2014 heavy-duty truck sales finish strong, close at 8-year high

The order books are closed and North American truck makers can look back on 2014 as a very good year – the best in fact, since the record sales total back in 2006 when diesel still had sulfur and the economy had yet to crash.

With December’s tally, U.S. Class 8 truck deliveries rolled up 220,405 units last year, according to WardsAuto. The strong finish was aided by sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks that climbed 12.9% in December to 42,110 units. 

For the year, Class 4-8 OEMs sold 406,747 units. That amounts to a year-over-year increase of 15.6% and the highest total since the 544,581 delivered in 2006, as shown by the WardsAuto data.

Looking ahead at this year’s order activity, ACT Research has cited December as indicative of “healthy” demand for trucks. The research and forecasting firm’s preliminary data shows that 65,700 total North American (N.A.) Class 5-8 orders were booked for the month – that’s a 41% increase from the year before.

“As has been the case throughout 2014,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst, “the strength in order activity is symptomatic of converging trends that are favorable to demand – including stronger economic activity, lingering pent-up demand, sizeable fuel economy gains and rising carrier profitability."

And research and forecasting firm FTR posted similar numbers, noting “December’s order strength, unlike the previous two months, was broad-based among OEMs, with almost all manufacturers showing healthy increases from the previous month,” which would indicate “an overall vibrant truck market.”
In the detailed report, WardsAuto data also showed that Class 8 deliveries climbed 14.1% in December on sales of 23,379 units vs. 19,695 a year ago.

As for the medium-duty segments:

  • Class 7 deliveries rose 19.2% on unit sales of 5,297 vs. 4,272 in December 2013
  • Class 6 deliveries gained 14.7% for the month on unit sales of 4,733
  • Class 5 deliveries went up 5.6% in December
  • Class 4 deliveries increased 5.8% for the month

For additional detail, have a look at a related analysis at Fleet Owner.

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