U.S. sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks rose 5.6% in February compared with year-ago, as deliveries hit 26,207 units, WardsAuto data shows.
In Class 8, nearly all brands enjoyed double-digit gains as sales jumped 11.2% to 13,949 units, compared with 12,546 year-ago. Daimler’s Western Star led all brands, posting a 93.8% gain. PACCAR’s Kenworth and Peterbilt brands also posted solid gains of 19.0% and 26.6%, respectively. Segment leader Freightliner sales increased a mere 0.6%, the worst performance among Class 8 as its market share slid from 43.1% to 39.0%. Through 2 months, overall sales were up 9.3% on volume of 28,095 units vs. 25,704 in 2013.
Overall medium-duty deliveries were almost flat as Classes 4 and 5 posted gains while Classes 6 and 7 sales dipped.
Class 7 deliveries fell 3.3% for the month, largely due to a 33.9% loss by International and a smaller decline of 14.8% for Hino. Kenworth rose 46.5% and Peterbilt gained 13.1% while Class leader Freightliner was up 4.2% on sales of 1,728.
In Class 6, Freightliner recaptured the sales lead from Ford with deliveries of 1,779 units, for a 43.9% share against Ford’s 22.5%. Kenworth deliveries rose 22.2% while Peterbilt posted a 50.0% gain. Overall Class 6 was down, however, due to a 22.2% loss by International. Sales were down 2.3% for the year with top sellers Freightliner and International down 14.7% and 20.8%, respectively.
Class 5 deliveries were flat from prior-year as Ford continued to dominate the segment with sales of 2,998 units, a 72.3% share. Chrysler deliveries climbed 25.4% and notched a 12.3% share on continued strong sales of its Dodge Ram Cab Chassis. Isuzu posted sales of 336 units, good for a 30.2% gain, but was a distant third with an 8.1% share.
February Class 4 sales soared 42.1%, by far the best-performing segment. Class leader Isuzu’s import models were up 66.8% while its domestic line posted a 54.8% gain.
Class 8 had a 58 days’ supply at the end of February, compared with 62 year-ago. However, inventory rose slightly to 33,572 units from 32,620. There was an 87 days’ supply of medium-duty trucks, up from 70 prior-year as the month’s unit inventory rose to 44,458 from 35,955.
In other big-truck news: The amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry fell 2.8% in January from December, declining for the second consecutive month, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Freight Transportation Services Index released Wednesday.
Despite the drop, January freight shipments were up 1.3% from year-ago while the level of freight shipments in January 2014 was just 3.5% below the all-time high of 117.6 in November 2013.