U.S. sales of Class 8 trucks rose for the fifth straight month in November and appear certain to surpass last year's levels.

Truck manufacturers sold 11,659 Class 8 trucks in November -- a 17.7% increase over the year-ago period, according to Crain Communications. Monthly Class 8 volume has only slipped once, in June, since breaking out of a two-year slump in May.
Through November, Class 8 sales were 135,250 -- 5.5% above the 11-month total for 2001.
The biggest maker, Freightliner, reported one of the biggest gains. It sold 4,261 Class 8 trucks in November, a 31.0% increase over its year-ago mark.
Peterbilt's Class 8 volume was up 38.2%; International's rose 2.6%. But Mack saw its Class 8 volume dip 16.6% last month.
Class 8 trucks make up nearly half of the total U.S. medium-duty and heavy-duty truck market. In November, sales of Class 4 through Class 8 trucks were up 6.1%. For the year, the market is down 7.2%, primarily because of sharp declines in Class 4 and Class 7.