Class 8 retail sales for 2009 and 2010 are expected to be worse than previously forecast, based on weaker year-to-date industry statistics
, according to Merrill Lynch Machinery Research.

Merrill Lynch lowered its estimate for 2009 sales of heavy-duty trucks to 120,000 from 150,000 units in a previous forecast. The research division also lowered its forecast for 2010 sales to 130,000 units, compared to a previous estimate of 155,000. The company used macro economic forecast data and industry statistics, such as the ATA Tonnage Index, to come to these estimates.

"We forecast only a limited recovery in '10 as the industry will need to absorb excess capacity created by weak macro economic conditions in '09," the Merrill Lynch report said.

In contrast, the analysts expect sales to improve significantly in 2011, increasing their estimates for sales to 250,000 units. This would be a 92 percent gain year-over-year.

The division's forecast for heavy-duty production in 2009 is 110,000 units.

To access Merrill Lynch's truck forecast, click here.