Although it may have been another pandemic-impacted month for overall truck sales in September, the numbers are moving in the right direction in an enthralling heavy-duty sector race.
The monthly totals have jumped from 782 in July, 821 in August and now a not-too-shabby 905 last month. As a comparison, the sector had a total of 836 sales in the same month in 2016.
The tussle at the top has also heated up with perennial leader Kenworth now trailing tearaway early frontrunner Volvo by just three units on 1316 after a solid 195 vs. 146 result for the month.
That rounds out a hat-trick of pandemic-defying months for Kenworth with a 144, 159 and 195 upward swing, with Volvo recording 140, 110 and 146 for the same period.
Scania is also moving in the right direction – 66, 78 and 80 – while Dennis Eagle joins the celebrations with 15 sales in September after two months of zero interest.
Overall, however, the third quarter results are still lower than those seen over the past four years, according to official Truck Industry Council (TIC) figures.
All segments have struggled since March this year, but none more so than the big rigs.
The heavy duty truck segment that was down 18.7 percent (-577 trucks) in quarter three. Year-to-date HD trucks are now lagging 2019 sales by 21.9 percent (-2,080 trucks) with only 7,427 heavy duty trucks sold in Australia to the end of September.
Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council, the peak industry body for truck manufacturers and importers in Australia, noted the September and quarter three results were in line with expectations.
“We are now seeing the market stabilise due to the ongoing effects of Covid-19 with month-on-month sales in quarter three showing a reasonable degree of stability as we had expected,” he said.
“As we have seen from March onward, the heavy and medium duty segments continue to take the brunt of the fall in sales. New vehicle deliveries in both light duty segments have been less effected and this, we believe, is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the federal government’s instant asset write-off incentive of $150,000 that has been extended to the end of 2020.”
“The Truck industry Council and our members continue to promote the federal government’s financial incentives, particularly to operators wishing to purchase a truck costing more than $150,000. The Covid-19 Accelerated Depreciation incentive allows the purchaser of a truck priced over $150,000 to claim over 50 percent of the new truck’s value back at tax time.”
McMullan said the TIC and its members are looking toward further financial stimulus announcements in today’s federal budget, in order to encourage trucks sales, particularly at the heavy end of the market.