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February 14, 2018 1:30 PM, EST
Medium-Duty Sales Build on 2017 Gains, Surpass 16,000 in January
Kenworth Class 6 K270 cabover trucks Kenworth Class 6 K270 cabover trucks (TruckPR/Flickr)

U.S. retail sales of medium-duty trucks in January surpassed 16,000 units, up 9.9% from a year earlier, WardsAuto.com reported.

The report comes amid forecasts from engine maker Cummins Inc. that the 2018 market would improve compared with 2017.

Wards said sales in Classes 4-7 vehicles were 16,246 compared with 14,782 a year earlier.

“Medium-duty sales are continuing to build on the momentum in most, if not all, of 2017,” ACT Research Co. Vice President Steve Tam said.

Sales climbed in all classes compared with the 2017 period.

January 2018 Class 7 sales chart

Class 7 improved the most, up 16.2%, to 4,578. Freightliner claimed a 51% market share, selling 2,333 trucks. Freightliner is a brand of Daimler Trucks North America.

International, a unit of Navistar International Corp., sold 1,030, good for a 22% share.

Peterbilt Motors Co. sold 614, up from 349 Class 7 trucks a year earlier.

Peterbilt is a unit of Paccar Inc., whose total Class 7 sales reached 927, when including its other brand, Kenworth Truck Co.

Ford Motor Co. with 173 sales, and Toyota Group’s Hino Trucks with 115, rounded out the Class 7 segment.

Looking ahead to 2019, Hino plans to introduce a line of Class 7 trucks with its 9-liter engine built at its new assembly plant in West Virginia.

Class 6 sales rose 10.7% to 5,518; Freightliner accounted for 2,279 of them.

January 2018 Class 6 sales chartInternational and Ford battled for the second spot, with International selling 1,335 and Ford 1,199. Hino sold 457.

Classes 4-5 sales climbed 5% to 6,150.

Ford earned a 63% market share in the combined segment of lighter trucks, selling 3,872.

Ford’s combined share included 3,556 Class 5 trucks. FCA’s Dodge Ram brand was next in Class 5 with 907. (FCA is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.)

In the crowded Class 4 market, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. led with 501.

Ford sold 316, Freightliner 222, General Motors Chevrolet LCF model sold 79, Hino sold 49 and DTNA’s Mitsubishi Fuso brand 19.

January 2018 Classes 4-5 sales chartIn related news, engine maker Cummins Inc. forecast sales in the North American medium-duty markets it participates in, primarily Classes 6-7, will grow to 124,000 units, up 5% compared with 2017. The company projected its engine market share would be 72-75%.

However, Tam said Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins was expecting some share erosion from truck makers expanding their vertical integration of proprietary powertrains.

Also, ACT said orders for Classes 5-7 in January were 31,700 units — the best month since July 2006 and the third-best month on record.