Quarter three of 2023 has seen truck and van sales soften when compared to quarters one and two of the year. However, the market is still on track to break the all-time sales record set last year.
Sales remain solid in the Heavy and Medium truck segments, while Light truck and Light Van sales continue to weaken. Overall, the third quarter result for 2023, which saw 11,057 truck and van sales, was the second strongest quarter three result, falling short of the best ever third quarter result, set last year, by 291 vehicle sales.
This saw the quarter down by 2.6 percent over the same period in 2022. Year-to-date the market is tracking up 10.0 percent (+3,217 vehicles) over the same period last year with a total of 35,452 heavy vehicles sold thus far in 2023. However, at the half year mark, sales were up 16.8 percent over 2022, so it can be seen that the slowing of sales that occurred in the third quarter is dragging the year-to-date average back by almost 7 percent.
As already detailed, the Heavy Duty truck segment continued to performed well in quarter three and is now ahead of 2022 results by 19.5 percent (+2,065 trucks) with a very healthy 12,652 Heavy Duty trucks sold in Australia to the end of September. Looking at the third quarter sales in isolation, the segment was up by 249 trucks over quarter three 2022.
For the month of September, the news was not quite as good, with sales up over September 2022 by 9.2 percent (+117 trucks). 1,396 Heavy trucks were delivered for the month of September 2023. That was a new September sales record, eclipsing the previous best September result, set last year, when 1,279 Heavies were delivered.
The Medium Duty segment has held strong in 2023, however growth has slowed a little in quarter three. At the end of September, Medium truck sales were up by 4.3 percent (+241 trucks) over the same period in 2022. However, it has to be said that most of that growth came from quarter one and two 2023 sales. Year-to-date Medium Duty truck sales stand at 5,873. The month of September saw a slight increase in deliveries over the same month last year, up by 2.5 percent (+16 trucks). A total of 646 Medium trucks were sold in September.
Light Duty Truck (those vehicles between 3,500 kg and 8,000 kg GVM) sales have seen the largest fall in quarter three 2023 of any of the truck segments, compared with the first six months of the year. At the end of June, the Light truck segment was tracking up 14.6 percent over 2022 sales, however by the end of September that lead had shrunk to just 2.9 percent. 3,639 “little trucks” were sold in the third quarter of 2023, down a significant 15.1 percent (-649 trucks) over quarter three 2022. As detailed above, year-to-date Light Duty truck sales are ahead of the same period in 2022 by just 2.9 percent (+348 trucks). Specifically looking at September 2023 results, just 1,303 Light trucks were delivered, down 14.4 percent (-219 trucks) over September 2022.
The month of September saw Light Duty vans (GVM between 3,500 kg and 8,000 kg) buck the trend with van deliveries well up for the month of September 2023. 609 vans delivered for the month, up 22.5 percent (+112 vans) over September 2022. Light Duty vans posted a total of 1,596 sales for the months of July to September 2023, up 142 vans over the same period in 2022. The year-to-date van tally at the end of quarter three stands at 4,510 units, this is up over 2022 sales for the same period by 14.3 percent (+563 vans). While 2023 van sales look impressive when compare with last year, it must be remembered that in 2022, van sales were significantly down on previous years due to supply chain issues.
The Chief Executive Officer of TIC, the peak industry body for truck manufacturers and importers into Australia, Tony McMullan, commented, “It was a solid quarter for the Heavy and Medium truck segments, while sales in the Light Duty truck and Van segments have slowed noticeably in quarter three.”
“At the end of the third quarter 2023, total heavy vehicle sales are up over the same point in 2022, but not to the same degree as we saw at the end of June this year. I believe that the end of the instant asset write-off tax incentive, in June 2023 and interest rate rises, are now starting to negatively impact new truck sales. However, with just three months to go until year end, the industry is still on track hit a new market peak, though this is mainly due to the stellar sales seen from January to June this year.“