Volvo Trucks says timing is right for growth amid soft market conditions

Volvo Trucks North America
Magnus Koeck discusses the outlook for Volvo Trucks North America's sales forecast ahead of anticipated 2027 pre-buy.

Despite a 10-month streak of year-over-year sales declines in the North American Class 8 truck market, Volvo Trucks North America remains bullish for a dramatic turnaround in the near term, and for two good reasons.

Looming heavy-duty truck emissions regulations set to take effect in 2027 will create a huge pre-buy effect, said Magnus Koeck, vice president of strategy, marketing and brand management for Volvo Trucks North America. “We see signs that the private fleets have already started [pre-buying]. I’m very convinced that at the end of this year – even if the economy may not be that strong – that the market will come back.”

Koeck estimates that North American Class 8 tractors that meet 2027 emissions regulations will cost roughly $20,000 more than today’s trucks. “That means you will have a massive pre-buying effect not only in 2026, but it will start in 2025.”

If the truck market in 2026 approaches record levels like the industry experienced in the lead-up to 2007 regulations and again shortly after COVID, demand could vastly exceed truck supply. “If you wake up at the end of 2025 and believe you will have vehicles ready to go in February 2026, forget it,” Koeck warned.

Secondly, the timing for a turnaround couldn’t come at a better time for a truck maker that now boasts the newest, safest, fuel-efficient modern truck on the market. Volvo Trucks’ new VNL long-haul tractor, announced earlier this year, will be hitting the roads in earnest this fall when customers begin taking delivery in October.

New VNLs already can be spotted dotting the production line at the company’s New River Valley plant as the company shifts from the legacy VNL production to the new models later this year. The new VNL will be Volvo’s platform for future iterations of tractors, including the eventual VNL Electric that could be available as early as 2026.

Through May 2024, Volvo Trucks North America sits at 10.8% market share in the United States and Canada, 0.7% higher than a year ago. Koeck expects the company could grow that to 11.5% by the end of the year, even as the industry currently paces behind the company’s previous 2024 forecast of 270,000 units, which he still considers a relatively strong market. “It will be even stronger the next two years. Then in 2027, it will not be strong, I can tell you that,” he added, saying that the market would likely rebound in 2028 and beyond.