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March 13, 2019 12:30 PM, EDT

Medium-Duty Sales Dip in 'Noisy' Market

Medium-Duty Sales Fuso eCanter (Daimler AG)

Sales of medium-duty vehicles in February dipped 3.6% from a year earlier amid a steeper decline in sales of the lightest trucks, WardsAuto.com reported.

Sales fell to 16,907 units compared with 17,543 in the 2018 period.

“This tends to be a noisy market. You have some interesting dynamics when you start looking at the big lease/rental companies and the difference in culminating a sale can cause that sort of consternation,” Steve Tam, vice president of ACT Research Co., told Transport Topics.

At the same time, year-to-date sales improved 3.8% to 35,061.

“The longer term comparison pans out very much with what we are expecting, about 2.5% growth for the year. As has been the case for nearly a decade, there is a very moderate, but also sustainable, growth trajectory in the medium-duty market,” reflecting the underlying macroeconomic factors, Tam said.

Medium-Duty Sales

Class 7 sales climbed 4.9% to 4,627 year over year — led, respectively, by sales of the Freightliner, International and Peterbilt brands.

Freightliner is a unit of Daimler Trucks North America. International Truck is a unit of Navistar Inc. Peterbilt’s parent company is Paccar Inc.

Class 6 inched up 1.7% to 5,917 trucks. International sold the most, 1,946. It was followed by Freightliner with 1,873 and Ford Motor Co. with 1,116.

Medium-Duty Sales

Classes 4-5 dropped to 6,363 units. That was down 13% compared with the 2018 period.

International Truck launched its new Classes 4-5 truck, the International CV Series, in November. The CV essentially is the same truck as one Navistar is building for GM’s Silverado lineup. During a recent earnings call, Navistar Chairman and CEO Troy Clarke said the company is targeting building 15,000 to 20,000 units this year. And GM “will have the lion’s share of that.”

For all of 2018, Classes 4-5 sales reached 101,849.

Medium-Duty Sales

In related news, Penske Truck Leasing is adding Fuso eCanter battery-electric work trucks to its logistics, leasing and rental fleets.

Penske will initially take delivery of four Fuso eCanter battery-electric work trucks for use in California.

“With an initial estimated range of up to 80 miles and a fast-charging option, the eCanter is a viable option for fleets seeking to reduce tailpipe emissions and noise pollution in urban delivery settings,” Brian Hard, CEO of Penske Truck Leasing, said in a release.

Fuso, a unit of Daimler AG, reported it offers a lineup of diesel, gas and all-electric powertrains in the Classes 3-5 segments.