Truck sales still strong in August, even as improvement stalls
Freightliner once again led the Class 8 field, selling 5,872 trucks in the U.S., a 9.4 percent gain over July and a 31.2 percent improvement from the year before. The total makes August Freightliner’s best month since January 2007. (The Trucker file photo)
The Trucker Staff
Heavy-duty new truck sales have recorded the best August in six years, another in a string of comparatively good reports — even as the numbers shows signs of a plateau in the industry recovery.
According to figures provided to The Trucker by Ward’s Automotive, Class 8 sales totaled 16,497 trucks in the United States, up 9.4 percent from August last year and up 76 trucks from this July.
Still, the year-over-year improvement was the 32nd consecutive, although the rate of improvement has slowed: August’s single-digit improvement is one-third the year-to-date gain, at 32.1 percent, compared to the first eight months of 2011, on 132,164 trucks sold in the U.S. this year.
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That total is 127 percent higher than the sales for the same period in 2009, the worst year in a generation. The total through August still trails the 2006 peak: Truck makers still are 29 percent behind the boom times.
In a brand-by-brand look at the August sales figures, Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner nameplate once again led the field, selling 5,872 trucks, a 9.4 percent gain over July and a 31.2 percent improvement from the year before. The total makes August Freightliner’s best month since January 2007. DTNA’s Western Star nameplate tallied 348 Class 8 sales in August, up 83.2 percent from the previous month and up 126 percent from August 2011.
Navistar in August sold 3,039 International brand trucks, a 6.8 percent slip from July and a 10.9 percent decrease from the same month last year.
For the Paccar Inc. brands, Peterbilt sold 2,038 trucks (down 11.8 percent from July, down 10.8 percent from August 2011) while Kenworth sold 2,074 trucks (up 2.8 percent from July, up 1.7 percent from August 2011).
Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks Inc. was down 11.3 percent from the previous month on 1,600 trucks sold in August (up 56.6 percent from the year before), while the Volvo brand was up 3.6 percent for the month, on 1,524 trucks sold (down 10.1 percent from August 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 eight months of 2012 shows Freightliner with a 32 percent slice of Class 8, topping International’s 19 percent. Kenworth’s share for the year so far is 14.2 percent, followed by Peterbilt at 14 percent. Volvo holds 10.5 percent and Mack 8.9 percent of Class 8 sales.
So far in 2012, Freightliner and Kenworth have posted the largest market share gains, each picking up a little more than 1 percentage point. Those gains come at the expense of International, which has lost 2.4 percentage points of market share, compared to its 21.4 percent piece through August last year.
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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