NASHVILLE, Ind. — Industry forecaster FTR Associates has declared that the North American truck and trailer industries have begun their recoveries.
The findings were released in FTR’s North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook. However, despite the promising signs, FTR warned that any significant freight growth is still not expected until 2010 with equipment orders to follow later in the year.
“After a spurt in August due to government stimulus, the economy has settled into the slow, uneven movement typical of recession bottoms,” said FTR Associates president, Eric Starks. “We are cautious about forecasting any near-term major improvements for freight companies and their suppliers. Unprecedented excess capacity created by a record freight drop from 2006 to 2009 will put a drag on equipment sales well into 2010 and possibly into 2011. In fact, we have slightly reduced our Class 8 equipment forecast for 2010.”
Meanwhile, FTR Associates also released its preliminary Class 8 net order data for October, showing an increase in order activity. October’s Class 8 orders were up 104% to 21,792 units compared to September, and 117% higher than the same month a year ago.
Class 8 orders are on an annualized pace of 172,300 units, significantly better than early 2009, FTR announced. However as always, there’s more to the numbers than meets the eye.
“All indications are that the October increase is due to the filling up of remaining 2009 production slots for trucks with the older 2007 engine technology and to avoid the new 2010 engines, which due to tighter emission standards will be more expensive and will employ new technology,” explained Starks. “Significantly, the order activity was broad-based among the OEMs from fleets of various sizes and did not appear to be dealer restocking. We are encouraged that fleets have developed enough confidence in the economic recovery that they have been willing to make such commitments at this time. However, we believe this is a temporary situation that may actually take orders away from early 2010 so our forecast for next year remains very conservative until we see economic activity to support solid orders going forward.”
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