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September 16, 2019 2:30 PM, EDT

Medium-Duty Sales in August Improve Again

Ford 2021 F-650 and F-750Ford’s F-650 and F-750 offer a gasoline option. (Ford Motor Co.)

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U.S. retail sales of medium-duty trucks in August continued to climb, WardsAuto.com reported. Others concurred, saying the new trucks are leaving faster and are adding to a growing inventory.

Sales hit 23,154, up 8.3% compared with 21,370 a year earlier, according to Wards.

Year-to-date sales were up 6.5% to 70,020 compared with 66,721 a year earlier.

International logo on truck

Navistar International Corp. reported its International truck brand increased its market share in Class 6 through Class 7 to 26.8% compared with 21.9% a year earlier. (Associated Press)

“The medium-duty market is pretty well realigned with the reality of our world today, taking into account that demand really hasn’t fallen off,” said ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam.

“It is a highly consumer-centric market.”

At the same time, the medium-duty build rate is accelerating — the backlog falling and inventories are rising, according to ACT, which tracks Class 5 through Class 7 data.

ACT forecast Class 5 through Class 7 production in 2019 will hit 213,000 units, the highest in 10 years, before slipping to 199,000 in 2020, which would be the third-highest in the past decade, trailing only this year and 2018.

Meanwhile, Class 7 sales in August increased 1.5% to 7,012 compared with a year earlier.

Class 6 jumped 8% to 5,931 compared with 5,490 a year earlier.

Class 4 through Class 5 sales rose the most, climbing 13.8% to 10,211.

Navistar International Corp. reported its International truck brand increased its market share in Class 6 through Class 7 to 26.8% compared with 21.9% a year earlier.

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“It’s an area of traditional strength for us that we’ve built a lot on in the last couple of years and we’ll continue to do that,” Troy Clarke, chairman and CEO of Navistar, said during a fiscal year third-quarter earnings conference call.

International sold a leading 4,551 Class 6 through Class 7 trucks in August. Daimler Trucks North America was next, selling 4,041. Ford Motor Co. sold the third-highest volume, 1,682.

Clarke said that 50% of the medium-duty trucks are bought by the two largest rental or leasing companies — Ryder System Inc. and Penske Truck Leasing Corp.

Class 6 through Class 7 sales also included “greater gasoline units where Navistar does not participate,” he said.

ACT said for Class 6 through Class 7, gasoline was “the current metric of interest” and is gaining share.

Ford’s F-650 and F-750 offer a gasoline option. The 6.7L Power Stroke Turbo Diesel V8 and the 6.8L Triton gas V10 are designed by Ford and paired with the Ford TorqShift HD 6-speed automatic transmission.