Heavy vehicle sales prove resilient in November

Total sales for trucks and vans improved on the same period last year according to the Truck Industry Council (TIC).

In encouraging news for industry a total of 3,174 units were sold in November, 94 more than the corresponding month in 2019, marking an improvement of 3.0 per cent.

Officially, this makes it the fourth best November sales on record for vehicles with a gross vehicle mass above 3,500kg.

Even as the heavy vehicle market is tracking -10.7 per cent down over last year and 18.8 per cent down on record sales of 2018, 2020 truck sales have proven surprisingly resilient given the economic ravages of border closures, lockdowns and Victorian quarantine disaster associated with COVID-19.

Both Light Duty Truck and Van segments are tracking in line with the five-year sales average while the Medium Duty Truck sector is down approximately 14 per cent on the five-year mean and Heavy truck sales are lagging the five-year average mark by eight per cent.

Although sales in all segments, no doubt, have been buoyed by the Federal Government’s financial incentives.

The Heavy Duty Truck segment continues to experience the greatest year-on-year slowdown of all of the heavy vehicle sectors, having been hit the hardest by slowing sales in the first half of year, when business confidence plummeted in response to COVID-19.

The segment has since clawed back some of those lost sales in the second half of 2020 and have continued, to lesser effect, in November.

One more truck was delivered overall than November 2019, however, overall the Heavy segment is behind year-to-date by a hefty 18.5 per cent in total units, a total of 2,145 less prime movers.

The Medium Duty segment has been the second hardest hit sector in 2020 and this trend continued in November, albeit at a slowing pace.

According to TIC 562 Medium trucks were delivered for the month, a decline of 3.8 per cent (-22 trucks) over November 2019 sales.

Year-to-date Medium Duty Truck sales lag behind those of the same period last year by 13.4 per cent (-917 trucks) and as with Heavy Truck segment, this is primarily due to poor first half year sales.

The Light Duty Truck sales were again in positive territory in November, when compared with November 2019 sales.

Some 1,015 Light Duty Trucks were sold for the month, 69 more little trucks than for the same month last year making for a 7.3 per cent improvement over the 2019 November result.

Year-to-date the Light Truck segment is down 4.7 per cent at the end of November with 10,443 Light Duty truck sales recorded up to the end of November, 2019, compared with 9,949 Light Duty Truck sales thus far in 2020, a deficit of 494 trucks.

Solid van sales, an increase of 8.9 per cent for the month, resulted in 565 vans being delivered over November, 46 more units over the 519 sold in November 2019.

Year-to-date the Light Duty Van segment trails 2019 sales by 158 units (-2.7 per cent). A total of 5,643 vans have been delivered thus far in 2020, compared with 5,801 van sales to the end of November 2019.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council, noted that truck sales were stronger than expected for a year that has seen Australia’s economy reeling from the effects of COVID-19.

“The positive upward trend in new truck sales witnessed in October across the Light Truck and Van segments has continued into November,” he said in a statement.

“The Heavy Duty Truck sector results were lineball with November 2019 sales. Importantly for the Heavy segment, November marked the fourth consecutive period of month-on-month sales growth, with sales since July showing a positive, constant, upward trend,” said McMullan.

“The Medium Truck segment continues to struggle in 2020, however October and now November sales, have improved significantly and were well up on the Medium Duty sectors 2020 year-to-date average.

“With the positive news earlier this week that Australia’s recession is officially over, with our economy growing 3.3 per cent in the third quarter, I am hopeful that, what has been a very tough year for most Australians, will conclude in a positive economic, health and social climate.

“Again, the Truck Industry Council would like to acknowledge and thank the Federal Government for the economic stimulus that they have provided throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the original instant asset write-off and accelerated depreciation schemes, enacted in March 2020, greatly assisted the heavy vehicle sector and no doubt many other industries too. The recently announced, October 2020, extension of the instant asset write-off scheme and the removal of the $150,000 cap, will further stimulate our economy and no doubt heavy vehicle sales, throughout 2021 and well into 2022.”

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