Numbers begin to favor strong 2014 in truck sales

Jason Cannon

May 28, 2014

As the sun set on 2013, most industry expects projected truck sales for this year to be mostly flat to the year before. A more optimistic group forecast a 5-10 percent growth.

After more than a full quarter into the calendar year, it looks like those expectations will be met…by fall.

During a OEM panel discussion at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, Calif. earlier this month, each major North American truck maker said they were nearly “sold out” of available truck inventory. This week, Cleveland Research bumped its North American build forecast for heavy trucks by 10,000 units on the heels of strong demand to-date.

Even more good news is readily available in the IHS Automotive Quarterly Commercial Vehicle Report. Data shows new commercial vehicle registrations for GVW 3-8 vehicles for the first quarter of the 2014 calendar year were 143,245 units and represented an increase of 8.3 percent over the 132,272 units registered during the first quarter of the 2013 calendar year.  Total growth came across almost all classes of trucks. The lowest year-over-year increases were Class 3 (7.5 percent) and Class 7 (2 percent) vehicles. The largest year-over-year increases were Class 4 (14.5 percent) and Class 8 (9.2 percent) vehicles. 

The best news came for Volvo, who posted the highest increase in new registration in Class 8 versus the first quarter of the 2013 calendar year, up 27.4 percent and capturing an additional 1.6 share points.

IHS notes that since the 2006 calendar year, new registrations during the first quarter of a calendar year have accounted for 23-25 percent of full calendar year registrations. Performance in the first quarter of the 2014 calendar year suggest registrations for all of 2014 could fall between 572,000-621,000 units in classes 3-8.

It’s still way too early to throw your dealership on cruise control and ride the high tide off into the sunset. However, better times are ahead, and living in the now isn’t quite as thin as it was 20-or-so months ago.

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