New Commercial Vehicle Registrations Show Rebound; Used Market Hits Record Levels, According to Polk

New trailer registrations show significant increase; Used volumes identify opportunities for aftermarket

Dec 01, 2010, 08:52 ET from Polk

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Commercial vehicle (GVW Class 3-8) registrations in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2010 were 269,650 units, up 9.6 percent over the same period last year, according to Polk, the recognized leader in data-driven solutions for the commercial vehicle industry.  Additionally, the used commercial vehicle (GVW Class 3-8) market achieved a new record of registrations during a nine month timeframe at 524,500 units.  This historic volume represents 66 percent of the commercial vehicle market and an increase of 18.7 percent over the same timeframe in 2009.  Combined registrations of new and used commercial vehicles in the first nine months of 2010 were 794,200, representing a 15.5 percent increase over the same period last year.  

New Trailer Registrations Show Significant Growth

New commercial trailer (24+ foot length) registrations during the first nine months of 2010 were up 42.2 percent over the same period last year, to 76,125 units.  The strength of the new trailer market is strongly influenced by dry and refrigerated van trailers, which typically account for about 64 percent of total new trailer registrations, according to Polk.  During the first nine months of 2010, new van trailer registrations were up 75.2 percent from the same period last year and represented about 72 percent of new trailer registrations.  Grain, flatbed and hoppers round out the top four trailer types registered during the first nine months of 2010.  

"While new trailer registrations remain below record levels set in 1995, this improvement is significant and indicates that the market for both commercial power units and trailers has turned around after three consecutive down years," said Gary Meteer, director, sales and client services, at Polk.  "There is a strong correlation between GVW 8 registrations and the registration of new commercial trailers through the first nine months of 2010 – as both have shown increases," he continued.

Used Market Hits Historic Levels, Creates Opportunities for Aftermarket

The strong market for used commercial vehicles is most evident in GVW 8 vehicles, which represented almost half of the total used commercial transactions during the first nine months of the calendar year, compared to about 42 percent in 2009.  Used GVW 8 transactions were 37 percent higher during the nine months in 2010 versus the same period last year.  

This is the first year that registrations of used commercial vehicles have seen such significant growth.  The uptick in the used market signifies a large opportunity for aftermarket parts manufacturers and suppliers that rely on the commercial repair and replacement business.  

"The significant increase in used commercial vehicle registrations so far this year is indicative of an improving business climate as companies update their equipment with newer models," said Meteer.  "Large fleet owners and operators are upgrading to new vehicles, and therefore the smaller fleet companies and independent owner operators have great opportunities to find available clean used equipment."

Polk's most recent Commercial Vehicle Market Intelligence Report includes these findings along with other commercial market highlights, geographical registrations and key insight into aftermarket component demand, which helps aftermarket and OEM component suppliers better plan their inventory to match demand for replacement parts.

In the report, Polk also includes an overview of the Canadian commercial vehicle market and a summary of the performance of the global heavy commercial vehicle (more than 3.5 tons) market through the first eight months of the 2010 calendar year.

Polk has been providing commercial vehicle data to the industry for decades and began first reporting used versus new registration information in 2004.  Polk's solutions for the commercial market also include the ability to pinpoint expected demand for specific new engine parts, including turbochargers, fuel pumps and EGR valves, among other components.  Polk also has insight into filter, lubricant, tire, brake and engine replacement factors, as well as demand for rebuilt and part kits.

About Polk

Polk is the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions.  The organization collects and interprets global data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business and gain a competitive advantage. Polk helps automotive manufacturers and dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies, advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government agencies and market research firms make good business decisions. A privately held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Michigan with operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. For more information, please visit