes in, not least to give Hino a fright. At 152, a strong showing closed the gap that had opened up to around 70 units in the best September in the past five years. Add to that a YTD figure of 1,075 that is both in four figures and also its best in that time and its sales staff have reason to smile

Light Duty

The segment with the highest numbers has also staked claims on record territory.

A sales total boasting 1,259 units is the best September in five years, beating out 2018’s 1,184, while YTD of 10,552 is a five-figure score not seen in that time.

Of the big three, Fuso again made its mark, with the month 22 units up on August, while Isuzu slipped 53 to 461 and Hino dropped 13 to 294.

However, Isuzu’s YTD is 4,216, while recent years have seen it in the 3,000s at this stage of the calendar year. Hino’s YTD 2,477 makes a mockery of its previous five years, the best of which was 2018’s 2,074, with Fuso on 1,960 also ahead of 2017’s 1,840.

There is daylight between them and the pack, which individually struggle these months to get into three figures. But they did combine to do some heavy lifting last month.

Iveco, up 15 to 91 and Fiat up 13 to 57 did their work and other followed more modestly.


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