Glimmer of hope as TIC analyses April truck sales

Much depends on stimulus as lighter vehicles struggle

Glimmer of hope as TIC analyses April truck sales
The figures make hard reading for TIC


The Truck Industry Council (TIC) is refusing to be entirely cowed by April’s challenging T-Mark commercial vehicle sales figures.

Despite new truck sales falling 21.8 per cent, or 640 units, against April last year, the peak body notes the local market has seen worse and the pain is being felt very badly indeed elsewhere.

"Compared to sales following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) the industry is fairing slightly better in 2020, in April 2009 sales only reached 2,236 (66 fewer than this April), however we are certainly very close to those market lows," TIC states in its market commentary.

"Year-to-date the overall truck market is tracking down 18.2 per cent when compared to the end of April 2019.

"On a more positive note, sales in Australia are holding up much better than in Europe where recent European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) figures for March 2020 showed a 47.3 percent decline over March 2019, with April sales (yet to be released) expected to be even worse."


Read about the April truck sales results, here

While noting the medium-duty segment "bore the brunt of the current economic slowdown", TIC sees the heavy-duty end of the market a reflecting a glimmer of positivity, having  "fared better than it did in March and recording the second best segment result for April".

TIC CEO Tony McMullan sees the mixed results obscuring a clear picture of market dynamics in uncertain times.

"There is no doubt that the Australian new truck market is in the midst of lows not seen since the Global Financial Crisis, however we have not yet seen truck sales fall below levels seen in 2009/2010, though we are very close," McMullan observes.

"I was pleased to see that the heavy duty segment, whilst obviously well down, performed better in terms of sales percentages than we witnessed in March.

"Whereas the result at the light end of the market was somewhat puzzling, light-duty truck sales were down, but relatively stable month on month, however light-duty van sales continue to receeded significantly.

"Typically, we would expect to see both light-duty segments rise, or fall, roughly in unison, given the economic environment.

"The other significant ‘known’, based upon our experience of the economic downturn that occurred during and post the Global Financial Crisis, is that targeted economic stimulus will be required in all areas of the freight transport sector, not just trucks but also aviation, and rail.

"In turn, we will be looking to Australian government, to provide that stimulus as we move to rebuild so much of our economy over the coming months and years."

Light duty van sales started the year better than any other segment, however sales have fallen these past two months.

A total of only 370 vans were sold in April, a fall of 26.4 percent over April 2019.

"While the year-to-date end of April result is better, a 16.1 percent drop, only 1,552 vans have been sold in 2020, that is 297 fewer light-duty van sales than in 2019," TIC says.

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