Sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. increased 18.6% in July to 41,388 units from like-2004’s 36,233.

Heavy-duty (Class 8) deliveries surged 26.0% to 21,043. The smallest increase among the four major manufactures was PACCAR Inc.’s 16.0%.

Medium-duty (Class 4-7) sales expanded 11.8% over year-ago. Deliveries of Class 7 rigs swelled 12.9% on strong results by International Truck and Engine Corp. and Freightliner Corp.

Class 6 posted the only decline, down 18.3%, while Class 5 recorded the largest increase, up 66.4%. Class 4 sales grew 15.6%.

July’s sales translate to a 520,000 unit seasonally adjusted annual rate. The month closed with inventories of 61,412 medium-duty trucks, or a 78 days’ supply, vs. like-2004’s 50,498 units, or a 72 days’ supply.

Heavy-duty stocks totaled 42,965 units, or a 53 days’ supply, compared with year-ago’s 27,809, or a 43 days’ supply.

In other big-truck news:

  • Freightliner Corp. makes several new management appointments: Michael E. Delaney, a former Volvo Trucks North America Inc. executive, joins the company as senior vice president-marketing; John Merrifield, formerly senior vice president-Sterling and Western Star Trucks, becomes senior vice president-distribution; and Mark Lampert, formerly senior vice president-Freightliner Trucks, assumes additional responsibility for the development of sales for the Sterling and Western Star brands, as well as for the Detroit Diesel on-highway engine business unit and the company’s proprietary components sales.
  • International Truck and Engine Corp. introduces its new 4.5L V-6 200-hp turbodiesel engine, which will power the new International CF Series commercial trucks. Designed for city driving, the engine features a twin turbocharger, utilizes a high-pressure common rail fuel system to optimize fuel economy and cooled exhaust gas recirculation to minimize emissions. The engine is built at International’s plant in Huntsville, AL.
  • Mack Trucks Inc. announces it has been awarded a contract for more than 1,400 trucks by the United States Postal Service. The award calls for the company to provide 1,180 units of its Vision highway model and 226 of its MR vocational model by the end of 2006. The vehicles will be used at more than 200 postal service locations.
  • PACCAR Inc.’s second-quarter earnings total $241.5 million ($1.39 per share) compared with like-2004’s $236.5 million ($1.34 per share) profit. Second-quarter sales and revenues were a record $3.56 billion, up 28% from the $2.79 billion reported year-ago. Included in PACCAR’s second quarter and first-half income is a one-time charge of $64 million ($0.37 per share) for income taxes associated with the repatriation of $1.5 billion of cash from its subsidiaries outside the U.S.