Volvo truck deliveries: October better, but orders don’t lie

by SR on November 17, 2012

Volvo worldwide truck deliveries by year and month (units)

Sales in this market are a backward looking indicator

Volvo’s truck deliveries (sales) were announced on 16 November 2012. Total deliveries fell by 8.1% year-on-year and rose by 13.5% month-on-month. For the period January to October 2012, total deliveries have now reached 185,645 units, which is down 3.2% over the same period in 2011. That sequential increase in deliveries was far better than usual for Volvo in the month of October, which averaged a change of +3.5% from 2001 to 2011.

Volvo truck deliveries, percentage change for months of October from 2011 to 2011

This better-than-seasonal performance was driven mainly by strong sales in Western Europe (!) and North America. I wouldn’t start celebrating just yet, however, as these are deliveries i.e. they represent orders placed 2-3 months ago. Last month after Volvo announced its Q3 2013 results we noted that the company’s worldwide orders for trucks in the July-September 2012 quarter fell by 14.5% compared to the previous quarter, as shown in the chart below. That means that although we may get the odd stronger month of truck deliveries (like the October figures just announced) it is almost certain that deliveries for the October-December 2012 quarter will be down relative to the July-September quarter. And note also that September quarter orders usually rise, but they did not rise this year. So, no respite for truck demand just yet. I prefer auto parts and autos, with Toyota and Denso being the pick of the crop this year.

Volvo worldwide truck orders by quarter (units)

Now, it could be of course that Volvo and other global truck suppliers are seeing surging orders in this current quarter that will translate to a material (non-seasonal) rise in sales in the January-March 2013 quarter. That’s not a bet I feel like taking at the moment.

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