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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

'Class 8' orders skyrocket in October, FTR says


In October, heavy truck (Class 8) orders for all major North American original equipment manufacturers totaled 21,792 units, a 104 percent jump from September orders and 117 percent climb from October 2008 orders, according to preliminary FTR Associates data. October’s total includes heavy truck orders for U.S., Canadian and Mexican customers, as well as exports.

During the past three months, Class 8 orders rolled in at an annualized rate of 172,300, “significantly better” than the rate in early 2009, FTR officials said in a report.

“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,” said FTR President Eric Starks in a prepared statement. “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.”

FTR officials project that significant freight growth won’t occur until next year, with increased equipment orders to follow later in 2010, according to the firm’s North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook.

“We are cautious about forecasting any near-term major improvements for freight companies and their suppliers,” said Starks. “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.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/5/2009