Truck Sales Set to Recover in 2010

Apr 05, 2010

For anyone looking to add work trucks to their fleet, now seems to be the time to do so and help the industry:

Slow sales continue to plague the commercial truck sector but the consensus among executives from truck equipment manufacturers, suppliers and upfitters contacted is that the downward slide in business has stopped and a slow recovery will begin this year. 

John Price, owner of Alliance Truck and Equipment,LLC, an equipment distributor and upfitter in Springfield, VA,says that a slow recovery is better than none at all.

 “I do believe it will get better this year,” Price said. “But you know when you stop hitting yourself in the head with a hammer it feels good. That’s where we are right now.”

The sector will have a longway to go to return to the highs manufacturers and upfitters experienced in 2006. The sales value of all commercial trucks and truck equipment — including chassis, bodies, trailers, assemblies and miscellaneous equipment — fell to $50 billion in 2009, or 61%, from a value of $127.4 billion in 2006, according to estimates from the National Truck Equipment Association.

“It will take several years for the industry to get anywhere near those numbers again,” said Jim Carney, NTEA executive director. “It appears that truck sales have hit bottom, but going forward how far and how fast can we expect it to rebound? I think what we are looking at is three or four years of slower growth. I am not sure we will hit in the next several years the high sales levels that we saw from 2005-2007.”

Upfitters and distributors like Alliance and Messer are expecting 2010 to be better than 2008 and 2009, but they are just not sure when it will show up.

“There is a pent-up demand," said Price of the potential business. “The question is, just when will the customers feel confident enough and have enough cash in their business to spend it?”

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Photo courtesy of mikelehen under the Creative Commons License