Although Class 4 and Class 5 deliveries improved in January, overall sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in Canada continued their slide in the first month of 2008, falling 23.7%.

Sales of big trucks trended downward in 2007 because operators bought extra units in 2006 ahead of new emissions regulations that required expensive technology for compliance.

Class 6 sales witnessed the sharpest decline in January, with deliveries plunging 58.2% to 77 units, from 184 in like-2007, according to Ward’s data. Segment-leader International Engine and Truck Corp. suffered the greatest shortfall, as sales slipped 82.4% to 26 units from 148 year-ago.

Related document: Canada Truck Sales by Weight Class - January 2008

Class 7 sales dipped 20.2% to 399 units from 500 in like-2007. Freightliner LLC’s Sterling brand fell 32.4% and its Freightliner nameplate declined 28.8%. But PACCAR Inc. enjoyed a surge of 134% to 117 units from prior-year’s 50, as its Kenworth and Peterbuilt brands delivered significant year-over-year gains.

Class 8 sales finished the month off 31.0%, with every manufacturer witnessing a decline in deliveries. Daimler AG withstood the greatest erosion, as sales plunged 49.5% to 496 units from 983 year-ago. The lone bright spot – the Volvo truck brand saw a 4.9% sales increase to 128 units from 122.

But another story unfolded in Class 4 and Class 5 sales. Class 4 sales rose 95.3% to 125 units from 64 in like-2007. Ford Motor Co. posted the greatest gain, with sales jumping 126.7% to 68 units from 30 in year-ago. Class 5 deliveries improved 21.9% to 379 units, from 311 in 2007, led by Daimler’s 175% gain.