Used commercial vehicle registrations hit record high in 2011

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A Polk analysis of new and used commercial vehicle registrations (Class 3-8) in the United States finds 1.25 million units were registered during the 2011 calendar year. Used commercial vehicle registrations reached a record level for a calendar year of 791,288 units, surpassing the previous record of 671,887 units registered in 2010, a 17.8 percent increase in year-over-year registrations.

2011 ranks third in the total number of commercial vehicle registrations in a single calendar year since Polk began tracking this information in 2004. The current record of total commercial vehicle registrations in a calendar year is 1.35 million units in 2005.

“Good quality used commercial vehicles continue to be in high demand, as shown by the record level of used vehicle transactions reported during each of the first three quarters 2011,” says Gary Meteer, account director for commercial vehicle solutions at Polk. “However, our analysis of fourth quarter 2011 activity shows evidence of a shortage of good clean equipment.”

Fourth-quarter used registrations were down 4.1 percent from the comparable quarter in 2010. Furthermore, Class 8 used registrations during the fourth quarter of the 2011 calendar year were down 22 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. Polk’s process for commercial vehicle reporting requires both a change in the business name and address of the vehicle registration to be counted as a used registration.

“This strong demand for both new and used commercial vehicles is a positive sign that businesses feel comfortable enough about their plans to update older equipment,” says Meteer. “The close of the 2011 calendar year is a solid foundation on which to build for 2012.”

In all categories except Class 8, used registrations for 2011 were higher than in the 2010 calendar year, according to Polk; registrations among used Class 3-7 vehicles were higher in 2011 than in 2010. In addition, the increase in calendar year registrations since 2010 ranged from a high of 53.5 percent for Class 4 vehicles and a low of 4.8 percent for Class 7 vehicles.

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