This story appears in the Oct. 4 print edition of Transport Topics.
WASHINGTON — The new truck market is showing signs of picking up further this fall as the economy improves and the nation’s truck fleet continues to grow older, the head of Daimler Truck’s U.S. financial arm said.
“I continue to be optimistic,” said Juergen Rochert in a Sept. 27 interview with Transport Topics staff in Daimler’s Washington office. “In large part, the economy is moving in the right way. People are getting their arms around the new technology [in 2010 trucks] — the economics are there. The average age of the fleet is approaching seven years. I can’t imagine a fleet that is 8½ years old.”
U.S. truck sales through August climbed 16.5% this year from the same period of 2009, but the pace remains well below the level needed to renew a fleet whose age is at a 20-year high (click here for previous story).
Optimism is being fueled by fleets’ growing interest in new trucks with better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs as the prices for late-model used equipment rise and that supply dwindles, said Geoff Robinson, vice president of sales, marketing and remarketing for Daimler Truck Financial.
Used tractors on the market buyers consider to be low-mileage vehicles now typically have 400,000 miles on them, compared with 250,000 in past years, he said.