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Class 8 semi truck manufacturers and dealers had many reasons to celebrate in 2017. But perhaps the biggest is the fact that it was one of the best years in recent memory for new truck sales.
According to a recent report by FleetOwner, a site dedicated to serving those in the freight industry, this year’s US and Mexico semi truck sales far surpassed 2016 numbers.
The last quarter of 2017 was particularly strong. Over 30,000 semis were sold each month, and 37,200 units were sold in December 2017 alone. That’s a striking figure when compared to the 21,000 units sold in December 2016.
This end-of-the-year surge helped to push the total number of semi trucks sold during the last quarter of 2017 up 77% over the same time period in 2016.
In total, dealers received orders for more than 290,000 Class 8 semi trucks last year. That is 126,000 more units than were purchased during the previous year.
The Outlook for 2018 Semi Truck Sales
Most experts agree there is no reason to suspect that the current trend will stop in 2018. Some are even predicting that we’ll see more of a demand for semis this year.
Industry insiders typically point to two reasons why they feel 2018 will be a great year for truck sales. The first is that the hauling market is almost at capacity when it comes to available space. This lack of space has driven up spot truckload rates significantly, giving operators a financial incentive to purchase more vehicles.
Some experts also anticipate that new semi truck sales will increase when the Trump-era corporate tax laws go into effect. The new tax laws will benefit companies across the board and may encourage operators to invest some of their savings in buying more big rigs.
With all the bright news associated with trucking, there are several issues worth mentioning that may negatively affect sales in 2018.
The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which went into effect last December and will become a requirement in April is an excellent example. This new regulation may force smaller, low-margin carriers out of business or prevent new operators from entering the industry. A significant driver shortage also continues to be an issue.
So will 2018 outpace 2017 sales and continue to prove that semis are a sound investment? Time will tell.