Retail sales of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks topped out at 284,008 in 2006, a 12.3% boost over the 252,792 sold in 2005, according to data from WardsAuto.com. In December 2006 total sales were 26,462, a 13.7% jump over the 23,265 sold in the same month in 2005.
Stocks at the end of December totaled 53,586, a relatively steep 22% increase over the inventory of 43,883 in December 2005. This indicates that dealers bulked up on ’06 model trucks before the more expensive ’07 models, which are required to be equipped with sophisticated emissions reductions are delivered.
This week DaimlerChrysler, parent company of Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star brands, touted that its Truck Group posted record sales in 2006.
“As a result of cyclical and regulatory developments, we expect the markets in NAFTA and Japan to weaken significantly in 2007,” said Andreas Renschler, a member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management. “We expect markets to recover in 2008 because new emissions regulations will probably lead to pre-buy effects.”
DaimlerChrysler’s Truck Group said it plans to promote hybrid commercial vehicles in the North American market.
According to many estimates among OEMs and suppliers, unit sales in 2007 could drop by as much as 40% due to trucking companies revving up ’06 purchases to avoid the more expensive ’07 models as well as due to a softer economy.
To comment on this article, write to Terrence Nguyen at [email protected]