Medium-duty market opportunities abound

Management Lucas Deal March 4, 2014

If you haven’t been keeping up with the news in our Successful Dealer publication, the medium-duty market is thriving.

Timken announced in late January it was expanded its product portfolio to serve a burgeoning medium-duty marketplace, and new truck orders in January followed a trend that started late last year in which medium-duty trucks are moving well above normal levels.

Even with tough sales for Class 5 trucks, total Class 5-7 medium-duty sales were up 10 percent in 2013.

These trucks are making headway in the marketplace.

Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst at ACT Research, notes, “The past four months have seen three of the top five order months this cycle for Classes 5-8.”

This market progression falls in line with some of the comments I received last spring in my April cover story for Truck Parts & Service.

Distributors focusing on the medium-duty market are doing quite well in today’s economy.

RELATED: Smaller trucks, big opportunity.

“It’s a growing market, and it’s a good market,” said Harry Amoroso, president at B&A Friction, when addressing the medium-duty market last spring.

“I think some people think ‘We don’t know that market so it can’t be good,’ but that’s not true. It’s a great opportunity. If you spend some time researching your market, you can find [medium-duty] customers in your own back yard.”

This is especially true for suburban and urban distributors.

The weather problems presented by this winter alone has made delivering goods tough on commercial fleets, but in cases where fleets are tasked with delivering large loads in snow-covered, population-dense urban areas, relying on Class 8 trucks is practically impossible.

The vehicles are too large to handle the delivery routes required.

“How often does a Class 8 truck pull up to your house to make a local delivery?” added Tim Wenger, senior manager, parts marketing and product development at Hino Trucks.

“Class 5-7 trucks are in local neighborhoods everyday performing services that we all depend on as part of our daily activities.”

Now may be the time to look at this market.