’07-compliant trucks still not flooding lots, expert says

NEW YORK — It still may be a couple months before most North American dealers begin stocking up on trucks with new ’07-compliant engines, according to the transportation experts at market analyst firm Bear Stearns.

While a modest number of demo trucks with 2007 engines are now being shipped to dealers, recent conversations the firm has had with industry sources indicates that there still won’t be full-scale fleet deliveries of the EPA-mandated equipment until the second quarter.

One dealer in the U.S. says ’07 trucks are exactly
US$10,000 more than last year’s models.

“…At least one large truck OEM does not have any training sessions planned for its technicians until April. Accordingly, this OEM will not likely begin making fleet deliveries until the majority of the training is substantially completed,” the firm states.

“We are somewhat surprised that training on the new engines is occurring so late as generally with new model introductions it’s the trucks delivered in the first six months that have the most issues,” Bear Stearns comments. “While we think the 2007 engines will not only prove to be fine — and very soon, like the 2002 engines, they will look much more appealing than the next emissions-compliant engine — it seems like early adopters are again taking the most risk.”

In terms of pricing, one large dealer in the U.S. told Bear Stearns that he’s been quoting the few customers looking to buy 2007-compliant trucks exactly $10,000 higher than 2006 trucks. That said, it’s still very early in the year and the dealer thinks the truck OEMs will likely end up offering incentives to spur demand.

Meanwhile, according to one of the firm’s trailer sources, there is some concern emerging over demand after weaker-than-expected order intake in January.

One large tier-2 supplier to the heavy truck and trailer industry was bullish on trailer demand late last year, but has become more cynical about trailers — particularly dry vans — after weaker-than-expected order intake.

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