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U.S. retail sales in December of Classes 4-7 commercial vehicles reached the second-highest volume for 2021 despite declines across the board. Sales in the month fell 8.9% compared with a year earlier, WardsAuto .com reported.
Sales were 22,326 compared with 24,507 a year earlier. December’s total trailed only March’s 23,575.
Full-year sales increased 10.1% to 239,703 compared with 217,753 in the 2020 period, according to Wards.
“The story is just more of the same,” ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said, meaning dealers were trying to clear inventory in December and fleets have budgets to spend out. “Obviously, the [year-end] spike wasn’t as much as it typically is because dealers didn’t have as much inventory. If they had more units, they would have sold them; there’s no question. That’s been a constant drumbeat throughout this whole year.”
It all comes back to the supply chain, he said, where there has been progress, but not enough.
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• Class 7 posted the month’s smallest decline, falling 6.9% to 4,047, a fairly typical volume throughout the year in that segment.
• Class 6 dropped the most, 10.3% to 6,204. It was its second-highest volume of the year, trailing only 6,672 in March.
• Classes 4-5 fell 8.8% to 12,075, the year’s second-best volume behind March’s 12,560.
In related news, Morgan Truck Body celebrated its 70th year in business, and announced it will unveil multiple custom concept bodies in 2022. The company will emphasize weight reduction and integration of enhanced safety and sensing technology.
“The medium-duty truck space will see significant changes in the next 10 years. Electrification will be the catalyst for advancements in materials, integration of function and incorporation of technologies that bring ‘smart’ awareness into the medium-duty space,” Morgan President and Chief Operating Officer Dan DesRochers told Transport Topics.
“It will no longer be a white box on a chassis; it will be an integrated solution that provides intelligence and efficiency to improve the customer experience,” he said.
Morgan has 14 manufacturing locations, eight company-owned service facilities and a network of more than 200 Morgan-authorized repair centers throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to the Morgantown, Pa.-based company. Morgan said it is the largest manufacturer of light- and medium-duty truck bodies in North America.
As for medium-duty demand now, it is steady across all segments and particularly strong in the final-mile/home delivery segments, said Tom Diez, Morgan’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“New entrants and growth from existing customers are driving this business,” he said. “Grocery delivery suppliers and home delivery of fresh groceries are also contributing incremental growth in the refrigerated space, which will be further accelerated as we transition to electrified refrigeration units.”
Morgan Truck Body is a subsidiary of JB Poindexter & Co., which provides automotive and manufacturing goods and services.