Combined new and used Class 3-8 vehicle registrations in the U.S. during 2013 increased to 1.25 million units, a 4.3% increase over 2012, according to newly released analysis from IHS Automotive, formerly known as Polk.

During the 2013, new registrations were up 3.8% and used transactions were up 4.7% over 2012 volumes. Combined commercial vehicle registrations, while up from 2012, have been virtually flat over the past three years at an average of 1.245 million units each year.

Over the past five years, used commercial vehicle registrations have outperformed new commercial vehicle registrations, according to IHS. While used registrations have declined from their peak and new registrations have increased since the market declines of 2009, used transactions still accounted for 54.3% of total commercial vehicle registrations during 2013, up slightly from the 54.1% hit during 2012.

572,000 new commercial vehicles were registered during 2013, an increase of just 3.8% from 2012. Contributing factors included a 4.5% decline in Class 8 new registrations and each of the other segments posted gains over 2012 levels. 

Both Class 3, which increased 11.6%, and Class 5, up 10.5% and a record level of new registrations for a calendar year, led the industry with double digit year-over-year increases.

“Our analysis of the new commercial vehicle market indicates that it has been relatively flat over the past ten quarters,” said Gary Meteer, director, global commercial vehicle products at IHS Automotive.  “However, the levels of new registrations in the third and fourth quarters of 2013 provide optimism heading into 2014.”

Used Registrations Grow Nearly 5% 

Used commercial vehicle registrations recorded during 2013 reached 679,000, an increase of 4.7% over 2012 and the second highest recorded annual transactions since the company began tracking used transactions in 2004. Used transactions peaked in 2011 at 791,300 units.

Strong demand continues for clean used equipment to replace older equipment as exhibited by year-over-year increases in each of the gross vehicle weight classes for 2013, according to IHS.

“The continued strength of used commercial vehicle transactions during the 2013 calendar year reflects a competitive market for clean used equipment as it becomes available,” said Meteer. “We see high demand for clean used equipment for the replacement of significantly older (pre-2000 model year) equipment. Our analysis indicates that over the past five calendar years more than 1.5 million pre-2000 model year commercial vehicles have been phased out, replaced by newer used equipment.”

A copy of the entire report is available on the IHS Automotive website