ACT projects Class 8 production will nearly double from 2010 to 2012

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COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research has said the stars are aligning to fuel strong demand for heavy-duty Class 8 vehicles.

Third quarter earnings for truck fleets show continued improvement, the value of used trucks has firmed in recent months and the average age of the fleet is as old as ever, ACT reports in its North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook.

ACT projects full-year 2010 production of Class 8 vehicles to come in at 151,000 units, up 27% from a weak 2009. ACT also says demand will continue to ramp up for the next two years, with 2012 demand to exceed 300,000 units.

Growth in the medium-duty market will be more muted, the forecaster says, growing 15% in 2010 and 14% in 2011 due to the slow recovery of the construction and housing markets.

“Our forecast for 2010 has stayed in a narrow range for the past 15 months as our model predicted a slow economic recovery and heavy-duty demand still well below normal replacement,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT Research. “While headwinds make a full-blown economic recovery unlikely before 2012, recent trends in the transportation and commercial vehicle markets point toward demand for new vehicles building throughout 2011 and 2012.”

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