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AB Volvo truck sales rise

April 26, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

AB Volvo reported a 37 percent increase in North American truck sales for the first quarter of 2005 over the same three-month period last year, driven in large part by a steadily growing demand for its heavy trucks.

Citing the strengthening economy here, the Sweden-based parent company of Mack and Volvo trucks is predicting the demand for heavy trucks will continue to grow by 15 to 20 percent this year.

"Demand increased further in North America, where order bookings were high for Mack Trucks as well as Volvo Trucks," AB Volvo President and CEO Leif Johansson said in the company's first-quarter report released Monday.

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Volvo reported increases in all of its business areas and saw a 14 percent increase in Volvo Group total net sales. The largest of the company's increases came from its South American market, which climbed 43 percent, followed by North American sales increases at 36 percent.

Locally, Mack sales are in line with AB Volvo's figures. Bob Martin, spokesman for Mack, previously told The Herald-Mail that heavy-duty truck sales increased 36 percent from 2003 to 2004, driven by the strengthening economy and increased consumer confidence in the company's 2002 engines. Martin declined to comment on Volvo's quarterly report, deferring questions to Volvo officials in Sweden.

The company has been increasing employment at its Hagerstown powertrain plant to meet the increased demand. Its workforce grew from 1,247 workers in January 2004 to 1,487 workers in January of this year, with 35 more workers hired by the end of March.

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