Medium and heavy trucks, boosted by a 1% sales surge in December, finished with a 5% increase for the year over 2005, according to figures compiled by Wards Communications.

Dealers sold 694,425 trucks with GVW ratings above 10,000 pounds in 2006, up from 663,431 the year before. The biggest gains came in Class 6 (16%, going from 60,514 in 2005 to 70,029 in 2006) and Class 8 (12%, 252,792 to 284,008). Class 7 showed a modest 2% gain, going from 88,858 to 90,792.

Overall sales for the year were down 5%, with sales of 9,268,222 after sales of 9,777,264 in 2005. The biggest drop came in Class 3 (10%, going from 166,856 in 2005 to 149,844 in 2006). Class 1 and 2, which feature 90% of the total sales, were down 7% and 4% respectively. Sales in Class 1 were 6,143,299, down from 6,585,787. Sales in Class 2 were 2,430,498, down from 2,528,046.

In December, dealers sold 64,076 trucks with GVW ratings above 10,000 pounds, up 1% from December 2005.

Class 6 trucks led the way with an increase of 24% when compared with December 2005 sales, going from 5,069 to 6,305. Class 8 (14%) was the only other class to show a double-digit gain, going from 23,265 to 26,462, as buyers took advantage of the last opportunity before the January 1 enactment of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new emissions regulations.

Overall in December, sales were down 9%, with a total of 828,513 compared with 905,731 in December 2005. The biggest drop came in Class 3 (20%, going from 17,259 in December 2005 to 13,752 in December 2006). But Class 1’s 14% decline had the biggest impact, with sales of just 531,755, compared to 617,413 in December 2005.