October was another strong month for U.S. medium- and heavy-duty trucks as sales rose 13.2% over year-ago, the best month since March 2007, due to solid performances in weight classes 4 through 8.

Led by Volvo’s Mack brand, which enjoyed a 23.6% increase, Class 8 was up 11.3% year-over-year on sales of 17,985 units as all players posted solid gains.

PACCAR’s Peterbilt saw sales rise 21.3% and International, which normally enjoys a strong October due to its fiscal year-end, was up 10.3%.

Class 8 volume leader Daimler saw its Freightliner and Western Star brands up a modest 7.5% and 4.3%, respectively.

Despite impressive sales results over the past two months, year-to-date Class 8 deliveries still trailed 2012 by 7.2%, 150,578 vs. 162,215.

The industry, however, is forecasting a strong fourth quarter as orders have edged up and the year is looking to finish at about 185,000 units.

Segment leader Freightliner increased its share to 37.1%, up from 32.8%, mostly at the expense of International, which has seen its share drop 3.7 percentage points to 14.9%.

Class 7 was the second-best performing segment in October, up 24.2% to 5,030 units. Freightliner was the class leader with sales soaring 49.9% as it commanded over half of the segment with a 53.4% market share.

PACCAR’s Kenworth brand was up 16.8% and Peterbilt improved 32.4%. The only decliners for the month were Hino (-11.6%) and Ford (-0.5%) on low volume.

October Class 6 deliveries were almost flat over last year, up a meager 1.2%. Second-place Ford, up a whopping 267.7%, closed the gap on class leader Freightliner, which saw sales slip 19.0%.

Gainers in Class 6 included Kenworth, up 39.7% and Peterbilt, up 48.8%.

Overall Class 5 sales rose 13.0% to 5,882 units from 2012’s 5,013. Class leader Ford, with a 58.4% market share, was down 6.7%. Second-place Chrysler, paced by sales of the Dodge Ram chassis cab, was up 50.4% on deliveries of 1,287 units.

Class 4 sales growth led all groups, as deliveries for the segment jumped 51.2%. Isuzu led the way with an increase of 238.6% on sales of its new domestically assembled walk-in van. Mitsubishi Fuso was the only decliner as sales dipped 3.7% on light volume.

Class 8 days’ supply ended October at 52, down from 65 year-ago, while stock fell to 34,965units from 38,771. Medium-duty days’ supply was 72, compared with 79 at the end of October 2012. Medium-duty units in inventory rose slightly to 42,058 from 40,107.

In other big-truck news:

  • Navistar announced it would add the proven Cummins ISB engine to its offerings to allow the company to get to market faster with medium-duty SCR vehicles. Navistar built the first salable International DuraStar trucks and IC Bus CE Series school buses with Cummins ISB engines in September. The company is on track to begin customer deliveries of DuraStar units in December and CE Series school buses in late January 2014.
  • According to TruckingInfo.com, the latest U.S. Labor Dept. report shows there was a net gain of 204,000 jobs in the country during October, far more than economists were predicting, while trucking added just 400 jobs. The wider transportation sector shows no changes from September.

pzajac@wardsauto.com