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BREAKING NEWS: DTNA forecasts Class 8 sales of 232,000 for North America, primarily based on replacement demand

MIAMI, Fla. - Despite the sluggish economic recovery, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) expects the North American Class 8 market to bounce back in 2012 with retail sales of 232,000 trucks. About 27,500 of those are expected to be sold in...


MIAMI, Fla. – Despite the sluggish economic recovery, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) expects the North American Class 8 market to bounce back in 2012 with retail sales of 232,000 trucks. About 27,500 of those are expected to be sold in Canada, according to a market overview provided to business press today by Mark Lampert, DTNA’s senior vice president, sales and marketing.

In comparison, retail sales for the North American Class 8 market came in around 183,000 in 2011, with about 25,000 coming from Canada.

“We are back to what we call a ‘normal’ marketplace in terms of production over the past six months,” Lampert said. Still, he said over the next year he does not see North American fleets growing their capacity.

“About 95% of sales are based on replacement demand. We are seeing very small growth…We still feel that during the first and second quarter of 2012 the industry will be running the oldest fleet in memory,” Lampert said. He figured the North American truck fleet somewhere between 6.7 and 6.9 years old, on average. In Canada, records show that only about one fifth of heavy duty trucks are less than 5 years old.

He does see the average age starting to come down in 2012, however, as carriers large and small move to get rid of the older trucks in their fleets, which are likely starting to cause them maintenance-related issues.

(Research presented at the American Trucking Associations conference last fall, showed that heavy duty truck maintenance costs averaged about 5 cents per mile up to the vehicle’s first 550,000 miles. After a vehicle crossed that threshold, however, maintenance costs ballooned to an average of 15 cents per mile.)

He said that demand is broad based with orders coming from TL, LTL, most vocational as well as large and small fleets.

Looking at the North American Class 6-7 market, Lampert forecast sales of about 108,000 vehicles for 2012 with about 8,000 of those coming from Canada.

Lampert, however, warned that the supply shortages – both in raw materials and parts – are not over, despite the rather tepid recovery. He said the financial hit many suppliers took during the recession is making it difficult for them to invest the money necessary to meet future growth demand and he is worried about what would happen should the economy recover to the point where GDP was  growing at three  or four percent.

He added that capacity constraints cut into DTNA’s own sales this year, benefiting some of its competitors. But he does not see that continuing in 2012 and expects DTNA to grow its market share this year.


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