Industrial Insight

Trucks | May 16, 2014

Truck Orders at 8-Year High Signal U.S. Economy Rebound

By Thomas Black 2014-05-15

Rising cargo rates are giving truckers confidence to expand fleets and replace tractors averaging a near-record age of 9.6 years. While first-quarter U.S. economic growth came to a near standstill, gross domestic product is expected to expand 2.5 percent this year, according to the median forecast of 94 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, topping 2013’s 1.9 percent rise, and accelerate to a 3.1 percent rate next year.

Even with winter storms disrupting highway travel, first-quarter truckload shipping volumes rose 4.9 percent and rates climbed 1.2 percent, according to consultant FTR Associates. North American truckers placed net orders for 90,289 large trucks in the three months ended in March, 35 percent more than a year earlier and the fastest such pace since early 2006.

Eaton raised its 2014 forecast for North American truck output by 5.7 percent to 280,000 units. That was among the highest annual totals projected by seven truck and equipment manufacturers, based on data compiled by Bloomberg. Their average prediction is for an 11 percent gain over 2013.

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