After relinquishing its usual top spot to Volvo for much of the year, Kenworth has reclaimed a narrow lead in the heavy-duty truck sales race for 2023.
In the latest numbers released by the Truck Industry Council (TIC), Kenworth delivered 217 trucks in July, 41 more than the Wacol-based manufacturer on 176.
That tally gives Kenworth a year-to-date total of 1976, just two more than Volvo on 1974, setting up an intriguing battle for supremacy in the last half of the year.
Top overall seller Isuzu was just six shy of Volvo in July with 170 units, consolidating its stranglehold on the third spot amongst the heavies with 1380 for the year.
Of the others, Scania was next best on 81 for the month and now sits nicely clear in fourth place ahead of a cluster of mid-pack chasers.
Total heavy vehicle sales for the month were 3181 units, down 9 per cent (313 vehicles) over the same month last year.
However, total sales year-to-date to the end of July still lead those of 2022 by a healthy 13.1 per cent.
In its monthly report, the TIC said the heavy-duty segment remained strong in July, though down on the record-breaking sales seen in the first half of 2023.
In total, 1105 heavy trucks were delivered, up 3.6 per cent, or 38 trucks, on July 2022. Year-to-date the result is looking much better with heavy sales tracking up 23.2 per cent over those of the same period in 2022.
In terms of actual truck numbers, the sales gap is now 1854 more heavy trucks sold year-to-date in 2023, thanks to the record-breaking quarter one and two sales results.
TIC chief executive Tony McMullan said the overall July sales result was not unexpected, though the drop in sales relatively to July 2022 was potentially concerning.
Total heavy vehicle sales for the month were 3181 units, down 9 per cent (313 vehicles) over the same month last year, however total sales year-to-date to the end of July still lead those of 2022 by a healthy 13.1 per cent.
“Historically we witness a drop in heavy vehicle sales in the month following the financial year end, hence this July result is not unexpected,” McMullan said.
“However, of some concern is the significant fall in new truck sales relative to the month of July 2022. A 9 per cent fall for July 2023, compared with July 2022 was not anticipated by industry, in what has been a record setting sales year thus far in 2023.
The end of the financial year also marked the end of the Covid financial incentive commitments put in place by the previous federal government and honored by the Labor government.
Despite calls from industry for the delivery timeline for the incentive scheme to be extended for orders currently placed, government did not agree and the program ended on June 30.
“I hope that the poor July sales were simply an aberration and not a sign that government has misjudged how useful these financial measures were to the road transport industry,” McMullan added.
“We shall see what the remaining months of 2023 determine.”