Heavy duty Q1 record broken as total truck sales soar

R&K Bulk Haulage new Kenworth A-double.

The first three months of calendar year 2024 have fallen just short of a new truck sales record.

Following near record January sales, followed by a record February result, new heavy vehicle sales cooled slightly in March, leaving year-to-date sales down 1.1 per cent on the all-time record first quarter set in 2023 according to the Truck Industry Council.

Year-to-date, a total of 10,344 trucks and vans have been delivered in Australia.

That’s only 115 trucks shy of a new record for January to March sales.

It is however the second best start to a year for heavy vehicle sales in Australia, with the Heavy Duty Truck and Light Duty Van segments setting new first quarter sales records.

The Medium truck segment also saw solid quarter one sales.

It was the Light Duty Truck segment, that posted a poor first quarter result, that brought the overall sales numbers down. Looking at just the month of March 2024 in isolation, 4,051 heavy vehicles were delivered to customers, down on the March 2023 result by 3.0 per cent (-123 vehicles).

The Heavy Duty Truck segment was up again in March with a total of 1,533 units delivered, an increase of 5.9 per cent, or 86 trucks, on March 2023. The first quarter result was almost as good, with 3,788 Heavy sales year-to-date, representing a 4.8 per cent increase over the same period in 2023.

That equates to an 173 Heavy truck sales increase over Q1 2023.

The Medium Duty segment posted solid sales in January and February, however March sales were down slightly on the third month 2023 results.

A total of 653 Medium trucks were delivered in March, down 1.8 per cent, or -12 units, over March 2023. To the end of the first quarter, Medium truck sales remain solid, with a total of 1,741 Medium Duty trucks delivered, up by 9.0 per cent (143 trucks) over 2023 first quarter sales.

“The first three months of 2024 have brought near record new truck sales in Australia, with new sales records being set in both the Heavy Duty truck and the Light Duty van segments,” said Tony McMullan, Truck Industry Council Chief Executive Officer.

“It is pleasing to witness that after record sales in 2022 and 2023, the market continues to hold up well for the third consecutive year.

“Let us hope that this trend continues for the rest of the year and beyond. Hopefully leading to a decrease in the average age of the Australian truck fleet.”

Light Duty truck sales (those trucks with a GVM between 3,500kg and 8,000kg) have performed very well for the past couple of years, setting a new sales record in 2022 then breaking that record in 2023. However, the Light truck segment has struggled in 2024, being noticeably the worst performing segment thus far in 2024.

March saw sales in the Light Duty segment total 1,259 units, down 19.9 per cent (-312 trucks) over March 2023.

At the end of the first quarter of 2024, Light Duty sales are well behind that of the same period last year, down by 20.2 per cent, -793 truck sales.

By contrast, Light Duty Van sales (vans with a GVM between 3,500kg and 8,000 kg) have been down for the past few years, mainly due to supply chain issues out of Europe.

This situation has normalised in 2024 and the Van segment is enjoying booming sales. As detailed in the opening remarks above, the Van segment set a new all-time sales record for the first three months of a year.

A total of 1,686 vans were delivered in the first quarter of 2024, beating the previous record of 1,455 vans sold in quarter one of 2021. The quarter one 2024 sales were up a massive 27.4 percent (363 vans) over the same period last year. Looking at the March van sales in isolation, they were up 23.4 percent (115 vans) over the March 2023 result.

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