Vehicle Sales, Operating Population and Utilization Lead to Aftermarket Demand Growth

by Denise Rondini

U.S. aftermarket demand for Class 6-8, trailers, and container chassis in 2018 is expected to total $30.1 billion once final numbers become available, according to John Blodgett, vice president, sales and marketing, of MacKay & Co., speaking at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Dialogue in Las Vegas.

Vehicle population plays a big role in what happens in the aftermarket. Blodgett shared figures from Wards and FTR showing Class 8 retail sales for 2018 were up 31% and are forecast to be up an additional 10% this year to 274,000 units. However, by 2020 that number is expected to drop by 12%. For comparison’s sake, 20 years ago that number was 189,000.

Class 6 and 7 retail sales for 2018 were 136,000. They are expected to be flat this year and then fall 4% in 2020. Trailer sales reached 316,000 units in 2018; predictions are for them to fall by 2% this year and 8% in 2020.

In 2018 there were 825,000 Class 6 vehicles operating in the U.S., 1.33 million Class 7 vehicles, 3.4 million Class 8 vehicles and 4.6 million trailers. MacKay’s forecast calls for the operating population of Class 6 vehicles to grow by 12% by 2023, Class 7 to decline 6%, Class 8 to grow 8%, and the trailer population to grow 7%.

Vehicle utilization is another factor that drives aftermarket demand, and for the forth quarter of 2018, Class 6-8 power unit utilization was at 85.3%, according to MacKay data.