Sales are still not good for new truck dealers, and that’s continued good news for freight carriers who are interested in expanding their fleet. Class 8 truck sales were up in February by 20% over January; that’s good news, but given the lame numbers from January, that’s a left-handed complement on a par with “He runs well for a catcher.”
Measured year-to-year, new truck sales were down a roughly a quarter from February 2009 (7628 versus 10,064); that’s not good news when you note that a year ago was in the teeth of the recession and lenders were shaking in their boots after overextending credit in the years leading into the Black September meltdown of 2008. A shaky recovery has started since then and lenders are not quite reaching for the Depends like they were last winter.
However, the used truck market is in a buyer’s market given the amount of bankruptcies in the trucking transport industry. New emission standards for 2010 have also raised the prices of new trucks, so a combination of higher prices and a glut of good used-truck substitutes have driven the demand for new trucks down.
The good news for trucking service firms is that it’s going to be easier to get good used trucks, lowering your cost of replacing trucks or expanding your fleet. New truck dealers might be looking to drop prices in order to start moving inventory as well. The bad news is that your competitors or new entrants can buy those trucks cheap as well, leading to continued downward pressure on freight rates.