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Class 8 sales top 17K in March, up nearly 50% for 2012

Year to date, 46,845 Class 8 trucks have been sold in the U.S. — a 46.6 percent improvement over the first three months of 2011.

The Trucker Staff

4/12/2012

Heavy-duty new truck sales in March topped 17,000 and were the best of the young 2012, and the best since last October — which means the total also made March the second best single month in five years.

According to figures provided to The Trucker by Ward’s Automotive, Class 8 sales were 17,308 trucks in the United States, up 12.3 percent from February and up 33 percent from March 2011. The year-over-year improvement was the 27th consecutive.

Year to date, 46,845 Class 8 trucks have been sold in the U.S. — a 46.6 percent improvement over the first three months of 2011. That first quarter total is 115 percent higher than the sales total for the same period in 2009, the worst year in a generation. The quarter trails the record year of 2006, but the industry has closed to gap: truck makers are now just 29 percent behind the boom times.

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In a brand-by-brand look at the March sales figures, Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner nameplate once again led the field, selling 5,023 trucks, a 12.8 percent slip from a very strong February and a 0.8 percent improvement from the year before. DTNA’s Western Star nameplate tallied 182 Class 8 sales in March, down two trucks from the previous month and up 48 percent from the year before.

Navistar in March sold 2,628 International brand trucks, up 17.4 percent from the previous month, and up 27.3 percent from March 2011.

For the Paccar Inc. brands, Peterbilt sold 2,340 trucks (up 15 percent from February, up 74 percent from March 2011) while Kenworth sold 2,396 trucks (down 1.7 percent from February, up 59 percent from March 2011).

Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks Inc. was up 33.8 percent from the previous month on 1,365 trucks sold in March (up 40.3 percent from the year before), while the Volvo brand was up 115.3 percent for the month, on 2,915 trucks sold (up 76.3 percent from March 2011).

Month-to-month numbers, it should be noted, can vary greatly — especially between quarters or from year’s end — depending on an OEM’s sales incentives and reporting procedures, or more recently, supplier shortages and production line issues.

The U.S. market share pie chart for the first three months of 2012 shows Freightliner with a 32.7 percent slice of Class 8, topping International’s 19.4 percent. Kenworth’s share for the year so far is 14.6 percent, followed by Peterbilt at 13.7. Volvo 10.7 holds percent and Mack 7.7 percent of Class 8 sales.

Just a quarter into the year, Kenworth and Peterbilt have posted the big market share gains, improving by 3.4 percentage points and 2.7 percentage points, respectively. Those gains come at the expense of Freightliner, which has lost 5 percentage points of market share, compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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