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Truck orders drop sharply as 2006 winds down

TORONTO, Ont. -- Orders for heavy-duty trucks have plunged by 30% since March, according to a global auto report fr...


TORONTO, Ont. — Orders for heavy-duty trucks have plunged by 30% since March, according to a global auto report from Scotia Economics.

“Heavy truck demand has been on a steep ascent since 2003, lifting North American production of class 8 vehicles (weighing in excess of 15,000 kilograms) to a record 365,000 units in 2006,” Scotiabank said Monday in a release. “However, after surging by 55% year-over-year in the first quarter, orders for heavy trucks have slumped by 30% since March, with the weakness intensifying in recent months.”

The slump has been predicted by industry observers, thanks to the increasing cost of equipment set to roll out in 2007 that meets stringent new emissions rules. Most trucking companies pre-bought their equipment in early 2006 to delay their investment in the costly new 2007 engines.

Still, truck manufacturers have expressed optimism in recent months that the 2007 slump may not be as severe as at first feared. Truck orders in September, however, have plummeted 38% below a year ago and have reached their lowest level in nearly four years, according to the report.

The report also says order backlogs remain healthy which will result in healthy production rates through to the end of the year.


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