More than 70% of Peterbilt's production in 2016 were Models 579 and 567.

More than 70% of Peterbilt's production in 2016 were Models 579 and 567.

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Peterbilt Motors returned to the Mid America Trucking Show, after an absence in 2016, predicting the company could top 15% market share this year. Kyle Quinn, Paccar senior vice president and Peterbilt general manager, noted the company sold 36,000 units in 2016 for a market share in Class 8 of 13.4% -- it's fourth highest production year.

"We're taking steps to set a new market share record of 15% in 2017," he said. "We are well positioned to accomplish this, as we have achieved market share north of 16% in both of the first two months of this year."

Quinn predicts the North American Class 8 truck build for 2017 will be somewhere between 190,000 and 220,000 units, with much or that strength coming from the vocational segment.

"If you look at where we've been in the past three years, for example, the energy business has been soft, but during that period of time we raised the percentage of fleet market share, moving from 23% fleets to 38% fleets," Quinn said. "So, as the energy sector improves, we will see the return of those vocational energy bids. And that will come on top of already good performance this year and late last year on vocational orders."

Peterbilt expects its medium duty business to remain strong at 85,000 units, and Quinn noted that orders are so far keeping pace with expectations.

Overall, Quinn said he expects the industry to continue gaining strength based on solid fundamentals:

  • Freight tonnage is near record levels and is expected to grow by another two percent.
  • Fourth quarter of 16 and early 17 prices are improving in the spot freight market.
  • Over the past few months the energy sector has been gaining strength and the rig count is up from the bottom in 2016.
  • The legislative agenda is showing some promise that could provide economic lift as renewed infrastructure spending and improving energy policy may provide new demand in both vocational and the energy business.
  • Tax relief could help buoy customer sentiment and generate higher investment in capital goods.
  • The market has strengthened since the election and quoting activity indicates that is could continue further into the year.

Lat year, MX engines found their way into 26,500 peterbilt chassis representing more than 48% of the truckmakers engine sales mix.