Commercial Truck Sales Up but Class 8 Down as Large Fleets Cut Back

Medi­um duty com­mer­cial trucks have seen sales gains in 2013, but heavy duty Class 8 vehi­cles have been down, accord­ing to Polk’s most recent data. Total new com­mer­cial vehi­cle (Class 3–8) were 379,000 units through the first eight months of 2013, up 2% from 371,700 – up in all seg­ments except for Class 8, wich were down 8.5% dur­ing the eight-month peri­od com­pared to the pre­vi­ous cal­en­dar year.

“While the out­look for the year start­ed with a sig­nif­i­cant amount of opti­mism by most, it now appears that the 2013 cal­en­dar year new reg­is­tra­tions will be only slight­ly bet­ter than the 2012 cal­en­dar year,” said Gary Meteer, direc­tor, after­mar­ket and com­mer­cial vehi­cle solu­tions at Polk.

Large fleets have been down in acqui­si­tions this year. Fleets oper­at­ing more than 500 vehi­cles were down 17.8% in Class 8 pur­chas­es dur­ing that time peri­od. Small fleets – oper­at­ing five or few­er units – account­ed for 11.7% of new Class 8 vehi­cles this year. That’s an increase by 20.5% dur­ing the first eight months of 2013.

There are still quite a few old­er trucks on US high­ways, which has cre­at­ed a robust mar­ket for com­mer­cial parts and ser­vice. There are more than 11.7 mil­lion Class 3–8 vehi­cles oper­at­ing on US high­ways. Near­ly 38% of them were built pri­or to the 2000 mod­el year. The trucks range in num­bers from a high of 46.6% in Class 6 to a low of 30.8% of the old­er mod­els in Class 5.

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