2014 season starts with “average” sales performance

With one month of sales data compiled, the verdict is a slow but average start for trucks sales in 2014.

The Truck Industry Council T-Mark report said the total Australian truck market for January 2014 reached 1,736 units, down 7.7 per cent, or 144 units, on the first month in 2013.

“The result is the fifth best (glass half full), or the fifth worst (glass half empty), in the past 10 years,” said TIC.

“So a slow, but solid, or average, start to the year and a result in line with the slowing of the market that was seen in the later half of 2013.”

TIC said compared with the past few years, January 2014 is the second strongest post-GFC result, but still down a significant 22.7 per cent on the record for January of 2,247 units set in 2008.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council said the result is not that unexpected. “The latter part of 2013 saw truck sales decline and what we have seen in January is that trend continuing,” he said.

“Some economic indicators are picking up, for instance growth in the building sector late last year was positive and there were relatively strong Christmas retail sales.

“The truck market tends to lag the general economy by three to four months and new housing approvals by around six months, so allowing for this delay, I am quietly confident that we will see stronger truck sales in the months ahead. But we are a long way from the growth seen in the peak market years of 2007/2008”, McMullan said.

Among the segments, heavy and light-duty sales continued to fall in line with the trends seen in 2013 and for the month of January, medium-duty sales saw a significant decline, quite the opposite to the strong performances generally shown by this segment in 2013 said TIC.

By segment, heavy-duty trucks saw 595 sales, which was down slightly, two percent or 12 trucks.
The medium segment only saw 334 sales and was down by 26 per cent, 120 trucks behind January 2013 – marking the second worst start to a year for this segment in the past 12 years. Light-duty sales were 535, down 13 percent, or 80 trucks over the same month last year.

Again, as in 2013, light-duty Vans continued to go against the trend. In January total sales were 271, up 33 percent, or 68 vehicles. This represents one of the best starts to a year for the van segment, equaling the 271 units sold in 2010 and just short of the best January ever, 297 sales in 2008.

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