Sales surprise at lighter end in November


Hino tops Isuzu in medium duty and settles in above Fuso in light duty

Sales surprise at lighter end in November
Kenworth is winning the HD segment for the year

 

Where will the first commercial vehicles market year of the 2020s sit, given the decade previous? We will know for sure next month but there is a good chance it will be marvelled at as an exercise in resilience.

Sales in the 11th calendar month are at 3,174 for a year-to-date (YTD) figure of 30,998, according to Truck Industry Council (TIC) T-Mark figures.

The market has been tracking somewhere between the mid-decade doldrums of 2016 and the roots of the last decades spike in 2017.

So, with 2016 at 2,956 and 29,903 and 2017 at 3,630 and 33,352, the trend towards being near-equidistant is all but set in stone.

The month-on-month (MOM) figure tells a story, too. That is, the recovery continues, though the acceleration eased somewhat last month, the MOM totals from August being 2,616, 2,858, 3,011 and now3,174.

In total unit figures, Hino continues to harry leader Isuzu, albeit at a distance. The perennial bridesmaid has made steady progress since August, 382 to 480 gaining a 76-unit spike last month that mirrors Isuzu’s 65-unit jump last month to 726, which has subsided to 683. Fuso has made intermittent headway from 311 to 329.


See how the truck sales market looked this time last month, here


A YTD comparison with 2016 holds interest, showing Isuzu down a touch, from 7,684 to 7,516, and Hino up, from 3,989 to 4,686, while Fuso sheds a minor percentage at 3,282 to 3,153.

HEAVY DUTY

The 2016-2017equidistance theory holds in the top weight division, with YTD 9,427 pretty much midway between the former’s 8,792 and the latter’s 10,752.

The Battle of the Behemoths might as well be called for the year, with Kenworth reasserting dominance at 242 for the month and YTD 1,788, while plucky challenger Volvo’s tilt has run out of steam at 147 and 1,609. Next year will tell a story, though, with a new Volvo range having a clear run.

Kenworth has made every post a winner since August’s 159 in pretty even tempo, while Volvo stalled just under 150 MOM.

Isuzu has been unable to consolidate above 100 units in that time with swings either side in consecutive months and November at 89.

Mercedes-Benz has stayed above the 100 mark, at 112, for the second month in succession after its leap into triple figures from 58 in September to 127.

Outside the placegetters, the makes are pretty much range-bound, with Scania battling to keep within striking distance of 100 but slipping three units to 87.  

That said, special mention should be made for Fuso – coming off a small base, it has nearly double its monthly total since August, at 27, to 57 last month.

UD, at 36, is seeking to return above 40 having slipped under the previous month.

And the new Western Star cannot come quickly enough. Though the storied make has never had pretentions to be a segment-winner, it had been good for monthly sales predominantly in the mid-30s. In November that was 14, beating only the vocational Dennis Eagle on six, International five and Hyundai with no sales and one for the year.

MEDIUM DUTY

OK, the equidistance theory fails on the rock of the medium-duty segment, with this year’s 5,934, down on 2016’s 6,367 and 2017’s 6,645, but it is ever thus.

What is of more pressing interest here is the modest but creditable rise in total sales since August.

That month’s 484 has given way to 517, 536 and 562. It’s nothing like November 2016’s 621 but it is reaching for the 600 mark.

More remarkably, Hino has topped Isuzu for the month, 213 to 202, after trailing by nearly 100 units in October and a few less than 50 in September.

This will be seen as an initial vindication of an open strategy to push for top spot articulated last year and which came close in February, when Hino came within 13 units of toppling the market leader.

As Volvo has shown in the HD sector, however, the test is to resist subsiding after a mighty effort.

Third-place-getter Fuso, meanwhile, is no better than where it was in November 2016, bouncing either side of the 90 units.

LIGHT DUTY

What a difference a few months make. This is a segment that has seen sales rise MOM from 849 in August to 1,015.

This swoop into four figures puts it closer to 2017’s 1,073 than 2016’s 898.

Isuzu is lord of all it surveys here, where the heat is in the battle for second spot between Hino and Fuso.

Fuso’s second half has been a story of retreat since August’s second-place 197, 25 units ahead of Hino, to 176 in November, 49 units behind.

Hino has shown staying power, steadily rising from 172 in August to 225 last month, as it aims to accelerate to the line as its challenger dies on its run.

Iveco leads those outside the placegetters at 91, after fairly wild gyrations, and Fiat has begun to make a mark, up from 35 in August to 49 last month.

 

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