LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The U.S. Class 8 new truck market surged to its highest point of the year in August with manufacturers reporting sales of 23,581 units, according to data received from Wards Intelligence.
Only once in the last five years has the month of August seen more sales. The other banner year came in 2018 when 23,913 trucks were sold.
That 2018 month was also the best August of the still-young 21st century.
Compared with July 2022, truck sales rose by 15% (3,068 units).
August 2021 sales were 18,176, meaning that sales in August this year rose by 29.7%.
One factor in the increase could be the number of build days — Monday through Friday — that fall in a given month.
In July, there were 21; in August, 23.
But two additional days can’t account for the entire increase.
Manufacturers have seemingly found solutions to the supply chain issues that have plagued production since the COVID-19 pandemic began. There are still some worries that inflation, international conflict, potential recession or even the possible U.S. freight railway strike could interrupt supply chains, but for now the assembly lines are rolling at truck manufacturers.
A large factor in the sales totals was an incredible month for Freightliner, which reported the movement of 9,783 trucks in August, an increase of 1,928 (24.5%) over July sales of 7,855.
Compared to August of last year, the increase for August 2022 was 3,137 trucks, or 47.2% over August 2021 sales of 6,646.
That impressive feat gave the manufacturer its best month since the turn of the century — and likely its best ever.
Freightliner sold 41.5% of the new Class 8 trucks sold on the U.S. market in August, up from its 2022 average of 38.2%.
Western Star, the other Daimler-owned truck manufacturer in the U.S., also saw a successful August, but on a much smaller scale. The OEM sold 604 Class 8 trucks in the month, up 9.4% from July sales of 552. Compared with 509 trucks in August 2021, sales of Western Star rose 18.7% on a year-over-year basis.
International reported sales of 2,749 in August, up 23.3% from the 2,229 sold in July.
Compared with August 2021, however, sales dropped by 118 units (4.1%).
Volvo reported selling 2,243 trucks in August, up 5.7% from July’s 2,123 — and up a whopping 88% compared to August 2021 sales of 1,193.
Volvo finished 2021 with 8.7% of the U.S. market for new Class 8 trucks. This year, that percentage has increased to 11%, even as the whole market has grown. For the year to date, Volvo has reported sales of 17,245, an increase of 35.5% over sales at the same point of 2021.
That’s the largest increase by percentage of any of the OEMs.
Volvo sibling Mack did better on a month-to-month basis.
August sales of 1,594 topped July sales of 1,295 by 23.1%. Compared with August 2021, when 1,495 trucks were sold, sales increased by 6.6%. Mack’s 6.5% share of the U.S. Class 8 market lags behind the 7.9% it enjoyed at the same point of 2021.
Peterbilt was the only manufacturer with August sales declining from July numbers. The OEM sold 3,298 in August, down 2.8% from 3,392 the prior month. Compared with August of 2021 when 2,605 Petes were sold, sales increased by 693 units or 26.6%.
Kenworth ended August with sales of 3,310, up 7.9% from July’s 3,067. Compared with August 2021, sales increased by 15.7%.
For the year to date, Kenworth sales are up 15.7% compared with Peterbilt’s 26.6% increase.
Each OEM has a market share this year of 14%, down from last year’s share at the same point.
The waiting list for new trucks is still long and order cancellations have been rare, but as long as the parts continue to flow to the assembly lines, sales should remain robust.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.