New truck sales down for the first half of 2014

The latest set of truck sales data released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC) showed that 14,359 heavy vehicles were sold in the first half of 2014 – a 4.7 per cent decrease compared to the first half of 2013.

According to TIC, sales growth in the second quarter of 2014 was slower than in the first one, consistent with media reports that the Australian economy is not picking up as was expected.

In line with the trend, June saw the light-duty van segment post healthy growth, while sales in the heavy-duty segment were weaker than in the month before. Both medium and light-duty sales were down too.

The heavy-duty truck segment showed a June total of 1,032 units, down 7.3 per cent (-81 units) on June 2013. Year-to-date total heavy-duty sales were 5,147 trucks, which represents a five per cent (-270 trucks) decrease on 2013. 

2013 saw an unusually strong performance from the medium-duty segment compared 2012 results, so it was always going to be difficult for 2014 sales to hold up against those of last year. June 2014 saw total sales of 677 units, down 5.5 per cent (-39 units) on June 2013. Year-to-date sales were down 10.8 per cent.

Meanwhile, light-duty truck sales continue to lose ground in 2014. The June result of 809 units was 10.0 per cent lower (-90 trucks) than in June 2013. The year-to-date figure was down 8.9 per cent (-388 trucks) in June, with a total of 3,997 sales to the end of the month.

Conversely, the van market (those with a GVM of 3,500 kg to 8,000 kg) posted a very strong month of sales for June, with a total of 508 units – up a healthy 21.8 per cent (91 vans) compared with June 2013.  2014 van sales were 2up 16.2 per cent (306 vans) on a year-to-date basis.

“It is good to see a positive result year-to-date in the van segment,” said TIC Chief Executive Officer, Tony McMullan. “However, sales in all truck categories are trending down. No doubt the flat economic conditions that our economy is currently experiencing is in part responsible for this result, but I cannot help but feel that there is a greater reluctance out there for capital investment by heavy vehicle transport fleets than we have seen in recent years.”

He added, “Of course this negative growth in new truck sales, while the freight task remains strong, will only lead to a general aging of the Australian truck fleet and this is not a good result for improving road safety and the environment.

“Given Federal and State Governmental objectives to increased road safety and reduced emissions from the road freight transport sector, fewer new trucks sold with their more advanced safety and environmental technologies will undermine such goals. We need new truck sales growth to ensure a younger, safer and cleaner truck fleet, as I have stated before.”

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