After a record breaking June which coincided with the end of the instant asset write-off incentive, July new truck sales have returned to more modest levels. The biggest dip was in the Light Duty and Light Van segment which benefited most from the sales spike created by the government policy ending.
Total heavy vehicle sales for the month were 3,181 units, down 9.0% (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%.
The Heavy Duty Truck segment remained strong in July, though down on the record breaking sales seen in the first half of 2023. In total 1,105 Heavy trucks were delivered, up 3.6%, or 38 trucks, on July 2022. Year-to-date the result is looking much better with Heavy sales tracking up 23.2% over those of the same period in 2022. In terms of actual truck numbers, the sales gap is now 1,854 more Heavy trucks sold year-to-date in 2023, thanks to the record breaking quarter one and two sales results.
Medium Duty Truck sales have been solid, but not spectacular, thus far in 2023 and that trend continued in July. The Australian Medium Duty market ended the month of July with 563 sales, this is up 1.3% (7 units) over July 2022. Solid results for much of the first half of 2023 has seen the Medium Duty segment stay ahead of 2022 sales and year-to-date the Medium market remains up over last year by 3.7%, with an additional 161 trucks sold to the end of July.
Light Duty trucks sales were the real disappointment in July, slowing considerably more than any other segment. 1,064 Light Duty trucks were delivered last month, this was down 24.8% on July last year. Year-to-date Light Duty truck sales are faring much better, up over the same period last to the end of July 2022, by 767 trucks (up 8.5%). However, another two months of sales as we have just seen in July 2023, would see that advantage erased.
The Light Duty Van segment had been recovering sales lost during the pandemic years where supply chain issues significantly affected the segment. However, the month of July saw sales retreating again. Light Duty vans posted a total of 449 sales in July 2023, down 1.8%.
Chief Executive Officer of the Truck Industry Council, the peak industry body for truck manufacturers and importers into Australia, Tony McMullan, detailed that the sales result was not unexpected for the month of July, though the drop in sales relatively to July 2022 was potentially concerning.
“Historically we witness a drop in heavy vehicle sales in the month following the financial year end, hence this July result is not unexpected. However, of some concern is the significant fall in new truck sales relative to the month of July 2022. A nine percent 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-19 financial incentive commitments put in place by the previous federal government and honored by the current 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 the 30th June.”
“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. We shall see what the remaining months of 2023 determine.” Mr. McMullan concluded.