EXCLUSIVE: Steady weather ahead for bus sales


A surprisingly good September could mean a steady ship in bus sales for the next few months, although a mixed bag across mining, school services and the government sector could be where suppliers target new product

EXCLUSIVE: Steady weather ahead for bus sales
<b><font color=red>EXCLUSIVE:</b></font> Steady as she goes

October 14, 2010

Although a long way short of the end of financial year bus delivery bonanza of 359 units delivered in June, the signs are emerging of a steady upwards climb in bus deliveries over the past few months.

In fact the 158 units delivered in September is a 27 percent increase over the corresponding number of vehicles in delivered in September 2009 (114).

So far this financial year, the industry has also experienced a similar increase in just three months when doom and gloom seemed to be everywhere at the start of June.

Between August and September an extra 30 units were delivered, with one of the largest private orders of 10 Mercedes-Benz O500LE’s heading to Buslink at Berrimah in the Northern Territory.

Dyson’s subsidiary East West Bus Company, operating in Melbourne’s northern outskirts took delivery of 7 Volvos, also standing out for private deliveries.

The various public authorities in NSW, WA and South Australia bought new units, but none of these individual purchases topped the twenty plus mark.

September data also confirms the trend towards mining, with 7 units heading to WA’s gold and iron ore deposits bought by a spread of mining companies and contractors.

The Australian dollars near-parity with the greenback may yet see the importers re-emerge to pre-June levels. Currently, the Asian gloss appears to be waning with dramatic fall off in units across all the major Chinese brands. BCI recorded just 7 deliveries last month – a dramatic drop from 73 units delivered in June.

Japanese-owned Hino has faired better. Although small in volume, the rise to 15 units delivered for the month actually beat their previous months by a considerable margin, placing the brand fourth overall behind the main stayers Volvo (49), Mercedes-Benz (39) and Scania (25), and significantly in front of MAN (12).

Celebrations might be in order at Hino.

Hino’s National Sales Manager Kevin Fielding admits some of his company’s units were delivered in September as part of the pre-June Federal Government tax incentives, but pointed to steady sales and growth in the Queensland market.

Hino’s 15 units were primarily school buses.

Fielding says the efforts of Steve Buxton at Brisbane dealer Sci-Fleet contributed to Hino’s good result.

"Queensland is supporting Hino very well and shining out above NSW and Victoria," he says.

"I think you will find Queensland is moving quicker than other states on school bus sales."

Fielding says it’s likely that Hino will drop down the table again in October with 8 units predicted for October and the same for November

"We don’t have a low floor bus, but we are working on it, so our market is in school buses," he says.

With the exception of the Northern Territory where deliveries rose as reported, and Victoria dived from a 27 percent share in August to just 17 percent in September – the split between the remaining states was static.

There is a state election due in Victoria at the end of November, so watch this space to see if deliveries continue to drop in that state for the rest of the quarter.

And what you are seeing on the streets also remains as it has been over the past few months, with Volgren bodies dominating the landscape in September (72) followed by Custom Coaches (38) and the Malaysian built Chiron/UBC (11).

By early December we should all know if the steady rise will be sustained, and a return to more buoyant times.

October issue of ABC gives a comprehensive breakdown of September deliveries.

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