New analysis from Edmunds.com indicates large pickup truck sales are starting to show signs of growth, regaining market share lost in the past few years. According to the organization, large truck sales garnered 12.4% of the U.S. auto market in July, jumping from just 10.8% in June.

“[The numbers] have been revised up slightly,” Ivan Drury, pricing and industry analyst for Edmunds, told Fleet Owner. “Because of that link between housing and the economy, in general, and with housing sales increasing,” growth is now being seen.

Edmunds is predicting slow but steady growth for truck sales over the next several years with market share this year settling at 11.4%. That would be the largest annual share since 2008, just before the recession and high gas prices sent truck sales plummeting. Market share is predicted to grow to 12% in 2011, 12.4% in 2012 and 12.6% in both 2013 and 2014.

Ford Motor Co. is but one OEM benefitting from that truck uptick. It’s year-to-date sales through July totaled 1.12 million, up 24%, with the largest growth in trucks, up 32%, followed by cars (up 21%), and sport utility vehicles or “SUVs” (up 19%).

With sales of 50,449 units, F-Series posted a 39% sales increase in July – the first time since March 2008 that its F-Series sales eclipsed 50,000. Year-to-date through July, Ford said F-Series sales totaled 290,794, up 35%, with sales for its new 2011 F-Series Super Duty pickup 63% higher than a year ago, capturing more than 50% of the heavy duty pickup segment, according to the OEM’s numbers.

Overall, Ford expects full-year 2010 U.S. industry volume will be in the range of 11.5 million to 12 million units.

“The overall figures for the next few years, there are no spikes,” Edmunds Drury said. “It really is a very gradual [climb] and it could be four to five years before we get back” to previous highs.

Market share for trucks peaked in 2005 at 15%.

“Industry executives are starting to believe that their biggest and most profitable vehicles can be counted on to haul an even larger share of the fledgling recovery for the rest of the year and beyond,” said Edmunds’ AutoObserver.com contributor Dale Buss in his report Trucks Hitching Up Bigger Share of Market in Recovery.

Edmunds also reported that incentives for trucks averaged $4,550 for July, down slightly from June’s $4,616. The fact that incentives have been steady for most of the year indicates that July’s market share gain could have been triggered by renewed confidence in the economy.

“They’ve been at this level really all year,” Drury said. “I haven’t seen any indicators to indicate they won’t be here next month.”

One statistic to watch, Drury said, is the trade-in rate (the number of people trading in trucks to purchase new trucks), which has improved to more than 72% this year after four consecutive years in the mid- to upper 60s range.

“That tells me more lifestyle buyers are returning, because it shows that more truck owners who have flexibility about what kind of vehicle to purchase next are going ahead and buying another truck,” Drury said. “That’s in contrast to professional truck buyers, who theoretically should have to replace their existing truck fleets one-for-one, or at 100%.”

Crew cab models, with their roomier back seat, are behind much of the sales pushes these days, representing nearly half of the industry’s half-ton pickup sales these days.

“Each of the Big Three has been hatching new ‘super-duty’ or ‘heavy-duty’ versions of their staple pickup marques, and these models — with beefier engines, bigger payloads and better accessories than standard versions — have been adding some juice to the market lately as well,” said Buss.