Unprecedented Sales Growth
The Australian truck and heavy van market achieved an all-time high in 2023, with sales totalling 47,757 units. This figure represents an impressive 7.6% increase (3,378 units) over the previous year, surpassing the 2022 benchmark which had already set a high standard for the industry.
Quarterly Highlights: A Consistent Uptrend
The strength of the market was consistent throughout 2023, with the first, second, and fourth quarters each setting new sales records, with sales of 12,305 vehicles in Q4 2023. December 2023 sales were also just one shy of the all-time December sales record of 4,112 that was set in 2022. This sustained growth throughout the year is indicative of the robustness and resilience of the Australian heavy vehicle sector.
Heavy Duty Trucks Lead the Way: Dominating the market, the Heavy Duty Truck segment saw a substantial 17.4% increase in sales, reaching 17,569 units in 2023. This segment now makes up the largest portion of the market, accounting for 36.8% of total sales, up from 34.8% in the previous year, reflecting a growing preference for larger, more capable vehicles in the industry.
Modest Growth in Medium Duty Trucks: The Medium Duty Truck segment experienced modest growth, with a 7.3% increase in sales, totalling 8,004 units. However, this is still significantly lower than its peak in 2007, highlighting a trend away from Medium Duty trucks.
Light Duty Trucks Near Record Sales: The Light Duty Truck segment narrowly missed setting a new sales record, with 16,166 units sold, just 1.6% short of the 2022 record. These trucks accounted for 33.6% of total sales, a slight decline from 35.2% in the previous year.
Recovery in Light Duty Vans: This segment experienced a rebound, with 6,018 vans sold in 2023, marking a 9.0% increase over the previous year. Despite this growth, the segment’s share of the total market has dipped to 12.6%, down from a peak of 18.1% at the end of 2020.
Market Trends and Future Outlook
The report reveals a clear preference shift from Medium Duty to either Light or Heavy Duty trucks. Despite the record-breaking sales, a major concern highlighted in the report is the ageing Australian truck fleet, which lags behind its counterparts in Europe and North America in terms of modernisation.
Tony McMullan, CEO of TIC, expressed satisfaction with the strong sales performance in 2023, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on supply chains. However, he emphasised the need for concerted efforts by the industry and government to address the ageing fleet issue, as this is crucial for enhancing safety, public health, and environmental outcomes.
The 2023 T-Mark report underscores a year of robust growth for the Australian heavy vehicle market, setting new records and indicating a shift in market preferences. However, the challenge of an ageing fleet looms large, calling for strategic initiatives to rejuvenate the nation’s trucking infrastructure.