TORONTO — Heavy-duty truck sales have set a blistering pace thus far in 2012, with all weight classes posting double-digit YTD gains over Q1 2011. But don't expect it to continue. According to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, relative to 2011, sales of heavy duty trucks (classes 5 through 8) were up 48.4 percent in Q1 2012.
A total of 10,147 units were sold through March compared to 6,836 units during the same period last year. Sales improvements were seen in all weight classes and among most brands, but the biggest improvements were seen in the Class 8 arena. Class 8 sales rose 56.5 percent during 1Q 2012, growing from 4,535 units in Q1 2011 to 7,098 units during the first three months of this year.
All players saw volume improvements; Kenworth (+94.2 percent), Peterbilt (88.7 percent) and Mack (+72.9 percent) posted the biggest gains, followed by Western Star (+67.3 percent), Volvo (+52.4percent ), Freightliner (+44.8 percent) and Navistar/International (+18.8%). Stateside, class 8 sales were brisk but they didn't match their Canadian counterparts.
U.S. sales in the heaviest and most popular weight class were up 46.6 percent during Q1 2012, with all brands showing considerable improvement over 2011. Sales in lower weight classes were similarly strong in both countries. Markets for class 5 (+26.8 percent Canada; +30.3 percent U.S.), class 6 (+14.6 percent Canada; +12.4 percent U.S.) and class 7 (+58.2 percent Canada; +14.0 percent U.S.) trucks all grew well during the first months of 2012.
The overall U.S. market for heavy duty trucks improved by 33.3 percent relative to Q1 2011, with 81,473 units sold this year versus 61,113 units in 2011.According to a statement from DesRosiers, some industry observers believe the present sales surge may be short-lived.
Some in the OEM and dealer communities are beginning to report above-average rates of order reduction and/or cancellation during the purchase delivery period. Also, the Harper Government announced in April it will match new EPA standards regulating the GHG emissions of heavy-duty trucks that are set to begin a phase-in period in 2014 and will extend through full implementation of the regulations in 2018.
Past-regulatory deadlines have often been preceded by heavy-duty sales spikes as purchasers try to avoid the extra costs associated with regulatory compliance.
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