The average age of commercial truck fleets is shifting, and Class 5 trucks now make up the youngest commercial trucks on the road in a segment that's one of the fastest growing, sources told Work Truck magazine.
Demand for Class 5 commercial trucks is peaking, according to Gary Meteer, director of global commercial vehicle products at IHS Automotive.
"With the overall market recovery, Class 5 straight trucks and chassis cabs have been in high demand for modifications and use in the wholesale, retail, and service industries,” Meteer said earlier this month in a presentation to aftermarket executives. “In the current calendar year, the demand for Class 5 vehicles is at record levels.”
The commercial truck market has recovered substantially since the economic downturn of 2008-2009. There are now more than 7.7 million commercial trucks on the road in the U.S. covering Classes 4-8.
Class 5 vehicles now have an average lifecycle of 11.9 years, compared with 14.7 years for the overall truck market of Class 4-8 trucks. Class 6 trucks are now the oldest on the road with an average lifecycle of 20.9 years.
Class 5 is the fastest growing segment among the truck classes. In 2007, fleets registered 45,000 Class 5 trucks. By 2013, that number climbed to 60,000, according to Steve Tam, vice president of the commercial vehicle sector for ACT Research.
Medium-duty truck customers have embraced the lightweighting trend, and earlier Class 6 customers have moved down to Class 5. Fleets are realizing savings from a lower upfront cost, less fuel used, as well as lower taxes, insurance, and license fees.
"They realized they had way too much capacity for their work," Tam said about Class 6 buyers moving down. "If you do a better job of spec'ing the truck to the work, you have the opportunity to save some money."
Additionally, product offerings in Class 4 have slimmed down in recent years, including Hino's decision to cease producing a conventional Class 4 truck following the 2010 model-year. Class 4 buyers have been moving up to Class 5, Tam said.
By Paul Clinton