Bus deliveries maintain momentum in February

By: Graham Gardiner

Bus and coach sales have maintained their strength amid the global economic meltdown, with deliveries 23.8 percent higher in February

Bus and coach sales have maintained their strength amid the global economic meltdown, with deliveries 23.8 percent higher in February than the previous corresponding month of 2008.

At 130 units, deliveries are up a remarkable 56.6 percent on February 2007 and 64.5 percent on the same month of 2006.

Even more staggering is that February deliveries were 132 percent higher than a decade ago in February 1999 (56) and 251 percent up on the level five years ago in February 2004 (37).

This follows on from record deliveries in 2008 and the first month of 2009, when 134 units were delivered, up from 122 in January 2008.

Underpinning the strong deliveries in February were large receipts from government-owned operators in Brisbane (11), Sydney (14) and Perth (5), as well as large private operators including Premier Motor Services (8), Buslines (8) and Martins (3) in NSW, Dysons (4) and Driver Bus Lines (3) in Victoria, and PTD in SA (3).

Chassis supplier Mercedes-Benz again captured the lion’s share of deliveries, with the German marque registering 35 deliveries (27 percent), followed by Volvo at 27 (20.76 percent), BCI at 20 (15.4 percent), and MAN and Scania at 15 a piece (11.5 percent each).

This compares with a decade ago when Mercedes-Benz accounted for almost 50 percent of deliveries in the month, Volvo and Hino 14.5 percent a piece, Metrolec just over 10 percent, and Scania and MAN 5.25 percent each.

Year-to-date (Jan-Feb), Mercedes-Benz has 26.13 percent marketshare, versus 27 percent back in 1999, ahead of Volvo at 15.15 percent, up from 8 percent in 1999, BCI at 17.8 percent, Scania at almost 10 percent (14.3 percent in 1999), Hino at 6.06 percent (19.04 percent in 1999) and MAN at 5.68 (4.76 percent in 1999).

Marketshare in the body market has also changed considerably over the past decade.

Custom Coaches remains the market leader in the year-to-date with 24.6 percent of deliveries, compared with 25.64 percent in the same period of 1999. While Volgren accounted for 30 percent of deliveries in February, ahead of Custom Coaches at 23 percent, the Grenda Group subsidiary still ranks second in the year-to-date with 20 percent marketshare, down slightly on the 21.36 percent share achieved in the first two months of 1999.

Beyond the top-two, BCI has come from no where back in 1999 to account for 17.8 percent of deliveries year-to-date, and 15.38 percent in February, and Bustech has lifted its share from 1.7 percent to 8.7 percent in the past decade, including 6.92 percent in February. Denning's share has slipped from almost 12 percent in the first two months of 1999 to 2.27 percent in the corresponding period of 2009, while Express' share has dropped from almost 8 percent in the first two months of 1999 to just under 2 percent in the first two months of 2009.

So too has marketshare in the air-conditioning market, with Coachair, the market leader five years ago with 63.3 percent of deliveries in the first two months of 2004, running second in the year-to-date with 20.68 percent share and third for February alone with 20.8 percent share.

Thermoking, which accounted for 28.3 percent of deliveries in the first two months of 2004, is now the clear market leader with almost 44 percent of the market year-to-date. Carrier, which accounted for just 5 percent of deliveries in the first two months of 2004, captured 18.5 percent share in the first two months of 2009, including 25 percent in February.

It is in deliveries by application and by state that show the greatest change, though, over the past 5-10 years.

A decade ago charter and day tour coaches made up 20 percent of February deliveries, while city/route buses accounted for 23 percent and schools 57 percent; five years later, in February 2004, long-distance and charter comprised 27 percent of deliveries, school 30 percent and city/route 43 percent.

Fast forward to February 2009 and the school market now accounts for 40 percent of deliveries, city/route 46 percent and long-distance and charter just 14 percent.

And on a geographical basis, the big investment in public transport under way in Queensland has seen that state’s share of deliveries grow from a mere 9 percent a decade ago, to a high of 38 percent in February 2004, and 25 percent in February 2009.

NSW accounted for 40 percent of deliveries in February 2009, compared with 56 percent 10 years ago and 24 percent in the corresponding month of 2004.
Victoria, meanwhile, now claims 23 percent of deliveries, down from 30- percent five years ago and 29 percent a decade ago.

To view the full February 2009 deliveries data – plus historical data for 2007 and 2008 – click here.

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