The medium-duty truck market continues to grow, in part, because of strong economic conditions in the construction and manufacturing markets, according to Rob Garcia, Corcentric senior vice president of supply management, who spoke at a recent NationaLease meeting.
The market is diverse and does not rely on any one major segment to drive volume. A slowdown in one part of the market served by medium-duty trucks does not necessarily translate into a reduction in volume because another segment could be experiencing growth.
Population growth and concentration in urban areas will continue to fuel medium-duty sales. The evolution of the retail environment from brick and mortar to last-mile is another factor that will influence medium-duty sales.
Statistics are showing a decrease in the average length of haul as many companies are trying to get products closer to their end-user customers and are building more regional PDCs in order to facilitate next day and even same day delivery.
The medium-duty market is a good fit for vehicles with electric powertrains as those vehicles tend to return to base every day. Charging infrastructure can be developed at the fleet location so these trucks can plug and recharge overnight.
Battery technology is improving and batteries are becoming smaller, lighter and able to run longer. This addresses the main concerns fleets have with commercial battery electric vehicles. And I suspect we will continue to see developments and improvements in battery technology.
In addition, truck makers are offering both cab-over and conventional cab chassis and vans to meet customer needs.
The one dark note in the medium-duty market is that order-to-delivery times are long and body companies and other component suppliers are also stretched.
The market should continue to be strong if the trends driving its growth continue.