EXCLUSIVE: Weather eye on the Premier State

With a possible tempering of supply as the new state government settles into NSW, the bus industry will be keeping a weather eye on the ‘Premier State’

EXCLUSIVE: Weather eye on the Premier State
<b><font color=red>EXCLUSIVE:</b></font> Weather eye on the Premier State

April 13, 2011

Bus deliveries appear to have settled into a holding pattern with consistent sales reported across the first three months of the first quarter in 2011.

Statistically, deliveries are down by 27 percent compared with the first period last year, but that was an extraordinary time for the bus industry with growth bus schemes and Federal Government tax incentives still in play.

Casting an eye over the fence to the trucking industry, sales are down there too, but by half as much at 13 percent for January to March 2011.

Dragging this figure down has been a mild slump in light and medium duty truck market, but keeping that sector relatively buoyant has been a modest 5 percent decrease in heavy gear, mainly delivered to the mining industry.

Again, the resources boom is having an impact, not just in trucks, but bus as well and mostly in Western Australia where Iveco and BCI appear to be reporting some encouraging numbers.

As for the total 113 units for the month, the leader again was Volvo (52), followed some distance back by Mercedes-Benz (12) with Iveco and MAN just sneaking into double digits with 10 units each.

The Volvo-Volgren combination continues to prove popular, as it has done for several years, with the Grenda Group’s bus building division delivering 42 finished frames in March.

Gold Coast bus builder Bustech has been busy, but there is a cautionary note in that some of their builds on the Bustech XDI and MDI chassis have been collated over the past few months and reported in March.

New South Wales continues to take the bulk of new bus deliveries, in part due to the previous Keneally Government’s dash to supply metro operators with city buses in time for the March election.

Now that Barry O’Farrell’s coalition has predictably come to power in NSW, there may be a tempering of supply in the months ahead as Transport NSW takes its riding instructions from the new state government through the first hundred days of office.

What is known is that the new Premier has written to the Bus Industry Confederation on the matter of the John Robertson-inspired NSW supply panel, intimating
that further consultation at the political level will take place with the bus industry.

The status of the new supply panel
appears to be unclear, but more will be revealed following this weekend's BusNSW conference at Terrigal.

Incidentally, the former NSW Transport Minister is now the Leader of the Opposition – read into that what you will – but his replacement in the bus, trains and ferries portfolio, ‘our’ Gladys Berejiklian, elevates Transport to senior status and very close to the ear of the new Premier.

The politics could very likely have a bearing on contracts and supply of vehicles over the next few quarters, so it could pay dividends to keep an eye on the ‘Premier’ state.

To access March 2011 bus delivery data click here

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