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July 17, 2017 2:15 AM, EDT

Retail Sales of Medium Duty Trucks Jump Almost 20%

Medium Trucks at a construction site General Motors

U.S. retail sales of medium-duty trucks in June jumped almost 20% year-over-year, led by strong gains among the lightest-weight segments.

In June, total sales of Classes 4-7 vehicles were 20,350, up 19.1% compared with 17,090 a year earlier, according to WardsAuto.com.

“All of these guys play off the construction markets, which are still doing pretty well,” ACT Research Co. Vice President Steve Tam told Transport Topics.

Year-to-date, sales climbed into positive territory, too, gaining 3.5% to 108,747, Ward’s said.

Class 7 trucks in June inched up 0.3% to 5,345, led by Freightliner’s 2,474 units, then International’s 1,627.

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

Year-to-date, Class 7 sales dropped 2.4% to 27,743 trucks, compared with a year earlier.

Also, Class 6 sales slipped 2% in June to 4,926, compared with 5,028 a year earlier.

Ford Motor Co. held the top spot, with 1,680 sales. Freightliner and International were next with sales, respectively, of 1,258 and 1,080 trucks.

Rounding out Class 6 volumes were Hino Trucks with 665, then Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co. with 184 and 59, respectively.

Kenworth and Peterbilt are brands of Paccar Inc. Hino is a unit of Toyota Group Co.

Year-to-date, Class 6 sales improved 1.9% to 33,528.

June saw sales of Classes 4-5 trucks soar 49.7% to 10,079, compared with 6,735 a year earlier.

“With truck companies that are closely aligned with the automotive market,” Tam said, “some of that mindset is probably carrying over [in Classes 4-5] in terms of higher incentives and pushing to try and reduce inventory.”

Year-to-date, sales were 47,476, up 8.6% compared with the 2016 period.

Also in June, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., a distributor of low-cab-forward trucks, produced the 40,000th gasoline-powered Isuzu N-Series truck at the Spartan Motors Inc. facility in Charlotte, Mich. The engine is used in Isuzu’s Class 4 NPR-HD model, which comes with or without a crew cab.

Isuzu dominated Class 4 sales with a 66% market share, or 1,439 trucks.

Assembly of Isuzu N-Series gas trucks — began at Spartan in April 2011, the Anaheim, Calif., company said. An optional version of the engine is capable of being converted to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.

Ford had a 61% market share of the Class 5 trucks, or 4,813 trucks. Dodge Ram trucks were next with sales of 1,675. Dodge is a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.