Class 8 sales climb eases truck slump

July offered some respite for big truck producers, as U.S. sales of medium- and heavy-duty models combined fell just 4.6%, the first month of single-digit decline since April. The month's performance was led by strong Class 8 sales, which rose 21% from year-ago on a daily rate basis (25 days this year vs. 24 in 2001) to 14,095 units. Sterling was the only brand down 3.0% to suffer a falloff, though

July offered some respite for big truck producers, as U.S. sales of medium- and heavy-duty models combined fell just 4.6%, the first month of single-digit decline since April.

The month's performance was led by strong Class 8 sales, which rose 21% from year-ago on a daily rate basis (25 days this year vs. 24 in 2001) to 14,095 units. Sterling was the only brand — down 3.0% — to suffer a falloff, though parent Freightliner Corp. saw sales rise 5.5% overall. Biggest gainers were Navistar International Transportation Corp., up 40.5%, and Paccar Inc. The surge in sales likely is related to customers wanting to beat new emissions regulations that kick in Oct. 1.

Medium-duty sales fell 21.8% for the month on a volume of 13,479 units. All four weight classes posted declines, with Class 4 the largest drop, at 33.4% and volume-leader Class 7 down 28.4%.

To date, Class 8 sales trail year-ago's pace by 5.2%, while medium-duty sales are off 20%.

Wards' U.S. New Truck Sales by Weight Class — July 2002
JULY JANUARY-JULY
Month Units Units
2002 2001 DSR % Chg 2002 2001 Vol. %Chg
Class 1 557,719 487,313 9.9% 3,551,301 3,516,718 1.0
Class 2 219,956 185,755 13.7 1,473,767 1,391,557 5.9
Class 3 6,263 7,018 -14.3 44,975 53,906 -16.6
Class 4 2,658 3,830 -33.4 23,340 34,099 -31.6
Class 5 1,939 2,028 -8.2 14,155 14,934 -5.2
Class 6 3,433 3,385 -2.6 23,354 25,113 -7.0
Class 7 5,449 7,310 -28.4 44,827 57,880 -22.6
Class 8 14,095 11,182 21.0 80,825 85,266 -5.2
Total Trucks 811,512 707,821 10.1 5,256,544 5,179,473 1.5
Source: Ward's AutoInfoBank

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