Trailer Body Builder | Will Class 8 hit 300,000 in 2018?

11.13.17 | Trailer Body Builder

Eric Starks thinks it will, and has adjusted his forecast upward from 264,000 because of pressure
he sees in the system

At last year’s FTR Transportation Conference, FTR chairman/COO Eric Starks presented a Class 8 forecast that called for 231,000 units in 2017 and 264,000 in 2018.

As 2017 progressed, Starks downgraded his forecast to as low as 210,000, then settled on 247,000. And his 2018 forecast is now for 300,000 - a 13.6% increase over what he saw a year ago.

“We’re seeing a lot of pressure in the system that helps us feel more comfortable about the direction of where that mark is going,” he said.

Giving his annual presentation, “Commercial Vehicle Class 8 Equipment Outlook: The FTR Perspective,” Starks said things have changed in his backlog analysis.

“We found that by the end of July, all of them were basically built,” he said. “We have not seen that in a long time. This suggests people are pushing for deliveries in the short term rather than looking at the longer term. Typically when that happens, it suggests there’s pressure in the system to say, ‘I need a truck today rather than tomorrow.’ That is a welcome sign and something we have not seen over the last several years.”

FTR’s forecast for Q3 Class 8 North American builds was 69,500, but OEM plans were for 71,700. For the fourth quarter, FTR’s forecast is for 64,500 as opposed to OEM plans for 63,000.

“So they’re pretty much offsetting,” he said. “We are more than happy to tell you what we think. We do not look at the build plans first. We basically put our forecast together and then look at the build plans to say, ‘OK, is there a disconnect? If there is a noticeable difference, we need to understand why. Is there is something that is materially there where we need to make an adjustment?’ ”

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