Volvo Trucks is expecting North American Class 8 truck sales this year to significantly exceed its current official projection of 280,000. “We think it will be significantly higher than that, though,” Magnus Koeck, vice president of marketing and brand management, told reporters this week during the launch of the revamped VNX severe-duty truck at its plant in Dublin, Virginia. Look for higher numbers when Volvo issues a quarterly report in April.
“We have a very, very strong market. It will be a good year, a good year to be in trucking,” he added.
Several factors are driving the strong numbers, including a healthy labor market, consumer spending that’s driving GDP higher, and a rebound in the manufacturing sector.
“Overall, conditions are quite good,” he said. Some “moderate” expansion in manufacturing is expected into this year, he explained, as well as a slight increase in construction.
“Timing wise it couldn’t be better for us,” Koeck added, referring to Volvo's new product line, including the VNL and VNR announced last year, and now the revamped VNX. It also recently improved its VHD vocational model.
The last of the company’s legacy products was produced a couple of weeks ago.
Volvo enters the strong market with a broader product portfolio than the past, too.
The company is well known in the long-haul segment, which last year accounted for 42.7% of Class 8 sales in the U.S. and Canada. Koeck is looking for 45% growth in the long-haul market this year.
Regional haulers accounted for just under 29% of the truck sales. And reception of the regional-hauling VNR has been “overwhelming,” he added of the model unveiled last year. “Way and above what we thought.”
Heavy-haulers account for 8-9% of the Class 8 market in the U.S. and Canada. “It’s a high-profile segment,” Koeck said. “We are taking a further step into that segment, which will strengthen our position as a brand.”