RENTON, WA. Asked to forecast truck sales for 2016, Kenworth Truck general manager and Paccar vice president Preston Feight pointed out that current high Class 8 numbers in the U.S. and Canada would be hard to exceed. Citing recent Paccar estimates of 2015 industry sales totals at 270,000 to 290,000 units, Feight said: “With sales at such high levels, I don’t know where we can go from here.”
Without offering a number for 2016, Freight said he expects Class 8 sales to be “solid” as both general economic and industry-specify indicators are all positive except for continuing driver shortages. “People are doing well and freight will need to be hauled, so customers will continue to buy trucks.”
Surpassing current levels by any significant amount would put Class 8 sales near the record numbers seen in 2006, “which seems a bit unrealistic,” he said. Sales that year were driven by strong pre-buy pressure to avoid the cost and complexity of new emissions systems arriving in 2007. There are no similar pre-buy pressures on the horizon, and current sales reflect more organic drivers such as the need to replace an aged fleet with significantly more fuel efficient models.
As for Kenworth’s performance in the strong Class 8 market, Feight said it had increased its Class 8 market share from 12.15 in 2010 to 14.7% this year. Its new T680 and T880 models, introduced in 2012 and 2013, respectively, now account for 75% of the company’s production, and its proprietary Paccar MX-13 engine is now installed in 40% of its trucks.
Early next month, Kenworth will expand the T680 model line up with a 76-in. mid-roof model intended for tanker and flatbed applications. A second proprietary engine — the MX-11 — is also scheduled for introduction in the first quarter of 2016.