Sales of Class 8 trucks surge in April

Sales of new Class 8 trucks in April 2003 were 39.8% higher than in March, according to data compiled by Ward's Communications. The 12,315 Class 8s sold in April were also 3.6% more than were sold in April 2002.

Trucking analyst Martin Labbe of Ormond Beach FL-based Martin Labbe Associates said it appears Class 8 sales will show steady improvement and, with the exception of 2002's pre-buy bubble, trend up through the year.

Labbe said 2002's sales lag had to do with uncertainty of EPA '02-compliant engines that hit the market in October, the lack of deals on trucks, and inconsistent messages about the economy. With the varying messages, many fleets decided to hold off on new equipment purchases, Labbe said.

“Fleets themselves made the decision to extend their trade cycles, but they can't extend their equipment anymore,” Labbe said. “But now they're seeing that the new engines are working, so they're making their move.”

Labbe added that low financing and dealer incentives are also encouraging fleets to replenish equipment.

Mack plant hits 2,000 mark — The 2,000th Mack highway vehicle rolled off the line at the New River Valley Mack Truck Inc assembly facility May 19, the truck maker announced. The vehicle is a Vision DayCab produced for R & L Carriers, based in Wilmington OH. This milestone at the Dublin VA plant comes six months after Mack ended production of CH and Vision highway models at its facility in Winnsboro SC. The last Mack came off the line November 8 in Winnsboro, and the plant was closed November 15.

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