CK Commercial Vehicle Research's fourth quarter Fleet Sentiment Report indicates that equipment buying is expected to drop in the next three months, despite higher readings in the last few quarters
. The Fleet Equipment Buying Index fell 23 percent from the previous quarter, a reflection of the low numbers of respondents with plans to place orders for new trailers.

The research returned the smallest percentage of fleets with plans to buy trailers in the fourth quarter than any other period in the six years CKCVR has collected the data. Twenty-one percent of those surveyed has plans to purchase trailers in the next three months, according to the report.

The index is a simple measure of planned buying behavior of for-hire, private and government fleets over the next three months. A lower reading indicates that fewer fleets are planning to purchase equipment while a higher reading indicates that more are planning to purchase equipment.

CKCVR regularly polls a group of fleet operators about their equipment purchasing and maintenance practices. Looking to the next three months, 45.9 percent plan to place orders for power units, slightly lower than the four-quarter moving average.

"One positive sign for power unit equipment demand is the fact that the largest fleets in our group are planning to place orders in the next three months; this should make a difference," the report said.

Of those who will purchase power units, one in five of the fleets are doing so to add capacity, while others were planning orders for replacement only. One-third of the planned orders involve pre-2010 emissions equipment, but many fleets would like to avoid 2010 technology until more is known, CKCVR said. "My feeling is that those 'planned orders' are somewhat tenuous and will only solidify if the economy can continue to improve," the report said.

Complete survey results are reported in the Q4 2009 Fleet Sentiment Report (, a quarterly report of CK Commercial Vehicle Research.

CK Commercial Vehicle Research (CKCVR) is a business of CK Marketing & Communications located in Columbus, Ohio. CKCVR surveys fleet advisors representing a mix of large, medium and small for-hire, private and government commercial vehicle fleet operations.