Australian Truck Market Grows in 2016

Highest overall tally since the GFC, with heavy-duty segment stable…

According to the latest data from the Truck Industry Council (TIC), a total of 32,964 trucks and commercials were registered in 2016, the tally marking the highest annual figure since the Global Financial Crisis. The total equates with growth of three per cent over 2015, while the December tally of 3061 units was down 0.3% over the corresponding figure for the previous year.

Isuzu moves into its 28th year of overall market leadership in 2017, its 2016 total of 8307 units delivering year-on-year growth of 11.6%. Japanese rival Hino sits in second place, its 4405 units registered in 2016 equating with a slight drop of 0.9%. Rounding out the podium is Fuso with 3660 units – the figure up 6.0% from the previous year.

Heavy-duty truck market leader Kenworth lies fourth in the overall figures, with 1980 units. That’s a drop of 1.8% over its 2015 figure. And behind it lies Euro rival Volvo, with 1605 units. Volvo’s new range has certainly found some traction, its registrations up 8.7% over the 2015 figure.

In a turnaround from recent years, the heavy-duty truck market has stabilised in 2016, with a total of 9882 trucks registered. That translates to a slight drop of 0.1% – a welcome change of the double digit losses seen not so long ago, even if it is still some way off the pre-GFC high.

It was a strong end to the year for heavy-duty truck, too. Some 1090 heavy-duty trucks were registered in December, up 7.8% from December 2015. Kenworth continues to lead the heavy-duty segment with 1979 units, ahead of Volvo (1589), Isuzu (1278), Mack (931) and Scania (745).

The medium-duty truck market performed well in 2016, the segment posting overall growth of 4.5%. The month of December saw 660 medium-duty trucks registered, up 4.1% from the previous corresponding period.

Isuzu dominated the medium-duty truck market last year with 3023 units, ahead of Hino (2068), Fuso (1048), UD Trucks (542) and Mercedes-Benz (109).

The light-duty truck market continued to surge through 2016, with the segment’s 10,669 trucks registered representing growth of 8.1%. Surprisingly, the December result was poor in comparison – 895 light-duty trucks were registered for the month, the figure down 9.1% over December 2015.

Isuzu continues to lead the segment with 4006 units registered in 2016, ahead of Fuso (2216), Hino (2047), Iveco (729) and Fiat (702).

Bucking the trend from recent years is the light-duty van segment, where registrations fell by 2.3%. Registrations for December also fell, the 416 units recorded equating with a drop of 5.5%.

Mercedes-Benz dominated the light-duty van segment in 2016 with 2034 units, ahead of Renault (1407), Ford (675), Volkswagen (527) and Fiat (492).

The President of TIC, Phil Taylor, said the figures were cause for cautious optimism.

“It was pleasing to see that the final quarter of 2016 finished strongly for new truck sales in Australia,” he said.

“The Light Duty Truck market finished with a near record breaking performance for the year, Medium Truck sales were up over 2015 and we saw that fourth quarter revival in Heavy Duty Truck sales. All positive signs as we start 2017.

“The final numbers for 2016 were the best we have seen since the GFC, but it must be remembered that the market in 2016 fell well short of the 2007 peak by 5167 units. We still have some way to go.”

TIC Chief Executive Officer, Tony McMullan, said he’s hopeful that the generally stronger fourth quarter 2016 results are an indicator for improved truck sales in 2017.

“In all 2016 was a mixed year, starting slowly in most segments, possibly due to the longest federal election campaign seen in recent years and the inherent caution in capital expenditure shown by the business sector leading up to an election.

“The results displayed in the fourth quarter of 2016 are probably more reflective of the business confidence we can expect to see in 2017 and if these sales trends continue, particularly at the Heavy Duty Truck end of the market, 2017 should see increased new truck sales as business confidence continues to grow.”

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