New commercial vehicle registrations for Class 3-8 vehicles for the first quarter of 2012 were up 26.6% to 129,755 units from the 102,521 units registered during the first quarter of 2011.

The level of new registrations during the first quarter represented a 2.6% increase over the new registrations during the last quarter of the 2011 calendar year. New registrations were also at their highest quarterly level since 2008. To put the quarters performance into perspective, the new registrations during the quarter were 52% higher than the most recent low (first quarter of 2010) and 34% lower than the most recent high for the quarter (first quarter of 2006).

Although the 129,755 units of new commercial vehicle registrations during the quarter are significantly better than recent past, the reference point is still the most depressed period of new commercial vehicle registrations. With the exception of the 2002 and 2003 calendar years and the 2009, 2010 and 2011 calendar years, the current quarter's performance is at the low end of the spectrum since 1995.

Used vehicle registrations

For this past quarter, the number of used vehicle transactions has declined by 26.7% when compared to the same quarter of the 2011 calendar year.

Although the 2011 calendar year represented a record for the number of used transactions for a calendar year at 791,288 units, the number of used transactions reported in 4Q 2011 calendar year was lower than that reported for 4Q 2010.

Used commercial vehicle transactions represented 55.9% of total commercial vehicle transactions in the quarter.

Manufacturer performance

New commercial vehicle registrations by manufacturer for the first quarter of 2012 showed uniform strength with the exception of the General Motors
Chevrolet and GMC brands. Both brands were below year ago new registration levels in March and GMC was also down from a year ago for the first quarter.

Ford remains the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a 27% share, followed by Freightliner with a 16.7% share and International with a 10.8% share. Both Freightliner and International increased their respective share of new commercial vehicles when compared to the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year.

Ford's strength in commercial vehicles is the result of a dominant market share in the lower classes with Ford accounting for a low of 46.1% (Class 3) to a high of 67.6% (Class 5) in the first quarter of the 2012 calendar year.