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Truck sales continue to set records

Isuzu and Volvo lead the charge as February sales record smashed, despite the impending end to the Federal Government’s Temporary Full Expensing incentive


The Truck Industry Council (TIC) has advised that total Australian truck and heavy van new sales for February 2023 reached 3,499 units, up a significant 21.8 percent compared to February 2022. It also smashed the all-time February sales record set in 2008 of 3,017 trucks and vans.

As detailed in February, heavy vehicle sales were off to a record start in January this year. Heavy vehicle sales to the end of February are up 1,264 units over the first two months of 2022, a 25.2 per cent increase and something that has market analysists excited, TIC says.

Isuzu boasted big gains, rising from 1,393 over year-to-date figures (January-February) in 2022 to 1,984 this year. Also interesting to note that Fuso, while only improving slightly on its February figures, leapfrogged Hino into second place in overall sales.

Volvo Trucks is also on the rise, selling 269 trucks in February compared to the same month last year. In the year-to-date tally, Volvo has leaped from 276 trucks sold to 447. It also claimed bragging rights over Kenworth in the heavy vehicle sales, moving to first place with 265 trucks sold compared to Kenworth’s 251.

Other significant moves up the heavy duty ladder were DAF with 56 trucks sold in February (39 in 2022), and UD moving from 55 to 96 also in the heavy category. Minor gains were made by Mercedes-Benz, Scania and Hino.

Isuzu has maintained its lofty position at the top of overall truck sales

However, the TIC warns that interest rate hikes are slowing many sectors in the Australian economy and the previous Government’s Temporary Full Expensing incentive is scheduled to end on June 30 this year. The combination of these two economic events is expected to slow heavy vehicle sales from mid-2023 on.

For the second month in succession, the result for the heavy duty truck segment was particularly good, with 1,224 HD trucks sold, up 19.0 percent, or 195 units, on February 2022. This result broke the previous February sales record, set before the onset of the GFC in 2008, when 1,060 trucks were sold, by 13.4 percent. These strong January and February sales brings the 2023 year-to-date tally to 2,168 heavies, 22.7 percent (401 trucks) above sales at this time last year.

The medium duty segment also performed well again in February with 570 truck deliveries for the month verses 544 units in February 2022, a small gain of 4.8 percent. TIC says medium duty is a shrinking market and explains that truck sales will be unlikely to be rewriting the record books. It points to February sales of 119 trucks, down on the best ever February deliveries of 689 trucks achieved back in 2008.

However, year-to-date the medium duty segment is tracking 5.2 percent above 2022 sales, with 1,015 medium trucks sold in 2023 compare to 965 trucks to the end of February last year.

TIC says the light duty truck segment continues to perform well, with 1,280 sales in February, up 25.1 per cent over February 2022, representing 257 more light duty sales than February 2022. This was another record, eclipsing the previous best February sales result of last year when 1,023 little trucks were sold.

DAF enjoyed an increase in sales on its February 2022 figures

Tony McMullan, the Truck Industry Council’s CEO, sees the strong sales start to 2023 as positive for the road transport industry, however warned the situation may be very different for the second half of the year.

“January and February sales have been very strong, leading to a number of monthly new truck sales records to be broken early in 2023,” McMullan says.

“However, with many sectors of the economy cooling due to interest rate rises and particularly with negotiations ongoing with federal treasury over-extending the delivery timeline for the Temporary Full Expensing incentive that is scheduled end on June 30, industry is concerned that many truck orders will be cancelled because trucks will not be completed and delivered into service, due to ongoing global supply chain issues.

“Cancelled orders will directly affect employment at body builders, equipment suppliers, truck dealerships and OEMs with the potential for many job losses,” he adds.

McMullan says the Truck Industry Council and the Australian Trucking Association have been jointly calling for the current Labor government to extend the delivery timeline for the Temporary Full Expensing scheme, allowing trucks that are already ordered, to be delivered up until June 2024.

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