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FTR report: Class 8 truck orders still on slow-to-pick-up pace


A year ago, FTR Associates predicted Class 8 truck demand would inch up in 2010 and jump up in 2011. Since then, nothing has changed to alter that forecast, according to FTR’s latest North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook Report.

Class 8 vehicle orders will increase about 3 percent this year and more than 50 percent next year compared with 2009’s total. Although the economy’s improving, there still are negative conditions in the Class 8 market, such as soft consumer spending and weak housing demand, according to FTR. In addition, there’s a “continuing large overhang in under-utilized and idle trucks,” and new EPA-mandated engine technology, FTR officials said in the report.

Preliminary March data shows Class 8 orders totaled 10,505 units, up 35.9 percent from February's total and 21.1 percent from March 2009's count. However, the annualized order rate during the past three months remains below 100,00 units, FTR said.

"We believe the combination of excess capacity and the impact of the EPA mandate will hold Class 8 equipment demand this year essentially flat compared to 2009," said FTR President Eric Starks in a prepared statement. "Everyone in the industry would have been glad to see improvement in demand before now, but our forecast models showed us that wasn’t likely until 2011."

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