Truck sales still slumping

Despite projections of a rise in truck orders this year and an increase in truck manufacturing rates, new truck sales continue to decline compared to last year's figures. According to Ward's Communications, new Class 1-8 truck sales for the first half of 2002 declined 2% compared to the first half of 2001, dropping to 3.93 million units from 4.01 million units. Class 8 sales were down 9.9%, dropping

Despite projections of a rise in truck orders this year and an increase in truck manufacturing rates, new truck sales continue to decline compared to last year's figures.

According to Ward's Communications, new Class 1-8 truck sales for the first half of 2002 declined 2% compared to the first half of 2001, dropping to 3.93 million units from 4.01 million units.

Class 8 sales were down 9.9%, dropping to 66,730, despite predictions of an increase in pre-buy orders to avoid purchasing trucks equipped with new low-emission diesel engines after October 1.

Class 4 sales have been down through June, declining 31.7% to 20,682. Class 7 sales were off 22.3%, dropping to 39,378. Class 3 sales went down 17.4% to 38,718, Class 6 down 8.3% to 19,921 and Class 5 fell 5.3% to 12,216.

Light truck sales were mixed, with Class 1 sales, dropping 3.5 % to 2.48 million. Class 2 sales posted the only increase, rising 3.9% to 1.25 million units.

Ward's had to revise its first quarter truck sales numbers after DaimlerChrysler's Dodge unit said it had mistakenly reported Class 2 trucks in the Class 3 category. In all three months of the first quarter, Ward's noted big increases in Class 3 sales. But that data was questioned by many industry observers, especially the National Truck Equipment Assn. (NTEA).

Class 3 sales were reported to have grown in January, February and March at rates of 59.3%, 82.1% and 65.5%, respectively. Following the revision, Class 3 rates were shown to have declined by 16.9%, 18.5% and 22.6%, respectively.

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