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U.S. Class 8 sales down slightly from March, still strong

So far in 2012, Kenworth and Peterbilt have posted the big market share gains, improving by 2.8 percentage points and 2 percentage points, respectively. Pictured is the Kenworth T700.

The Trucker Staff

5/14/2012

Heavy-duty new truck sales in April continued the year’s big gains over 2011, but the figure was the first month-to-month slip for a young 2012. Granted, March posted the second best one-month result in five years, and such a setback does not make a trend — yet.

According to figures provided to The Trucker by Ward’s Automotive, Class 8 sales were 16,905 trucks in the United States, up 38.9 percent from April 2011and down 2.3 percent from March. The year-over-year improvement was the 28th consecutive.

Year to date, 63,750 Class 8 trucks have been sold in the U.S. — a 44.5 percent improvement over the first four months of 2011. That total is 124 percent higher than the sales total for the same period in 2009, the worst year in a generation. The period 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 April sales figures, Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner nameplate once again led the field, selling 5,092 trucks, a 1.4 percent gain from March and a 52.1 percent improvement from the year before. DTNA’s Western Star nameplate tallied 163 Class 8 sales in April, down 10.4 percent from the previous month and up 8.7 percent from the year before.

Navistar in April sold 3,420 International brand trucks, up 10.8 percent from the previous month, and up 19.2 percent from April 2011.

For the Paccar Inc. brands, Peterbilt sold 2,530 trucks (up 8.1 percent from March, up 41.2 percent from April 2011) while Kenworth sold 2,644 trucks (up 10.4 percent from March, up 53.9 percent from April 2011).

Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks Inc. was up 8.4 percent from the previous month on 1,479 trucks sold in April (up 58 percent from the year before), while the Volvo brand was down 45.9 percent for the month, on 1,577 trucks sold (up 18.4 percent from April 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 four months of 2012 shows Freightliner with a 32 percent slice of Class 8, topping International’s 19.6 percent. Kenworth’s share for the year so far is 14.9 percent, followed by Peterbilt at 14 percent. Volvo 10.4 holds percent and Mack 7.9 percent of Class 8 sales.

So far in 2012, Kenworth and Peterbilt have posted the big market share gains, improving by 2.8 percentage points and 2 percentage points, respectively. Those gains come at the expense of Freightliner, which has lost 2.9 percentage points of market share, compared to its 34.9 piece through April last year.

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

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