Cautious optimism following January sales

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) report on new commercial vehicle registrations for the month of January indicated that, at least compared with the same month last year, the truck sales industry is off to a good start for 2013 with 1,676 new cab-chassis and prime movers joining the national fleet.

Total reported new commercial vehicle sales were 1,879 when commercial vans are included in the total, but as several brands do not provide their statistics to TIC, the actual total would have been higher than this.

When considered without the vans, the truck market was up almost 13 percent on January 2012’s result of 1,487 cab-chassis and prime movers. Truck sales are probably no different from a lot of industries in Australia in that January can be a peculiar month affected by both public and annual holidays which would most likely have a negative impact, if any. At this point in time, the extra 189 new trucks compared to last year’s result are not necessarily conclusive that sales will continue with an upward trend for the rest of 2013, but for the industry it’s certainly preferable to a lower result.

The “big three” Japanese brands (Isuzu, Hino and Fuso) accounted for almost 58 per cent of the total market, while Kenworth (113) and Volvo (97) headed up the heavy duty pack. With 605 new registrations, the heavy-duty sector provided 36 per cent of the total indicating that there are still some big investments being made into road freight despite the recent financial problems of a number of operators.

Tony McMullen, CEO of the Truck Industry Council said that the freight task was still running hot, despite some economic predictions. “These conditions, combined with competitive interest rates, appear to have led more truck buyers back to the market, at least for now. However, if the forecast freight task is to be met, truck sales will need to return to the 2007-08 (pre-GFC) levels soon. Otherwise we will have a significantly ageing fleet which brings with it a poorer environmental and safety outcome.” 

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