ERJ staff report (TB)
Southfield, Michigan -- New commercial vehicle registrations in the US are on track to increase 17.6 percent to 440,000 units this year, compared with 2010, according to R.L. Polk & Co.
The uptick also represents a 33-percent surge over 2009, but registrations remain 45.4 percent lower than the historic peak in 2006 when the market boomed due to the impending change in diesel regulations.
Polk reported the increase in registrations is led by GVW-3 vehicles, rather than GVW-8 vehicles, which it said have historically been the predominant segment in the commercial vehicle market.
â€œThe growth in the GVW-3 segment is predominantly based on those vehicles being purchased for small to large fleets and independent contractor use,â€ said Gary Meteer, Polk's director for sales and client services. â€œSome of these vehicles are likely to have mixed use for commercial business during the week and family activities on the weekend, such as for trailering recreational vehicles.â€
He based this premise on data from the first eight months of 2011 when nearly 48 percent of GVW-3 vehicles were registered to an individual, rather than a business.
The southern region of the US has the largest concentration of new commercial vehicle registrations and has remained relatively flat this year with 2010 volumes in the same timeframe, with about a third of the market share.
Through June of this year, strong demand for clean used commercial vehicles has resulted in the replacement of older models and the lowering of the average age of the commercial vehicle population, according to Polk. By mid-year, 44.8 percent of vehicles were older than model year 1999.
â€œThe availability of clean used equipment is prompting many smaller companies interested in cost savings and operational efficiencies to replace their much older commercial vehicles with newer ones,â€ according to Polk.
Small commercial fleets with one to five vehicles increased 23.3 percent during the first eight months of 2011, and represented 32.6 percent of new commercial vehicle registrations. On the other hand, large fleets increased at a smaller rate, 19.5 percent since last year.
â€œWhile larger fleets are the mainstay of new commercial vehicle registrations, it is significant that owners of smaller fleets are optimistic about their business prospects and purchasing new vehicles over used models, which is traditional small business owner behavior,â€ Polk reported.
From Tire Business (A Crain publication)