May Class 8 Sales Up 36% from 2011, Best Total This Year

Year to date, 81,762 Class 8 trucks have been sold in the U.S. — a 42.4 percent improvement over the first five months of 2011.

Heavy-duty new truck sales in May continued the year’s big gains over 2011, posting the best total of 2012 — and the second best in five years — with all nameplates improving more than 20 percent.

According to figures provided to The Trucker by Ward’s Automotive, Class 8 sales were 18,012 trucks in the United States, up 35.5 percent from May 2011and up 6.5 percent from April. The year-over-year improvement was the 29th consecutive.

Year to date, 81,762 Class 8 trucks have been sold in the U.S. — a 42.4 percent improvement over the first five months of 2011. That total is 131 percent higher than the sales total for the same period in 2009, the worst year in a generation. The period trails the record year of 2006, but the industry has closed to gap: Truck makers are now just 29 percent behind the boom times.

In a brand-by-brand look at the May sales figures, Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner nameplate once again led the field, selling 5,529 trucks, an 8.6 percent gain from April and a 42.5 percent improvement from the year before. DTNA’s Western Star nameplate tallied 214 Class 8 sales in May, up 31.3 percent from the previous month and up 111.9 percent from the year before.

Navistar in May sold 3,337 International brand trucks, a 2.4 slip percent from the previous month, but up 26.7 percent from May 2011.

For the Paccar Inc. brands, Peterbilt sold 2,586 trucks (up 2.2 percent from April, up 33.4 percent from May 2011) while Kenworth sold 2,704 trucks (up 2.3 percent from April, up 36.7 percent from May 2011).

Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks Inc. was up 3 percent from the previous month on 1,524 trucks sold in May (up 45.6 percent from the year before), while the Volvo brand was up 34.3 percent for the month, on 2,118 trucks sold (up 23.8 percent from May 2011).

Month-to-month numbers, it should be noted, can vary greatly — especially between quarters or from year’s end — depending on an OEM’s sales incentives and reporting procedures, or more recently, supplier shortages and production line issues.

The U.S. market share pie chart for the first five months of 2012 shows Freightliner with a 31.7 percent slice of Class 8, topping International’s 19.4 percent. Kenworth’s share for the year so far is 14.9 percent, followed by Peterbilt at 14.1 percent. Volvo 10.7 holds percent and Mack 8.1 percent of Class 8 sales.

So far in 2012, Kenworth and Peterbilt have posted the big market share gains, improving by 2.2 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points, respectively. Those gains come at the expense of Freightliner, which has lost 1.8 percentage points of market share, compared to its 33.5 piece through May last year. Volvo and International each are down about 1 percentage point.