As a result of weakening economic conditions and lower freight demand, FTR Associates has significantly lowered its 2009 vehicle forecast. FTR is now predicting North American Class 8 factory shipments at approximately 150,000 units and believes trailers will fall below 100,000 units.
According to FTR, a recession is unavoidable, with GDP projected to fall 0.2% in 2009. With limited freight to haul, demand for transportation equipment will remain weak over the next several quarters, with no noticeable increase in freight demand until the middle of 2010.
“We know this forecast will be a blow to many industry participants, but our instinct is to take the information we have and generate as reliable an outlook for equipment build as possible to give our subscribers a true sense of what to expect,” said FTR president Eric Starks.