Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meet your replacement

Truck manufacturers at MATS are confident they hold the keys to your next truck purchase. The competition is fierce, and that could work in your favor if you're going to need a new truck soon.

Each of the OEMs we've heard from during the press conferences -- Mack, Volvo, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth, Navistar and Western Star -- predict that 2013 will be quite similar to 2012 in terms of Class 8 sales. Many told us that 2014 has the potential to be a boom year for moving new trucks.

The makers hinge those predictions on a strengthening economy coupled with an aging vehicle population. They each say they're poised for when fleets and small-business owners are ready to invest in new equipment.

To be frank, I think a fair number of would-be truck buyers have held out on new purchases the past few years because of lingering doubts about the economy, tight bottom lines, and a bit of regulatory fatigue thrown in for good measure. It will be interesting to see where that goes.

Fuel cost is going to be a consideration. Many manufacturers have mentioned natural gas options, mainly for dedicated short runs or regional hauls. Long-haul options for natural gas could still be a ways out, but the infrastructure gap is starting to fill in.

Options and competition are good things.

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