An optimistic scenario for how rising freight levels this year will grow truck and trailer sales next year is being floated by the transportation forecasting firm FTR Associates. FTR said that accelerating economic activity has led it “to increase its estimates of the amount of truck freight that was moving at year-end 2009,” as reported in the January edition of the firm’s truck and trailer report.

If sustained, according to FTR president Eric Starks, the stronger freight picture will result in higher rates and better financial results for motor carriers in 2010-- and higher truck and trailer sales in 2011. Meanwhile, he pointed out that 2010 tractor sales will be affected by the new EPA mandate, with higher sales in the first half and a second-half slowdown likely.

“Higher freight demand will cause the existing large overhang of surplus equipment to be worked down more quickly, translating into the potential for more units to be sold in 2011,” said Starks. “While freight demand will increase throughout 2010, actual build numbers for Class 8 vehicles will likely be higher in the first part of the year because of the late pre-buy activity for vehicles with pre-2010 emission engines. Our 2010 production forecast remains unchanged but this demand for 2009 vehicles will pull ahead build to the first half of 2010 at a corresponding decline in second-half numbers.”

The full FTR North American Commercial Truck and Trailer Outlook Report is available only to subscribers. For more information, contact Starks at 888-988-1699 ext. 45 or make an inquiry to hlile@ftrassociates.com.