PACCAR delivered 39,800 trucks during the first quarter, and our truck deliveries were about 45% higher than the same period last year. Market pricing has improved since the first quarter of last year and coupled with increased plant utilization and improving leverage, generated higher quarterly truck gross margins of 9.2% compared to 7.8% a year ago. PACCAR does expect to deliver slightly fewer trucks 2% to 3% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter.
Economic uncertainties in the Eurozone have resulted in lower industry truck orders compared to last year. Most European truck manufacturers have reduced build rates and scheduled shutdown days to reflect the lower market. The good news is that freight on Germany's motorways, which is one of the most closely watched freight statistics, is comparable to last year, indicating that freight traffic throughout the Eurozone is at good levels and our customers are generating profitable results.
U.S. and Canadian industry retail sales are estimated to improve this year to a range of 210,000 to 240,000 units, up from 197,000 last year. This is being driven by ongoing replacement of the aging truck fleet and some economic growth. In Europe, the greater than 16-tonne truck market is anticipated to be in the range of 210,000 to 230,000 units.
PACCAR's business initiatives worldwide are progressing well. Capital spending is estimated to be $450 million to $550 million, with research and development at $275 million to $300 million. Construction of the new DAF assembly factory in Ponta Grossa, Brazil is on schedule, and we plan to be building DAF Trucks in Brazil by the middle of 2013. Kenworth and DAF deliveries in the Andean region of South America, that is the region not included in Americas [ph], more than doubled in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ongoing investment in our engine family for EPA 13 and Euro 6, new product development and expanding our global purchasing efforts are all progressing on schedule.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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