INDIANAPOLIS. Sales of Class 8 tractors are expected to inch up moderately over the next several years in North America, whereas trailer sales are by contrast projected to decline, according to forecasts shared by research firm FTR during its annual Transportation Conference.

Eric Starks, FTR’s president, said North American Class 8 sales are expected to rise from a projected 243,000 units this year to 262,000 units in 2014 and then 275,000 units in 2015. Meanwhile, trailer sales are expected to at first stay relatively flat – jumped from a projected 236,000 units this year to 237,000 in 2014 – then fall to 210,000 units by 2015.

“The economy continues to give off mixed signals, freight demand is expected to increase only moderately, and thus fleets will only engage in limited expansion,” Starks said. “By 2016, we see a definite focus on only replacement demand, not fleet growth.”