As fleets continue to adapt to recent changes in hours of service regulations and face increasing challenges in finding drivers and technicians, nevertheless a new survey indicates they will be buying more trucks in 2014.
CK Commercial Vehicle Research's 2013 Annual Fleet Study includes responses from 55 representatives from small, medium and large for-hire, private and government fleets.
It found that volumes for 2014 should increase over 2013 for all classes of vehicles covered in this report. The percentage of survey participants planning equipment purchases in 2014 for Class 8 and trailer equipment is similar to 2013. However, the number of fleets indicating they are purchasing medium-duty equipment has risen substantially the previous two years' surveys. For all classes of vehicles, more units are expected to be delivered in the first half of the year, especially medium-duty vehicles.
The availability of drivers continues to impact planned purchases and fleets' ability to add capacity. It doesn't make sense to buy trucks if you have no one to drive them. Only a small percentage of planned Class 8 and trailer purchases are designated for added capacity. The rest are replacement.
Specs to reduce fuel consumption are gaining, with fuel efficiency the number one factor chosen most often as a reason to buy a particular truck brand. In addition, price and OEM/dealer support/parts availability were clearly important in the decision process to a lot of fleets.
Some of the specs respondents will be adding to trucks in 2014 include 13-liter engines, LED lights, air-ride suspensions, automated and automatic transmissions, 6x2 axle configurations, air disc brakes, wide-base tires, tire monitoring and inflation systems, advanced safety systems and electronic logs. For trailers, popular new specs include LED lights, air-ride suspensions, and automatic tire inflation systems.
For more information, visit www.ckcvr.com and click on 2013 Annual Fleet Study.