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THE truck industry has termed the best-ever monthly sales record of June as “something quite special” as 4620 trucks and vans found new owners.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) said it beat the June 2018 previous best of 4231 units.

However, while it appears to paint a rosy picture of the commercial vehicle sector, part of the picture isn’t in focus.

The Heavy Duty trucks segment was down 20.9 per cent and Medium Duty trucks fell 16.4 per cent in June.

The market was substantially buoyed by the small end of the truck sector that took advantage of the federal government’s instant asset write-off of $150,000.

The June 2020 tally for Light Duty trucks was 1583 units, surpassing the previous monthly record of 1304 set in June 2018 and representing a 21.4 per cent increase.

The Light Duty van segment was the star performer in June with 1006 Light Duty vans delivered, beating the previous best result (June 2019 with 714 van sales) by an impressive 40.9 per cent.

The TIC said that while June 2020 was an all-time record sales month, it was entirely driven by Light Duty truck and van sales.

Overall, it said June bucked the recent COVID-19 trend of plummeting truck sales in Australia.

“While history shows that truck sales peak in June every year no doubt due to the tax benefits that exist at the end of each financial year, the June 2020 sales result was something quite special,” the TIC said in its monthly report.

TIC CEO Tony McMullan said that the record, or near record, sales in both Light Duty segments “appears to be a clear indication of the effectiveness of the federal government’s instant asset write-off incentive of $150,000, coupled with the financial year end”.

“While the result has been of notable benefit for smaller trucks, it is clear that financial stimulus is required at the heavy end of the truck market,” he said.

Quarter two of 2020 showed a slowing of sales in the Heavy Duty truck sector, down 23.0 per cent when compared to last year’s second quarter sales.

In this second quarter, 2699 sales were recorded for April to June 2020. This was down on the second quarter of 2019 by a substantial 807 trucks.

Heavy Duty trucks sales in the first half of 2020 are down 23.4 per cent year-to-date with 4919 sales compared with 6422 in the 2019 corresponding period, representing a drop of 1503 trucks.

Mr McMullan said the TIC has called on the government to increase the instant asset write-off to $450,000 for heavy-vehicle specific purchases, saying that such action would stimulate sales in the Heavy and Medium Duty truck sectors.

“Further, it must be remembered that July, August and September truck sales are historically low, as the new financial year begins,” he said.

“Coupled with an Australian economy still reeling from the effects of COVID-19 and now with much of Victoria facing Stage 3 lockdown restrictions again, I have concerns that the better than expected June sales result will be a short-lived aberration.”

The TIC said that the Medium Duty segment was fairing a little better than the Heavy segment in 2020.

Deliveries of Medium Duty trucks totalled 897 units in June, up 12.7 per cent (101 trucks) over June 2019.

The overall April to June period is down however, with 1829 Mediums delivered in quarter two 2020, compared to 2125 for the same period in 2019, a 13.9 per cent reduction on last year’s levels.

Year-to-date Medium Duty truck sales have slowed by a similar amount, dropping 13.5 per cent, with 3265 deliveries to the end of June 2020 equating to 510 fewer MD truck sales compared to the 2019 half year result.

The Light Duty truck segment (trucks with a GVM between 3500 kg and 8000 kg) has been holding up well this year, and the June result was better than expected.

A total of 1583 Light Duty trucks were sold in June, up 24.3 per cent over the June 2019 result.

The 2020 quarter two result however, was only slightly up on the second quarter 2019 result, with 3188 LD truck sales versus 3112 sales last year, a 2.4 per cent increase. For the first half year, 5255 Light Duty trucks have been delivered, down on the same period in 2019 by 4.8 per cent (or 263 trucks), due to slow sales in the first quarter of 2020.

June 2020 Light Duty Van sales (vans with a GVM between 3500 kg and 8000 kg) were certainly the shining star for the month, well up over June 2019 results, the TIC said.

There were 1006 LD vans delivered for the month, up a significant 40.9 per cent (292 vans) over June 2019 and a new monthly sales record for vans in Australia.

Light Duty vans posted a total of 1827 sales for the months of April to June, falling just one van sale short of the 2019 quarter two result of 1828 sales.

“At the half way point of the year the van tally does not look quite so good, with 3009 van sales posted year-to-date,” the TIC said.

“The result is down on the January to June result of 2019 by 165 vans (down 5.2 per cent).

“If it were not for the record breaking June sales last month, the yearly result would be looking much worse,” the TIC said.

By Neil Dowling

KPMG
DealerCell
Schmick