Trailer Shipments Edge Up in March

Trailer shipments moved higher in March-but not by much-according to preliminary figures published by the U S Census Bureau.

Manufacturers shipped an estimated 24,738 complete trailers during the month, up 3% from March 1999. It marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase in trailer shipments. During that period, the volume of trailer shipments increased 19%.

Despite the increase, however, manufacturers shipped the same volume of trailers during the first quarter as they did during the first three months of 1999. The industry shipped 70,031 complete trailers during the period, a mere three trailers more than in the first quarter of 1999.

In addition to the 24,738 complete trailers shipped in March, manufacturers turned out an estimated 3,533 containers and container chassis, up 77% from a year earlier, and 309 dollies and converter gear, up 10% from March 2000.

For a detailed look at first quarter performance, see table on trailer shipments.

Truck Sales Strong Retail truck sales were hot in March, based on figures compiled by Ward's Communications. A total of 806,560 trucks were sold in March, up 11% from a year earlier.

Class 1 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,000 pounds or less) exceeded the one-half million mark in March. The 515,284 Class 1 trucks sold during the month were 11% more than a year earlier, and the 1,320,035 sold during the first quarter of 2000 topped year-earlier levels by 13%.

Class 2 trucks (GVW ratings of 6,001 to 10,000 pounds) also posted double-digit gains-up 12% for the month.

Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001 to 14,000 pounds) increased 10% for March and 8% for the first quarter. Dealers sold 12,566 Class 3 trucks in March and 30,267 in the first quarter.

Class 4 trucks (GVW ratings of 14,001 to 16,000 pounds) gained 9% in March and were up 8% for the first quarter. With sales of 5,540 in March, year-to-date sales totaled 12,243 Class 4 trucks.

Class 5 trucks (GVW ratings of 16,001 to 19,500 pounds) were off 13% for the month and 16% for the quarter. Sales were 3,041 and 7,057 Class 5 trucks, respectively.

Class 6 trucks (GVW ratings of 19,501 to 26,000 pounds) were up 33% in March. The 5,228 trucks sold in the month gave dealers a quarterly total of 13,574, up 41% from a year ago.

Class 7 trucks (GVW ratings of 26,001 to 33,000 pounds) slipped 6% in March and 7% for the first quarter. Customers bought 12,089 Class 7 trucks for the month and 31,802 during the first quarter.

Class 8 trucks (GVW ratings above 33,000 pounds) edged up 5% in March and 3% for the first quarter. Dealers sold 23,578 Class 8 trucks during March and 58,654 for the first three months of 2000.

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