FTR forecasts slow improvement in Class 8 demand

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FTR Associates said Wednesday, March 31, that it continues to forecast Class 8 demand for 2010 and 2011 at the same levels as was forecast by the firm one year ago. FTR’s March North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook Report forecasts 2010 demand for Class 8 vehicles will increase just 3 percent over 2009. The company projects that this will be followed by considerably more significant improvement of more than 50 percent in 2011.

FTR’s forecast considers that although the overall economic environment is improving, there remain negative conditions such as soft consumer spending and weak housing demand that indicate a slow recovery. New truck demand will be hurt further by the continuing large overhang in underutilized and idle trucks, as well as the new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-mandated engine technology.

“Our forecast from February 2009 – 13 turbulent months ago – is being confirmed by current market conditions and remains unchanged,” says Eric Starks, FTR president. “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.”