About the Industry

What are commercial vehicles and what does the work truck industry represent?

Unlike mass-produced assembly-line passenger cars and trucks, commercial vehicles are primarily designed and produced individually, on a custom-order basis. Their diverse applications, limited volume and nearly limitless body and equipment variations dictate this method of production. 

Typically, commercial trucks are built in a multi-stage process involving three distinct yet interrelated industry segments. To ensure product compatibility, a close-working relationship is necessary between the truck chassis manufacturers and their dealers; truck body, equipment and trailer manufacturers; and truck body, equipment and trailer distributors

This is especially important if a truck will be used to do any of the following:
  • Bring maintenance/repair services to homes, industry and business
  • Transport people
  • Fight fires
  • Provide emergency medical/rescue service
  • Transfer disabled vehicles
  • Install/repair telephone, electrical and other utility equipment and services
  • Collect trash for disposal and recycling
  • Construct/maintain roads, homes and buildings
  • Control snow and ice
  • Operate farms 

Industry profile

NTEA estimates the U.S. manufactured shipments value of work trucks, buses, trailers and truck equipment reached $130.4 billion in 2016. Currently, the industry is expected to grow about 2 percent in 2017, which would push the total value of shipments to $133 billion. The truck and trailer segments account for more than 80 percent of the value of all freight shipped in the United States. Buses transport millions of people annually. In addition, work trucks add value to every industry in the U.S. economy.

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