TRUCK sales were down 4% in July compared to a year ago, with a 6% increase in Class 2 nearly offsetting a 14% decrease in Classes 3-8, according to figures compiled by Ward’s Communications.

Total sales were 627,423 in July, compared to 652,739 a year ago. Class 2 showed a 6% increase over a year ago (198,303, compared to 187, 565), but the biggest increase came in Class 4: 11% (3,587, compared to 3,227) after a 16% decrease in June. For the year to date, sales are up 5%, making Class 4 the only one to show an increase.

Sales in Class 6 and 7 rebounded modestly in July, but not enough to change the steep year-to-date decline.

July sales in Class 6 were 3,389 compared to 4,798 a year ago, representing a 29% decline – an improvement over the 42% decline in June. The year-to-date decline, however, remained at 28%, the highest figure of the year.

In Class 7, the picture was slightly better. Sales were 7,374 compared to 9,040 – a decline of 18%, an improvement over the 28% decline in June. For the year, sales were down 24%, an improvement of just 1% in the past month.

In Class 6, the year started out with a 17% decline in January, 16% in February, 32% in March, 35% in April, and 16% in May. In Class 7, it went from a 12% decline in January to 32% in February, 23% in March, 33% in April and 19% in May. In the year-to-date classification for Class 6, June is the low-water point. In Class 7, the low point was 26% in April.

The picture is even bleaker in Class 8. Sales were 11,184 in July compared to 17,504 a year ago – a drop of 36%. After a 47% decline in March, it was 37% in April, 35% in May, and 41% in June. For the year, they’re down 39%.

In Class 3, shipments were down 17% (7,261 from 8,800). In Class 5, they were down just 2% (2,028 from 2,068) after plunging 32% in June.

The year-to-date losses had grown each month in Class 3, from 11% in January to 18% in February, 20% in March, 21% in April and May, but the less severe drop in June put the year-to-date decrease at 20%, where it stayed in July.

In Class 5, the modest decline put the year-to-date decline at 16%, compared to 18% a month ago.

In Class 1, shipments were 394,297 in July, compared to 419,737 a year ago, representing a 6% decrease after a 5% increase in June. For the year, the decline remained at 5%. The year’s low point came with a 14% decline in February that dropped the year-to-date to a 10% loss.

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