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Can Class 8 sales possibly get any worse?


I must admit, I did a double take when I looked at the latest Class 8 sales numbers for Canada. The fact that the blood bath that started last year really continued in May did not surprise me. (May’s figures published at the start of this month are the latest numbers available from the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association) I was expecting another month of horrible sales. I was just not ready for the drop those numbers showed and what it signified for the rest of the year.
There were just 1,078 Class 8 trucks sold in Canada in May, which was by far the lowest
May sales tally for the past decade. It was also about 1,800 units off the 5-year average. (It should be noted that five year average includes the industry’s peak years of 2004 to 2006.) April’s sales of just 1,197 also marked the lowest April sales in a decade.
This year’s truck sales definitely started off with a whimper. In fact, the first quarter of 2009 proved to be the quietest first quarter in terms of sales of the past decade, coming in about 100 units below the 2002 total. Just three months into this financially challenging year and sales were more than 2,000 off last year’s YTD pace, hardly a banner year in itself, about 3,000 off the 5-year YTD average and about 5,000 off the banner year of 2006,
So now with truck sales hitting such lows in both April and May, any chance of a pickup this summer is nothing more than a dream. The second quarter is a washout and I doubt the third quarter will be much better. Sales have not hit the 2,000 unit mark since October of last year, despite the fact this was supposed to be a pre-buy year.
With just 5,953 Class 8 trucks sold year-to-date, 2009 is ranking as the worst sales year of the past decade by a considerable margin.
Wish I had better news.


Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis

With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics.
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2 Comments » for Can Class 8 sales possibly get any worse?
  1. Bruce Walker says:

    Because so many owner operators have and will be quiting due to the new speed limiter law class 8 sales will more than likely hit rock bottom.it is a sign of things to come for Ontario and Quebec until the 105 kms speed limiter law is seen as a very tardy way of doing deliveries for single drivers for reasons already stated.The bottom line is we either go with the flow or pushed aside by those who consider the Canadien truck driving companies in Ontario and Quebec too tardy leaving single drivers with slim pickins for freight and possibly team drivers too.

  2. J.JOHNSTON says:

    Actually, I am surprised that there was that many class 8 trucks sold. With shippers taking advantage of the “recession” and demanding extremely low rates , fuel prices staying relativley high, pressure from American load brokers with rate quotes in the
    $1.25/mile range, how anybody can afford new equipment is astounding. Granted, Canadian manufacturing is hurting and need some relief of sorts,but tell me one thing our government has done to help the trucking industry ( highest employer in canada). Except to add more regulations. How about our Insurance industry, has anybody seen a decrease in rates, since now with mandatory speed limited, it is supposedly that much safer on our roads according to government ( and OTA ) statistics.

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