By Dan Leone, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Dec. 20 27 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
A total of 22,902 medium-duty trucks were sold in the United States during November, a year-over-year increase of 30.4% that was again propelled by Classes 3 and 5, WardsAuto.com reported.
The increase marked the 12th consecutive month in which sales of Class 3-7 trucks exceeded year-ago levels, Wards said Dec. 10.
Through the first 11 months of 2010, medium-duty sales were 241,414 units â€” 25.1% more than in the comparable period of 2009.
â€œIn our own fleet weâ€™ve been adding medium-duty lease vehicles,â€� said Richard Witcher, CEO of Minuteman Trucks, a Walpole, Mass., dealership that stocks International and Ford brand trucks. Minuteman has been â€œadding some trucks to replace older trucks that were out there,â€� Witcher said.
However, Witcher noted sales of some trucks are still slumping because of continuing economic weakness in businesses â€œthat are primarily in support of the consumersâ€™ market: building homes, taking septic waste away, delivering fuel oil, that sort of thing.â€�
Wards reported that, during November, sales of Class 7 trucks were 3,193 units, or 0.4% above the same month a year ago. Year to date, Class 7 sales have contracted 3.1% to 34,630 units.
Sales of Class 6 trucks, which include the box trucks often rented to drivers not needing CDLs, slid slightly in November, dipping 0.7% below year-ago levels to 1,997 units. Despite the drop, Class 6 sales are up strongly in the 11-month period â€” 31.8% to 26,832 units, compared with the 2009 tally.
Class 3, the largest medium-duty category by volume, posted the strongest sales gain in November, rising 56.2% from November 2009 to 14,111 units. Year to date, Class 3 sales are up 44% to 141,890.
Sales of Class 4 trucks, on the other hand, fell 55.7% from last November to 565 units. That kept the combined growth rate for Classes 4 and 5 sales almost flat, despite Class 5 sales rising 47.4% for the month.
Through November, Class 4 sales were down 35.2% to 11,231 units, but Class 5 sales were up 27.1% to 26,831 vehicles.
The medium-duty market â€œcontinues to be slower than weâ€™d like to see,â€� said James Hartman, owner of Truck Enterprises in Harrisonburg, Va.
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