Any OE hopes for a significant pre-buy to bolster next year’s truck sales have been washed away with the downturn of the North American economy.
After the collapse of North American stock markets and the fears that has raised among trucking executives about their short-term future prospects, we felt it necessary to once again take the pulse of the industry in terms of their buying intentions. Our cross- Canada survey of fleet executives found that only 17% planned to continue with their pre-buy plans for Class 8 trucks next year. That’s a significant drop off from the 33% who did so prior to the 2007 engine emissions deadline and the 24% who pre-bought prior to the 2002 emissions deadline. During the previous two pre-buy events it was forhire fleets, and the larger ones in particular, who drove much of the pre-buy. Our research relating to the 2007 pre-buy found that forhire fleets were twice as likely to pre-buy compared to their private fleet counterparts.
And larger fleets were most likely to pre-buy with 40% indicating they had done so. The economic slowdown has had a significant impact on for-hire fleets this year and in their outlook for the coming year. Only 19% of respondents to our most recent survey forecast any increase to their freight volumes for 2009 while 38% expected volumes to remain about the same. More concerning is the fact that 42% expected their freight volumes to decline, especially when you consider that 71% also expected their rates to either stay the same or decrease. With such a negative outlook for 2009, it’s no surprise their appetite for a third consecutive pre-buy strategy in 2009 has been significantly curtailed. •
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