FTR Associates continues to forecast only marginal gains for Class 8 truck demand for 2010, even as demand for truck freight appears to be improving, the transportation research firm said Feb. 23.
While freight is turning positive and expected GDP growth for 2010 is edging higher, the combination of excess capacity and the impact of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions mandate will hold Class 8 equipment demand this year essentially flat compared to 2009, FTR said. The firm also said the outlook for trailers is improving for 2010 with production levels stabilizing.
“While many would like to see a good upsurge in Class 8 demand this year because of the improving economy, our analysis continues to see a disconnect between the 2010 freight and equipment production outlooks,” said Eric Starks, FTR president. “We continue to caution against optimism – especially in the first half of the year – because of the huge overhang in excess idle equipment. The current lack of Class 8 orders supports our view.”
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.