August 14, 2018 1:45 PM, EDT

Medium-Duty Sales Near 20,000 in July Amid Consumer-Sector Strength

Ford F750 truckFord F750 truck. (Ford Motor Co.)

U.S. retail sales of medium-duty trucks in July rose nearly 15% above a year earlier as all classes posted gains, reported.

Sales climbed to 19,586 compared with 17,050 a year earlier.

Year to date, sales rose to 135,823 compared with 125,797 in the same year-ago period.

Class 4-5 July sales

“The year-to-date gain of 8% was a little stronger than we expected to see things at, right now, but you do tend to see a weaker second half in the medium-duty space,” ACT Research Co. Vice President Steve Tam told Transport Topics.

ACT has forecast U.S. medium-duty sales will reach 250,000 units this year.

“It all goes back to the psyche, the consumer-related side of the business. That’s what drives the medium-duty space,” he said. “The confidence numbers are strong, spending numbers are strong. The outlook in terms of employment and wage growth too. Everything is moving in a positive direction. I think that is what’s buoying the market.”

Class 6 July sales

Also, there is some catch-up from the government and municipal fleets, Tam said, as tax revenue flows in from the housing market. “Some pent-up demand [for trucks] there is being sated.”

Class 7 sales rose 11.5% to 6,131.

The Freightliner and International brands were in a dogfight for the leading market share — with Freightliner earning a 38.6% share and International 37.2%.

Class 7 July sales

Freightliner is a brand of Daimler Trucks North America. International is a unit of Navistar Inc.

Paccar’s two brands, Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co., earned 18.4%.

Class 6 sales jumped 33.9% to 5,898 amid the typical battle for share among Ford Motor Co. with 2,005 sales, Freightliner with 1,848 and International with 1,095.

Class 4 and Class 5 combined for sales of 7,557, up 5.8% compared with the 2017 period.

In related news, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. announced it has produced the 50,000th gasoline-powered Isuzu N Series truck in Charlotte, Mich. Assembly of the truck began at Spartan Motors Inc. in April 2011. It was the first gasoline-powered low cab forward truck available in North America.

The N Series includes a Class 4 with an option for a crew cab.

The gas-powered trucks feature a Vortec 6.0-liter small-block V8 engine that produces 297 horsepower at 4,300 rpm and generates 372 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, which Isuzu reports is the most torque of any gas-powered LCF truck in North America.