New trucks could soon be in demand

COLUMBUS, Ind. — As revenue climbs in the trucking sector, ACT Research figures it’s only natural it will translate into more new truck sales.

There was a rebound in net margins for publicly traded truckload companies in the second calendar quarter and the research company is expecting those gains to fuel continued improvement in demand for heavy-duty vehicles and trailers.

In the latest release of the ACT North American Commercial Vehicle Outlook, ACT projects full-year production of class 8 vehicles will be up 26 percent compared to 2009 and accelerate into 2011.

Production of commercial trailers is expected to increase by 47 percent in 2010 and also post strong growth 2011. As it is closely tied to the health of the housing sector, the medium-duty vehicle sector continues to recover slowly, notes ACT.

"Trucker profitability rebounded sharply in the second quarter, fueled by tightening capacity and rising freight rates," said John Burton, vice-president of the transportation sector with ACT Research. "Even with modest economic growth, commercial vehicle demand should continue to rise as carriers appear to be replacing an aging fleet but not adding capacity.”

“Demand for new heavy-duty vehicles continues to be well below normal replacement levels, meaning overall fleet capacity is shrinking due to scrappage and export of used tractors. This will allow truckers to retain pricing leverage and profits," added Burton.

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