A decision by Volvo Group Australia during Covid to shore up stock supply by importing completely built-up trucks from factories in Saudi Arabia and Sweden has again paid dividends.
For the second time in recent months, Volvo has topped the sales race, this time nosing out Kenworth with 265 vs. 251 in the February numbers just released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC).
Isuzu was again third in the heavy-duty sector with 173 units, followed by UD Trucks with a healthy 96 and Mercedes-Benz rounding out the top-5 with 66 sales.
For the second month in succession, the result for the heavy segment was particularly good, with 1224 trucks sold, up 19 per cent, or 195 units, on February 2022.
This result broke the previous February category sales record, set before the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, when 1060 trucks were sold, by 13.4 per cent.
These strong January and February sales brings the 2023 year-to-date tally to 2168 heavies, 22.7 per cent (401 trucks) above sales at this time last year.
Total Australian truck and heavy van new sales for February reached 3499 units, up a significant 21.8 per cent on February 2022 and smashing the all-time February sales record set in 2008 of 3017 trucks and vans.
As detailed last month, 2022 heavy vehicle sales were off to a record start in January and that has continued in February.
Heavy vehicle sales to the end of February this year are up 1264 units over the first two months of 2022, a 25.2 percent increase and something that has market analysists excited.
Tellingly though, 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, 2023. The combination of these two economic events is expected to slow heavy vehicle sales from mid-2023 on, said the TIC, the peak industry body for truck manufacturers and importers into Australia.
Tony McMullan, TIC CEO, said the strong start to 2023 is a positive but again warned the situation may be very different for the second half of the year.
He said 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” said McMullan.
“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 30, 2024.
“Thus avoiding potential job losses in the manufacturing and road transport sectors.”