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June 14, 2022 2:01 PM, EDT

May Classes 4-7 Retail Sales Drop Below 17,000

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U.S. Classes 4-7 retail sales in May sank 16.3% compared with a year earlier to just below 17,000, Wards Intelligence reported. It was the largest year-over-year percentage decline to date in 2022.

Sales were 16,859 compared with 20,134 a year earlier, according to Wards. Year-to-date sales fell 11.8% to 87,588.

One truck maker said the priority in production has been and will continue to be heavy-duty trucks versus medium-duty, but said manufacturing pressure for both sectors is easing.

Class 6 sales chart

“We are seeing improvement with the supply base and that offers opportunities on both sides,” said Michael Dozier, senior vice president at Paccar Inc., whose two North American brands are Peterbilt Motors Co. and Kenworth Truck Co.

ACT Research noted the backlog for Classes 5-7, segments that it tracks, was near all-time highs in April, and May’s order volume in that segment “moderated.”

Compared with a year earlier, total Class 7 sales fell 30.2% to 3,489, the segment’s low point for the year.

Sales in Classes 4-5 dropped 38.2% to 7,077 compared with the 2021 period.

Class 6 sales marked the only improvement compared with the 2021 period. They soared 32% to 6,293 compared with 4,767 — possibly reflecting improvements in the supply of semiconductors, or a large customer’s order, not visible in the truck makers’ data.

class 7 sales chart

The Freightliner, Ford and International brands vied for the lead in sales in Class 6 in May — with the three of them combining for 5,082, or 80.7% of the total.

In related news, DTNA announced it is recalling certain 2023 Freightliner M2 (medium-duty) vehicles because the u-joint pinch bolt on the steering shaft may become detached, which can cause a loss of steering control, according to the company. The potential number of trucks affected is 3,578. Those trucks were produced this year between February and May.

DTNA noted vehicles will be inspected and the joint will be reinstalled correctly if needed. Daimler Truck North America authorized service facilities to make the repairs, and will reimburse truck owners for repairs made before the June 3 recall notice.

Separately, R.H. Sheppard Co. Inc. is recalling certain Sheppard Steering Gears, model numbers: HD94E, M100P, M110P, HD94P, XD120P, MD83P, SD110P, M83P, M90P and M80P. The steering gears may have been assembled incorrectly, which can cause the gear to fracture.

Class 4-5 sales chart

A potential recall population of 105,271 vehicles will be examined.

“The potential exists for medium-duty trucks built during the identified bookends (June 1, 2021, and Feb. 10, 2022) to be part of the potential recall population,” a Bendix spokesperson told Transport Topics. “We believe only a small percentage of those vehicles contains the steering gear in question, and only a small percentage of that subset contains gears with the potential defect.”

R.H. Sheppard is a subsidiary of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a unit of Knorr-Bremse.

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