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Positive signs for 2021 from latest sales figures

positive signs

The peak body for truck manufacturers and importers is looking forward to 2021 with renewed optimism after analysing encouraging December sales numbers.

Last month there were 3478 trucks sold in Australia, 230 more than in December 2019, and the second best finish to a year on record.

That brought the total truck and heavy van sales for the calendar year to 34,476 units, by no means a record – that is held by 2018, when 41,628 trucks were sold – but still a much better result than was forecast at the end of April last year.

Tony McMullan, CEO of Truck Industry Council (TIC), said the positive trend in new truck sales witnessed for much of the second half of 2020 and particularly evident in October and November, accelerated further in the month of December.

“The December Heavy Duty Truck sector result marked the fifth consecutive period of month-on-month sales growth, with sales since July showing a positive, constant, upward trend,” said McMullan.

“December Heavy and Medium Duty Truck sales were particularly strong, almost certainly as a direct result of the Federal Government’s new “unlimited” instant asset write-off incentive, announced in the October 2020 Budget.”

McMullan explained that given the nature of new Heavy Truck sales, there is a lag between ordering a new truck, its completion/body fitment, pre-delivery, registration and final delivery to the customer.

“This is typically two to three months for Heavy and Medium Duty trucks. The Truck Industry Council was always of the belief that it would take a couple of months at least, before the positive effects of the federal government’s October stimulus package would be reflected in T-Mark sales. I believe that we have started to witness those positive results in December.”

“TIC believes that sales will remain solid as we enter 2021, though the recent up-tick in COVID-19 cases and the resultant border closures, by some states and territories, may slow sales somewhat in the opening months of 2021. That said, the general outlook for the Australian economy this year looks healthy and we remain positive that will translate to sold new truck sales in 2021.”

After trailing Volvo in the first half the the year, Kenworth continued its surge in December with 326 sales, to finish 2020 clearly on top in the Heavy Duty sector with 2114 for the year.

Sector runner-up Volvo rounded out the year with 131 units in December for a 2020 total of 1740, followed by Isuzu with 116 and 1255 sales for the year.

In total, only 10,616 ‘Heavies’ were sold in 2020, down 16.6 percent (-2,117 trucks) over 2019 HD sales, highlighting the sales slump in the second and third quarters of the year and prior to the introduction of the Federal Government’s new “unlimited” instant asset write-off incentive in October.

The quarter four result last year fell just short of the 2019 result, down by 1.1 percent, 3,189 HD trucks sold in 2020 Q4 verses 3,226 sold in the same period in 2019.

Compared to the five year sales average for the Heavy Truck segment, 2020 Heavy sales were down 9.8 percent, 10,616 sales in 2020 verses 11,771 sales on average over the past five years for the sector.

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