Trucks, News

HOPES that the Australian truck market would hit a record in June were dashed after sales slipped on inflationary pressures and subsequent diminished optimism in the economy.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) said that this time last year the truck industry was celebrating a new all-time June sales record when 6054 new trucks and heavy vans were sold in Australia. 

A year on and with inflation pressures starting to bite, new truck sales have cooled. In June, 5160 new heavy vehicles were sold, a 14.8 per cent decline over the same month in 2023.

However, June 2024 sales were the second best result on record. Further, van sales hit a first-half record with 4176 sold, exceeding the previous record of 3723 sales set in 2021.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan said Australia’s economy “has been cooling for many months now.”

“This slower June result may be as a result of the general economic slowdown that we are witnessing across the Australian economy,” he said.

“However, it may simply have been a slower month due to other externalities and does not signal an overall trend.

“The coming months will confirm if heavy vehicle sales have reached a peak for the time being and the market continues to cool, or if June was simply an isolated slower month.” 

The TIC said that all truck segments – Light, Medium and Heavy – were down over June while van sales were up for the month. 

Year-to-date sales are tracking just slightly below those for the first six months of 2023, with 24,075 truck and van sales this year, compared with 24,395 to the same point last year, a fall of 1.3 per cent.

The Heavy Duty truck segment took a hit in June with only 1816 Heavy deliveries, down 20.8 per cent (or 478 trucks) over the same month in 2023. 

But the TIC said that in perspective, it was the second best Heavy Duty truck sales month on record, following the record 2023 June result. 

“Looking at quarter two 2024 in isolation, we see a solid performance from the Heavy truck sector – 4981 sales for April to June – down only slightly (or 136 trucks) on the record second quarter 2023 result of 5117,” the TIC said.

“Looking at the first half year result, Heavy Duty trucks sales remain slightly ahead of those in 2023 with 8769 sales versus 8732 sales to the end of June 2023, representing a slight improvement of 0.4 per cent (37 additional Heavy truck registrations).” 

The Medium Duty segment has seen solid sales so far in 2024 with sales exceeding 2023.

“However as with the other truck segments June sales were down on those seen year-to-date and for the same month last year,” it said.

There were 887 Medium trucks delivered last month, down 17.6 per cent (or 190 trucks) over June 2023. 

Tony McMullan

The overall April to June remains strong with 2296 Mediums delivered in quarter two 2024, compared to 2373 for the same period in 2023, a 3.2 per cent decrease over 2023 levels. 

“Year-to-date Medium Duty truck sales are performing better than 2023 with 4037 deliveries to the end of June 2024, up 1.7 per cent (or 66 trucks) on the 2023 half year result,” TIC said.

“We have witnessed the largest market decline year-to-date in the Light Duty truck segment and that trend continued in June. 

“A total of 1509 Light Duty truck sales (trucks with a GVM between 3500 kg and 8000 kg) were delivered for the month, down a significant 25.8 per cent (or 525 vehicles) over June 2023, which has to be said was an all-time record sales month for the Light truck segment. 

“The 2024 quarter two result was also weak for Light Duty trucks with 3964 trucks sold, down 892 units (or 18.4 per cent) over the second quarter 2023 result of 4856 deliveries.”

The TIC said that for the first half year, 7093 Light Duty trucks have been delivered, well down on the same period in 2023 when 8778 Light Duty trucks were delivered. That is a 19.2 per cent year-on-year reduction representing a fall of 1685 trucks.

Bucking the downward truck sales trend was again the Van segment that continues with strong sales in 2024. 

June Light Duty Van sales (vans with a GVM between 3500 kg and 8000 kg) were well above those of last year. 

There were 948 Light Duty vans delivered for the month of June 2024, up a very significant 46.1 per cent (299 vans) over June 2023. 

Light Duty Vans posted a total of 2490 sales for the second quarter months of April to June, up 36.1 per cent (899 vans) over the same period last year. 

That result is a new all-time Q2 sales record for the segment in Australia. At the halfway point of the year, the total Van sales tally stands at 4176 units, up on last year by 43.3 per cent which represents 1262 vans. 

This result set a new first half sales record for Vans, bettering the previous best mark of 3723 van sales set in the first half of 2021.

By Neil Dowling

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