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12/24/2013 9:55:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Year in Review: Orders for Heavy-Duty Trucks Grew in Nine of First 10 Months of 2013

By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor

This story appears in the Dec. 23 & 30 print edition of Transport Topics.

Orders for heavy-duty North American trucks grew in nine of the first 10 months of the year, as industry watchers wondered when the mild slump in U.S. truck sales would end.

Finally, in September, sales did turn around.

August was the 12th straight month of sales declines measured year-over-year, but evidence that the drought had ended grew in October and November as sales increased for a second and then third month in a row, according to figures from WardsAuto.com.

Even after the three months of growth, though, 11-month sales lagged behind 2012’s pace by 6.5%.

New-truck production fell even further than sales as manufacturers drew down inventories to complete many deals.

Among other original equipment manufacturers, medium-duty U.S. truck sales grew in 10 of the year’s first 11 months, as volume in Classes 4-7 rose by 10.1% over the corresponding time in 2012, Ward’s said. The three major weight classes — 7, 6 and 4/5 combined — showed growth after 11 months.

U.S. sales of used Class 8 trucks also grew during the year. IHS Automotive’s Polk unit said registration data show that used-truck transactions increased by 7.6% over the first nine months relative to the pace from the year before.

However, trailer sales did fall, IHS said. Through three quarters, U.S. businesses registered 166,814 new trailers, or 1.6% fewer than during the same time in 2012.

The year was good for continuing technological change.

Navistar International Corp. substantially advanced its switch to selective catalytic reduction technology — the last OEM to adopt SCR after the 2010 regulatory change.

Two related court cases largely wrapped up the controversy that began in 2010. A federal appeals court said in October that a request by Daimler AG and Volvo Group to continue a dispute with EPA and Navistar over an interim nonconformance rule was moot. Recently, a federal appeals court tossed EPA’s rule that allowed Navistar to pay penalties to sell nonconforming engines.

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