New commercial vehicle registrations, Class 3-8, in January were 32,175 units, an increase of 11.6 percent from January 2010 and about 1 percent higher than December 2010, according to Polk.

U.S. retail sales have shown a significantly higher year-over year increase, Polk notes. However, the year-over-year difference between retail sales and new registrations are typically exacerbated in
months such as December, January, February and April. This is a result of the difference between the reporting of a retail sale by the dealer and the actual registration of that vehicle.

While there continues to be a general focus on the performance of Class 8 vehicles, Polk believes the significant take-away from January new registrations, as it was in 2010, is the strong performance of Class 3 vehicles. Class 3 new registrations were the force behind the improved performance of commercial vehicles, with new registrations at 12,625 units in January, a 57 percent increase versus January 2010.

Class 3 crew cab new registrations were up 84.4 percent in January compared to a year earlier and represented 56.3 percent of total Class 3 new registrations.