Commercial Vehicle Segments

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Commercial Vehicle Segments

It is estimated that there were 35.6 million commercial light duty trucks on the road in North America in 2017, and that the global heavy-duty truck market was valued at $120 billion in 2018. This information, along with additional information on medium-duty trucks, terminal trucks, container trucks and more is provided below. Market data is a mixture of $ values and volume, as publicly available.

Commercial Trucks Classification

  • In order to research the market size in dollars and/or volume for light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks, it was important to understand what was included in each group. Research found that trucks are classified based on gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which represents the maximum safe weight the truck can operate at, including weight from the vehicle itself, cargo, passengers, fuel, and driver.
  • One article reported that light-duty included vehicles in classes 1-3 (GVWR of 0-14,000 pounds), medium-duty included vehicles in classes 4-6 (GVWR of 14,001-26,000), and heavy-duty included vehicles in classes 7 and 8 (GVWR of 26,001 and up).
  • However, a report in rubber and plastic news indicated that medium-duty included classes 4-7, which was different from above. Additionally, a report by Global Market Insights indicated that heavy-duty included classes 5-8.
  • The varying ways of classifying trucks into categories makes finding volume or market size data difficult. In cases where the data was available, the classes included in each estimate are clearly outlined, but there could still be some overlap in the numbers.

Light-Duty Trucks

  • In 2017, there were 36 million trucks registered for business purposes (commercial) in the United States.
  • Light commercial vehicles represent more than a 75% share of the total commercial vehicle market.
  • Therefore, it can be estimated that there were a minimum of 24 million (36 million*.75) light commercial vehicles in the U.S. in 2017.
  • According to reporting by Markets & Markets, the U.S. accounts for 67.5% of the total light duty production in North America. Although this statistic applies to all light-duty vehicles, not only trucks, we made the assumption that this would be constant across all types of vehicles in the segment, and, therefore, that the U.S. accounts for 67.5% of the light-duty truck market in North America.
  • Using the above described assumptions, it is estimated that there were a minimum of 35.6 million (24/.675) commercial light-duty trucks in North America in 2017.

Medium-Duty Trucks

  • ACT Research estimated that there would be 260,000-265,000 new medium-duty trucks produced in North America in 2018, and that 75% of those were to replace other vehicles.
  • Medium-duty and heavy-duty truck sales grew 4.5% globally from 2017 to 2018.
  • It was reported in June 2019 that the medium-duty truck market was growing, partially due to strong economic conditions.
  • Because medium-duty trucks often tend to take shorter trips and return to their home base each day, they are seen as a good opportunity for electric vehicles.
  • Through the first half of 2019, medium-duty truck sales in the U.S. were up 5%.
  • For 2020, medium duty truck manufacturers are offering new tech options as well as upgraded powertrains.

Heavy-Duty Trucks

  • The global heavy-duty truck market size was estimated to be $120 billion in 2018, and is expected to increase to $160 billion in 2025. This market sizing includes commercial vehicles in classes 5-8.
  • The global market size of the heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry was estimated to be $268.65 billion in 2018. This includes all commercial vehicles, including buses, that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 16 metric tons or more. Since one metric ton is equal to about 2,204.6 pounds, this represents trucks and buses that weigh 35,273.6 pounds (16*2204.6).
  • The heaviest weight class for commercial trucks is Class 8, which includes vehicles that weigh more than 33,000 pounds. So although many of those trucks are included in this market sizing, it also includes buses and excludes other class 7 vehicles which are also categorized as heavy-duty. Therefore, this number is not an accurate representation of the size of the heavy-duty truck market.
  • Medium-duty and heavy-duty truck sales grew 4.5% globally from 2017 to 2018.

Yard and Drayage Trucks

  • Yard and drayage trucks are generally used for moving freight from ports to warehouses, or even around warehouses. The key is that the freight is getting moved short distances and not to its final destination. In the trucking industry they are also known as terminal tractors.
  • The global market size for terminal tractors was estimated at $603 million in 2017.
  • With a projected CAGR of 4.1% from 2020 through 2027, the estimated market size in 2027 is $832 million.
  • Another market research report on the terminal tractor market provides slightly different numbers for the global market. The market size was estimated at $623.8 million in 2018, the CAGR through 2027 was reported as 4.5%, and the estimated market size in 2027 was $908.1 million.
  • With the majority of these reports behind paywalls, it is not possible to see all the details and assumptions that would result in the numbers being different.
  • It was also reported that North America holds the third largest share of the terminal tractor market, behind Asia Pacific and Europe. However, Sheer Analytics and Insights reported that North America holds the largest share. There was no publicly available data to make a determination on how these facts were determined.

Loaders, Towers, Belts and Container Trucks

  • Before the market size or volume of this segment could be found, definitions for the different types of vehicles needed to be established.
  • Because the request is asking about freight, it was assumed that loaders are side loaders. These are capable of lifting freight, and can also operate in narrow spaces, such as warehouse aisles. They are also known as very narrow aisle (VNA) trucks.
  • Tower trucks are a type of fire truck that has a tall ladder with a bucket at the end of it.
  • Belts was assumed to refer to conveyor belt loaders. These are vehicles used at airports for ground support.
  • Container trucks are vehicles that are capable of moving various types of containers such as cartons or boxes. Research indicates they can also be referred to as hoist & carrier trucks.
  • Once the definitions were established, it was determined that these trucks are actually each their own segment, rather than being included in a single truck segment. Therefore, each market size was looked for individually.

Hoist & Carrier/Container Trucks

  • The estimated market size for container carrier bodies, cable hoists, and hooklift hoists in North America for 2018 was $224 million.

Conveyor Belt Loaders

Side Loaders and Tower Trucks

  • Side loaders can be utilized for container transportation which can reduce the time spent loading and unloading.
  • Although traditionally tower trucks are thought of as having a bucket at the top of the ladder, manufacturers also make them with mid-mount towers.
  • Tower trucks are in demand by fire departments. One example is the Montreal Fire Department ordering five tower trucks in mid-2019.

Other Potentially Helpful Statistics

  • North America accounts for 66% of the global commercial vehicle market.
  • "The global commercial vehicles market size was valued at USD 1.32 trillion in 2017 and is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 7.1% from 2018 to 2025."
  • From 2018 to 2025, the North American commercial vehicles' industry is expected to have a CAGR of 6%.

Research Strategy

We were able to find, or triangulate estimates, for all commercial categories of interest except for medium-duty commercial trucks, side loaders, and tower trucks. Following is a description of the research process that was followed.

Research began by examining market research reports for each segment of interest. For side loaders, although this led to a variety of reports on backhoe loaders and refuse side loaders, there were no publicly available market reports on side loaders used for freight. For the medium-duty truck market, the market research found generally included medium-duty as part of the heavy or light markets, or didn't discuss the segment at all. Finally, for tower trucks, we found no publicly available reports on the segment. That is likely because any reporting on this type of truck would be included in market research on firetrucks overall.

Our next strategy for each segment was to look on industry websites and publications for any details on market size reported by dollars or by volume. This led us to some interesting findings for each segment, which were included in the appropriate sections above. For example, Trucking Info had a story on upgrades to commercial medium-duty trucks for 2020; Material Handling & Logistics reported on the usefulness of side loaders for specific types of freight; DSV reported on the benefits of using side loaders for container transportation; and Fire Apparatus Magazine reported on tower trucks with mid-mount towers rather than the typical bucket at the top of the ladder. However, none of these industry sites provided the details we needed on market size or growth.

Finally, where data had not been found publicly, we attempted to triangulate an estimate based on information we did find. For example, we found the number of medium-duty commercial trucks that were estimated to be produced in North America for 2018, along with what percentage of those vehicles were being used as replacements. We then attempted to find the volume of medium- duty vehicles from 2017 so we could provide an updated 2018 estimate using the available data. However, the 2017 data was not publicly available.

In all cases, for each segment, we began our research with a narrow focus on North America only. This was successful for light-duty and container trucks. For the other segments, we had to expand to a global scope in order to provide useful data. As can be seen from the many market research reports provided as sources, global data is most often provided as a teaser, and payment is required to access the details of various regions, companies, or market segments.
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