According to WardsAuto.com OEMs sold a total of 252,792 Class 8 trucks in 2005, 24% more volume than the 203,197 sold in 2004-- marking the conclusion to a very good year.
Class 8 heavy-duty truck retail sales in December alone rose 12% to 23,265 compared with November.
A Ward’s data manager told FleetOwner that December is typically a very brisk month for truck sales.
Strong December and full-year sales were driven mainly by solid freight demand and motor carrier profits.
“The economy has been good and manufacturers have ramped up to high production levels to meet the demand and that caused [truck retail sales] to be strong,” Martin Pasek, Volvo Trucks North America manager of production and economic forecasting told FleetOwner, adding that the manufacturing sector is a key source of freight. “Freight and profits by the carriers have also been strong.”
However, there are also strong indications that December sales were given an extra boost from trucking companies beginning to purchase 2006 model trucks to avoid the price premiums associated with the upcoming 2007 models, which will meet new EPA emissions standards—a purchase pattern known as prebuy.
“We’re just starting to see a prebuy,” Pasek said. “They’re starting to be ordered now but not scheduled to be delivered until the second half of the year.”
When prebuying, heavy truck buyers typically request to have their equipment delivered in the second half of the year to extend the useful life of their pre-’07 trucks as long as possible. As a result, orders are filling backwards.
“[This is occurring] Faster than usual— faster than a normal year, definitely,” Pasek said. “There’s not a lot of open slots for ‘06 in general. If someone wants a truck in ‘06 they need to get going. In five to six months the year could actually be filled. We normally don’t fill up until September or October.”
To see previous coverage, read Class 8 OEMs gear up for a great year.