Class 6 Work Truck Sales Trending Up
Entering the second quarter of 2014, the work truck industry continued trending upward at a growth rate well ahead of the forecast. March sales of commercial (box-off) truck chassis in the U.S./Mexico increased 31.6 percent as compared to March 2013 and also exceeded results from February 2014, according to the "NTEA OEM Monthly Chassis Report." In fact, sales were near the level reached during the recent peak in December 2013. With 31,256 units sold, this marks only the second month since 2007 that sales have exceeded 31,000 units.
The sharp decline in January and February sales, followed by the increase in March, is roughly in line with the weather-related sales pattern that is evident in the U.S. economy during this three-month period.
According to the NTEA, in the NAFTA nonconventional truck chassis market, March shipments and sales reached new cyclical peaks.
Shipments climbed to about 17,000 units because of a huge increase in cutaways, as the OEMs made up for low production levels in the second half of 2013. Cutaway shipments registered 10,416 units in March 2014 — the highest level in this segment since March 2004. This growth in nonconventional sales was the result of a roughly 2,300-unit increase in the strip and cutaway market segments, along with an approximately 500-unit increase in low cab-over-engine (LCOE) sales, as compared to the previous month.
Commercial truck chassis sales grew substantially in March in the U.S./Mexico market. By cab type, sales increased across the board. Strip chassis sales grew the fastest, at a rate of almost 120% as compared to March 2013. This spike pushed the cumulative rate of growth for the first quarter up to 19.7 percent, putting the industry well ahead of forecasts for the year.
Only Class 2 sales declined in March 2014 as compared to March 2013. With the exception of Class 7, the remaining weight class segments registered growth rates of more than 25 percent. Notably, the Class 6 sales level of 6,405 units was the highest number of units sold since October 2006.