Heavy-duty truck sales in February ticked upward from January, and showed a robust improvement from the year before.
According to figures provided to The Trucker by Ward’s Automotive, February Class 8 sales totaled 7,427 trucks in the United States, up from 7,387 trucks in January. More impressive was the year-over-improvement, jumping 19.1 percent compared to February 2009 — the largest such gain since May 2006, in the heart of the record setting industry boom.
Of course, the comparisons for 2010 versus 2009 should be put in perspective: last year was the worst for big trucks on Ward’s books going to be 1985. Indeed, other than in 2009, fewer trucks were sold last month than in any February since 1992.
However, improving trends in the economy and the onset of capacity tightening in the truckload sector continue to point to stronger demand for commercial vehicles late in 2010 and into 2011, according to market analyst ACT Research Co.
In the latest release of its North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT continues to project Class 8 vehicle production will grow 19 percent year-over-year in the second half of 2010 before ramping up significantly to 77 percent growth in 2011.
“The sequence of events required to put commercial vehicle production on more solid footing continues to advance as expected,” said John Burton, vice president-transportation sector with ACT Research. “Our trucking surveys are showing improving trends in volumes and pricing and our used truck analysis has shown modestly firming values for several months. All indications point to capacity tightening in the truckload sector by mid-year, which will drive improved profitability and lead to replacing an aging fleet.”
In a brand-by-brand look at the most recent figures, Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner nameplate led the Class 8 field, selling 2,485 trucks in February, up 10.2 percent from the previous month, and up a whopping 86.1 percent from February 2009.
Navistar sold 1,950 International brand trucks, a 11 percent decline from January but a 12.8 percent increase from the year before.
PACCAR nameplates Peterbilt and Kenworth, respectively, sold 882 trucks (up 3.8 percent, and 5.4 percent from 2009) and 731 trucks (up 0.6 percent from January, down 5.7 percent from 2009).
Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks Inc. was down 4.7 percent from the previous month on 527 trucks sold in February, but up 16.3 percent from the year before, while Volvo Trucks North America was up 12.5 percent compared to January and 1.5 percent compared to 2009, with 756 trucks sold.
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.
The U.S. market share pie chart only two months into the year shows Freightliner as the top selling brand with a 32 percent slice of Class 8, followed by International (28 percent). Peterbilt’s share is 11.7 percent and Kenworth holds 9.8 percent, followed by Volvo (9.6 percent) and Mack (7.3 percent).
Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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