Commercial truck sales remain steady; optimism grows

Mar 21, 2013

As the work truck industry continues its recovery, figures compiled by Wards Communications indicate that retail sales of Class 3-8 trucks were relatively unchanged in February, while sales of light-duty models grew moderately.

Retail sales for trucks below 10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight (GVWR) posted healthy gains for the month, with overall retail sales of trucks 13% above January 2013 and 7% ahead of February 2012. Year-over-year sales of Class 1 trucks (medium-size pickups, such as Toyota Tacoma) increased by 6%, while Class 2 trucks (e.g., Ram 1500, Ford F-150) rose 15%

Sales of trucks rated above 10,000 lbs. (including Class 3 models such as GMC Sierra 3500) GVWR climbed 3% from January to February 2013, but fell 3% from February 2012. Class 6 trucks fared the best, up 24% from a year ago.

In addition, an NTEA Member Survey involving nearly 200 distributor and manufacturer members specified that the respondents have higher expectations for the industry in 2013. Nearly 75% of respondents reported having higher sales for 2012 than in 2011 with only 13% citing a decrease.

Fifty-nine percent of survey participants believe business “will improve for the remainder of the year” (compared to only 37% in July 2012); 35% think it will remain the same; and 6% predict a decline. However, 85% of members forecast that overall economic conditions will be a challenge to business improvement.