DAILY NEWS Feb 7, 2013 3:43 PM - 0 comments

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: 2012 ends up as fourth best year for Class 8 truck sales

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By: Lou Smyrlis

TORONTO, Ont. – Sales of Class 8 trucks hit 30,586 in 2012, according to data released this week by the Canadian Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. That made 2012 the fourth best year since 1999 in Class 8 truck sales.

The year’s totals were on track to make 2012 the third best year since 1999 but a slowdown in the final quarter nixed that opportunity.

The 30,586 trucks sold in Canada were well within our own forecasted estimated range of 30,319 to 31,227.

How do Class 8 sales look for 2013? This year is particularly difficult to forecast because the industry appears to be on a holding pattern in terms of adding capacity. Assuming an 8-year life cycle for Class 8 trucks (a truck could go through several owners), there are more than 35,000 trucks due for renewal. But many fleet owners are reluctant to purchase trucks that actually add to their fleet size due to concerns about the slow growing economy.

Our research is also finding a wide gap in purchasing plans based on fleet size. While two thirds of large fleets (100 or more Class 8 vehicles) intend to purchase new trucks in 2013 only 17% of small fleets (5-9 trucks) have similar plans. Also important is that while 38% of large carriers expect to grow their business volumes in 2013 only 27% of small carriers expect the same. And while three quarters of large carriers expect to charge higher rates, only 39% of small carriers do. As a result, large carriers are considerably more upbeat about business prospects in 2013 than small carriers. Large carrier optimism for 2013 averages out at 6.6 out of 10, compared to just 5.6 for small carriers.

Balancing the reality that small carriers (which make up 3/4 of Canada's for-hire fleets) won't be a factor in truck sales along with the fact there are many trucks up for replacement, we are being cautious with this year's Class 8 sales projections.

We forecast sales in the range of 35,000 to 35,986 Class 8 trucks for 2013.

Transportation Media Class 8 Sales Forecasts





















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