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

The industry is projected to produce and sell $152.2 billion of trucks, trailers, buses and truck equipment — about $5.5 billion more than 2018. This is an NTEA estimate based on the 2018 Annual Manufacturers’ Shipments Survey, OEM Monthly Chassis Statistics Program and affiliate division statistics programs. NTEA also analyzes data from U.S. Census Bureau, Wards Intelligence and IHS Markit.

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