U.S. Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Still Trail Year-Ago

U.S. Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Sales Still Trail Year-Ago

U.S. Class 8 sales rose 13.5% in September, the third straight month of year-over-year gains.

Up 7.1% in September, U.S. big-truck sales grew to 36,057 units compared with 2016’s 32,357. With four straight months of year-over-year gains, total sales through the third quarter are slowly approaching last year’s number (304,994) but falling 1.7% short with 299,682 deliveries.

Class 8 helped narrow that gap with a 13.5% jump in sales to 17,667 units. Truck makers continue to try to make up for the losses experienced in the first six months of the year, since it wasn’t until July when sales in Class 8 finally started to grow.

Volvo Truck, one of the only truck makers in this group to underperform, came in 11.5% below prior year with its Mack and Volvo brands dropping 8.1% and 14.5%, respectively. Kenworth (-7.4%) also declined in sales, but sister brand, Peterbilt, made up with a 16.3% jump, leaving parent company PACCAR with an overall gain of 3.0%. Group leader Daimler led the way with 43.4% market share and 7,665 deliveries, a 34.9% boost gained from Freightliner (+35.9%) and Western Star (+19.3%). International also put up positive numbers, a 19.3% increase to 1,995 units.

U.S. medium-duty truck sales grew a modest 1.7% to 18,390 units. Large gains from Classes 4 and 5 kept the year-to-date total 6.2% ahead of last year with 165,201 deliveries.

Class 7 sales fared the worst among all segments, with a 12.2% dive to 5,226 units. International was the main downward force, as sales slipped 28.2%, losing 7.1 percentage points in market share. Ford was the only maker to gain in this segment, growing 3.9%.

Sales in Class 6 fell 5.4% on mixed results. Volume-leader Freightliner inched up 1.9% while runner-up, Ford plummeted 22.6%. Peterbilt was in the red, down 63.4%, but accounted for only 0.2% of the segment. Kenworth reversed the negative impact on PACCAR’s total, gaining 30.0% and bringing the parent company’s sales up 21.0% overall.

With domestics up 11.3% and imports, 14.9%, sales in Class 5 grew 11.7% to 7,105 units. Accounting for only 0.1% of the segment, International was the only truck maker to fall short, down 82.1%. Ford rose 10.9% in sales with 66.7% market share. Runner-up FCA grew 6.9%, and taking up 16.8% market share.

Class 4 enjoyed the best performance in September, up 51.8% on sales of 1,585 units. Triple-digit gains were posted by GM’s domestic line (+684.0%) and Mitsubishi Fuso (335.2%). Ford also increased its share of the segment with a 125.2% sales jump, good for a 16.0% stake of the segment. Continuing the streak since May, Class 4 sales have seen large year-over-year gains, resulting in a 31.0% gap through the third quarter with 13,495 deliveries compared to prior year’s 10,300.

Class 8 inventory at the end of September hit 40,501, resulting in 60 days’ supply, down from last year’s 68. Medium-duty truck makers ended the month with 59,526 units in stock, an 84 days’ supply, above like-2016’s 80.

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