Heavy truck sales strong despite Light decline

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Both Heavy and Medium Duty segments in July continued to see strong sales albeit at a more modest pace according to the Truck Industry Council (TIC).

These may have come at the expense of the Light Van and particularly Light Truck sales, which plateaued significantly for the month just gone.

Total heavy vehicle sales for the month were 3,181 units, down 9.0 per cent (313 vehicles) over the same month last year, however total sales year-to-date to the end of July still lead those of 2022 by a healthy 13.1 per cent.

Although strong, the Heavy Duty Truck segment in July was down on the record breaking sales seen in the first half of 2023. In total 1,105 Heavy trucks were delivered, up 3.6 per cent, or 38 trucks, on July 2022.

Year-to-date the result is looking much better with Heavy sales tracking up 23.2 per cent over those of the same period in 2022. In terms of actual truck numbers, the sales gap is now 1,854 more Heavy trucks sold year-to-date in 2023, thanks to the record breaking quarter one and two sales results.

Medium Duty Truck sales have been solid, but not spectacular, thus far in 2023 and that trend continued in July.

The Australian Medium Duty market ended the month of July with 563 sales, representing a 1.3 per cent (7 units) improvement over July 2022.

Solid results for much of the first half of 2023 has seen the Medium Duty segment stay ahead of 2022 sales and year-to-date the Medium market remains up over last year by 3.7 per cent, with an additional 161 trucks sold to the end of July.

Chief Executive Officer of the Truck Industry Council, Tony McMullan detailed that the sales result was not unexpected for the month of July, though the drop in sales relatively to July 2022 was potentially concerning.

“Historically we witness a drop in heavy vehicle sales in the month following the financial year end, hence this July result is not unexpected,” he said.

However, of some concern, McMullan noted, was the significant fall in new truck sales relative to the month of July 2022.

A nine per cent drop for July 2023, compared with July 2022 had not been anticipated by industry, in what was a record-setting sales year in 2023.

“The end of the financial year also marked the end of the COVID-19 financial incentive commitments put in place by the previous Federal Government and honoured by the current Labor Government. Despite calls from industry for the delivery timeline for the incentive scheme to be extended for orders currently placed, government did not agree and the program ended on the 30th June,” said McMullan.

“I hope that the poor July sales were simply an aberration and not a sign that government has misjudged how useful these financial measures were to the road transport industry. We shall see what the remaining months of 2023 determine.”

The Light Duty truck segment was the real disappointment in July, slowing considerably more than any other segment with only 1,064 Light Duty trucks delivered last month.

These numbers are down considerably on July last year, 24.8 per cent fewer Light trucks in fact, equating to a reduction of 350 truck sales in a single month.

Year-to-date Light Duty truck sales are faring much better, up over the same period last year to the end of July 2022, by 767 trucks (up 8.5 per cent).

Another two months of sales on trend with July 2023, would see that advantage erased, however.

The Light Duty Van segment has been recovering sales lost during the pandemic years where supply chain issues significantly affected the segment.

The month of July saw, unfortunately, sales retreating again.

Light Duty vans posted a total of 449 sales in July 2023, down 1.8 per cent, or 14 units less than July 2022.

Year-to-date the tally looks better for the Van segment with a total of 3,363 van sales, up exactly 14.0 per cent over 2022 results. That amounts to 413 more vans sold year-to-date in 2023.

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