Photo of the Class 5 Hino 195 cabover with a stake body courtesy of Hino.

Photo of the Class 5 Hino 195 cabover with a stake body courtesy of Hino.

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


Class 4 to Grow 3 Percent In 2014

About the author
Paul Clinton

Paul Clinton

Former Senior Web Editor

Paul Clinton covered an array of fleet and automotive topics for Automotive Fleet, Government Fleet, Mobile Electronics, Police Magazine, and other Bobit Business Media publications.

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