Commercial truck sales start off strong in 2005

Sales of the types of trucks typically used for commercial applications were up sharply in January, according to figures compiled by Ward's Communications.

Trucks with gross vehicle weight ratings greater than 10,000 pounds were up 34% compared with those of January 2004. Truck dealers combined to sell 44,821 trucks in Classes 3-8 during the month, compared with 33,385 that were sold in January 2004.

Class 8 trucks (gross vehicle weight ratings above 33,000 pounds) led the way with a 62% increase. Sales totaled 18,257 trucks in January, compared with 11,275 a year earlier.

Class 3 trucks (GVW ratings of 10,001-14,000 pounds) also were off to a fast start. The 9,481 trucks that dealers sold during the month were up 52% from year-earlier levels. Class 7 trucks were right behind with a 47% increase. Dealers sold 7,190 Class 7 trucks during January.

Class 4 and Class 6 trucks were the only medium-duty trucks selling below year-earlier levels. Sales for these two GVW classes were down 9% and 14,%, respectively.

Total truck sales were off slightly, the result of moderate declines in the sales of consumer-oriented pickups, vans, and SUVs that comprise Classes 1 and 2. Retail sales of Class 1 trucks totaled 411,572 in January, down 7% from a year earlier. Dealers sold 153,201 Class 2 trucks during the same period, down 15%.

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